The Art of Tailoring Sales: Why Market Segmentation Matters
Embark with me on a journey across the sprawling business landscape, an expanse echoing with the cacophony of countless potential clients. As vast as this sounds, CEOs and sales leaders quickly recognize a fundamental truth: their offerings aren’t for everyone, no matter how exceptional. The cost of gaining any customer, regardless of that prospect’s business, location, or specialty, risks the profitability of selling to them all. This realization is where the art and science of market segmentation come into play. This approach, akin to a seasoned sailor charting a course through diverse waters, ensures businesses traverse the right seas, leading them toward unparalleled prosperity.
In the realm of business, imagine a master tailor. He meets diverse clients daily, each with their preferences, sizes, and desires. A one-size-fits-all suit? It’s a fantasy. Instead, he meticulously measures, understands individual tastes and crafts a suit that fits impeccably. This artistry mirrors market segmentation, where businesses dissect the extensive market into specific sections, ensuring their strategies align seamlessly, much like that well-fitted suit. The effectiveness of such an approach isn’t theoretical. Historical data unveils a striking revelation: 75% of B2B firms grew their market share if they managed to personalize their sales and marketing directly to the individual customer. This isn’t merely a figure but a testament to the monumental influence of aligning offerings with distinct market needs.
However, as we dive deeper, the waters of segmentation aren’t always placid. Over-segmentation can be treacherous, dispersing focus like a ship trying to anchor at numerous ports, eventually reaching none. Furthermore, a mere segmentation without an accurate understanding can mislead, like mistaking a looming storm for a serene day at sea.
So, how do businesses chart this course effectively?
Establishing the Pillars of Segmentation: The segmentation can hinge on varying criteria, be it demographic nuances, behavioral patterns, or geographical distinctions. A tech solution catering to bustling urban enterprises would understandably differ from one aimed at serene, rural family-owned businesses.
Deep Dive into Data: The depth of knowledge determines the journey’s success. Harness data analytics to grasp the intricacies of each segment, echoing a sailor studying sea charts before setting sail.
Strategic Customization: With a sound understanding of your most profitable customers, mold your sales strategies, ensuring they resonate with each segment’s unique aspirations and needs.
Embrace Adaptability: The seas of business are ever-evolving. Thus, gather feedback and recalibrate strategies, ensuring alignment with the shifting dynamics.
However, segmentation’s influence isn’t confined merely to optimizing sales. This tailored approach weaves deeper customer relationships. Clients perceive this customized attention, feeling valued and inevitably gravitating towards businesses that reflect their specific needs. Furthermore, this clarity in approach empowers sales teams. Each pitch, each dialogue is infused with purpose and precision. The approach transitions from casting expansive nets in hope to that of expert fishermen, with each cast deliberate and confident.
Market segmentation unfurls as a harmonious blend of art and science. This orchestration is about understanding, tailoring, and fostering profound connections. The outcome for CEOs and sales maestros mastering this realm isn’t mere sales acceleration. It’s about sculpting experiences, nurturing relationships, and consistently delivering unparalleled value.
As the contours of sales constantly change, segmentation emerges as an enduring beacon. It accentuates a profound understanding, recognizing who truly holds value and optimizing strategies to serve them immaculately. In the intricate mosaic of sales, segmentation assures that every piece, every shade, and every nuance aligns impeccably, weaving a saga of sustained growth and success.
Bob Robinson, Jr., and his mechanical-engineer father, Bob Robinson, Sr., came up with the idea for a product the world truly needed 25 years ago: a “no-touch” restroom cleaning machine. Their company, Kaivac, is a Hamilton, OH-based manufacturer of cleaning machines. Hamilton is a suburb of Cincinnati, OH.
“We were on our hands and knees, crawling around the bathroom,” recalls Bob, Jr. “It was disgusting. We said, ‘There’s got to be a better way.'”
Through hard work and dedication, the Robinsons created the KaiVac to help solve that initial problem in public restrooms. Over the years, they grew the idea to create dedicated machines to clean kitchen floors, hallway floors, and grocery displays. Beyond its bathroom cleaning technology, it has expanded into floor cleaning and spill response machines and has 18 patents with 16 pending.
Along with growing their manufacturing capabilities, they also grew their sales capabilities. They adopted a hybrid strategy of selling through distribution and selling directly to key customers. Their direct team, under the leadership of Bob Robinson, Jr., who had taken on the role of VP of Sales, closed many enviable customers with massive deals, including Walmart, Kroger, and Target.
They realized that they needed to step up their sales professionalism after having a down year during COVID after having a record-breaking year the year before. They wanted to grow to $75 million in annual revenue within three years and a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) of $1 billion in annual revenue within 20 years.
Bob Jr. says Kaivac is just getting started. “At 20 to 25 years in business, you’re at an inflection point where you’ve got resources, tenure, and history and have been through ‘adolescence,'” he says. “Now is the chance to build a professionalized organization.”
They contacted New Sales Expert LLC as the nation was coming out of the global pandemic, but before all the supply chain problems had paused. New Sales Expert LLC is a fractional vice president of sales consultancy. Sean O’Shaughnessey, the CEO of New Sales Expert, is aligned with SalesXceleration and has 38 years of experience in sales and sales management.
According to Sean, “Kaivac is a joy to work with. They are the shining star of Hamilton, OH, and Butler County. They had so much raw potential when I walked in the door; all I had to do was to focus their energy and enthusiasm on working smarter and just a little harder.”
Building an organization with a heart
Kaivac had a great culture to build on to make a great sales culture. Before Sean showed up, the company leadership had already developed their One-Page Strategic Plan and their “Why?” statement that reflects the owners’ Christian faith: “To glorify God by using KAIVAC as an instrument for Good.”
In addition to the “Why?” statement, they had drafted an acronym called FIGS that conveys the “heart” of the company. FIGS—which appears on signs that hang on the factory floor and in break rooms—stands for
F: “First shall be last, last shall be first.”
I: Integrity—as in “The truth shall set you free.”
G: Golden Rule—meaning “treat others how you want to be treated.”
S: Servant’s Heart, as in “We are in a race to help people.”
The company uses the first three letters of its name–KAI–to inspire the team’s thinking and actions. These letters stand for inspiring phrases such as: “Keep At It,” “Keep Always Improving,” “Keep Attempting the Impossible,” and “(creates) Kick-Ass Inventions.”
Prioritizing net income and growth
Sean’s first change was to make a compensation plan that motivated the sales team to sell bigger deals and to sell them quickly. Kaivac implemented a 50/50 plan in concert with defined territories to keep the Key Account salespeople focused on the goal of more significant and profitable orders.
After the motivation component was in place, it was time to help the team learn how to sell big deals more repeatedly. The big deals of the past had been challenging to work on and, while very profitable, had been disruptive to close. Sean encouraged the company to read John McMahon’s book, “The Qualified Sales Leader,” and with that tome as inspiration, quickly deployed MEDDPICCC to help them qualify deals.
MEDDPICCC by itself is not enough. The company had already licensed Salesforce, one of the highest-rated CRMs on the market, but Sean put MEDDPICCC into the various stages of the sales process to ensure that the salespeople knew all the required information about a big deal. Sean also created dashboards within Salesforce to track deal progress at the management level. The company implemented Sales Plans for Key Accounts and the Power Matrix to document the most influential people in the customer’s decision-making process.
The very first big deals that the company found after Sean started to help them also benefited from the Decision Timeline. The Decision Timeline is a tool to allow the sales team to walk through the entire decision-making process of the customer to understand all of the steps required to make a significant investment decision. It allowed frank and honest conversations to take place with the prospect as the team worked to close the largest deal in the company’s history to date.
Time to run on their own
As with most of the assignments with New Sales Expert, LLC, the goal is to allow the company to run independently. Bob Robinson Jr. was the company’s VP of Sales. Still, he needed to shed those responsibilities to help run the entire company. To finish the transition, Bob and three of his leaders took SalesXceleration‘s Certified Sales Leadership course delivered by Sean O’Shaughnessey.
The Certified Sales Leader (CSL) designation is the country’s most comprehensive sales leadership certification program offered. CSL leadership training and certification will prepare you with the analytical, tactical, and strategic sales management skills needed to drive revenue growth now…and into the future. CSL training expands the skill set of a Sales Manager by providing coaching, techniques, and tools to lead a successful sales team.
All four Kaivac leaders passed the CSL test. One of them, Mike Perazzo, was tagged to take over as Executive Vice President of Sales. According to Mike, “Sean is a master coach for helping shape sales process and methodology. Following his methods will help grow sales faster, transactionally, and strategically. Often a couple of pieces of the puzzle are missing, and Sean helps quickly identify them.
You have everything to gain by having Sean look at your current approach. He is a change agent and disruptive to the status quo. Pushing the pace and flow of deals is his sweet spot. I am a better sales leader because of my time with him.”
Sean O’Shaughnessey of New Sales Expert, LLC states, “Kaivac is a wonderful company. They have created a line of machines that gives pride to the workers in one of the toughest jobs in America – keeping things clean. They are focused on the success of their customers and their employees. They had all of the raw skills within their sales team to be a great sales organization; they only needed me to focus them on activities and techniques that allowed them to close bigger deals faster and at a higher profit level.”
“If anyone works in a clean building with clean restrooms and hard surface floors, they are either cleaning it with Kaivac technology or paying too much for that cleanliness,” Sean explains.
Revenue and profitability have grown since Sean helped Kaivac develop a higher level of sales professionalism. Recent results have shown a dramatic increase in revenue and profitability. The sales and revenue growth have allowed the entire family of Kaivac to prosper. The Robinsons have always considered their employees an extension of their family. The company’s prosperity is passed along to team members through a bonus structure for the whole company. It all fits into the spirit of Kaivac. Bob Jr. says, “Our organization was built to have heart.”
As B2B-focused businesses navigate the ever-changing landscape of a post-COVID economy, sales leaders must adopt and institute strategies to meet the demands of a business in growth or recovery mode.
While the goal for a sales organization may be to sustain the growth trajectory aligned with organizational goals, the year-over-year approach to achieving success can vary significantly. Sales leadership styles depend on the current situation, the starting point, and the existing team charged to accomplish the goal. Good sales leaders find a way to achieve the annual goal; great sales leaders find ways to achieve the goal and systemize the process to allow for repeatable growth, pivots, and rapid scale.
Growth Focused Leadership
Sales leaders focused on growth must proactively identify new market opportunities, verticals, geographies, platforms, or sales talent. They must invest in new sales channels and technologies, along with onboarding and training programs to support the growth of their sales teams and the acquisition of new client relationships.
When sales teams are in a breakout stage of growth, it can be challenging to gain the discipline to systems and alignment on processes and approaches due to the nature of managing client expectations on a wildly rising revenue outlook. This situation demands that all of the skills of a sales leader be applied consistently and strategically across the team and sales practices.
Seasoned leaders know that hiring for an increased workload and rapidly scaling teams can be tempting. However, this approach can often lead to problems down the line. Further, we must suppress the desire to hire quickly instead of exercising patience in finding the right candidate to continue to scale teams and culture appropriately. That patience means we must endure the short-term challenges of being under-resourced and under a great deal of pressure to keep performing as if we already had the resources on the team. Instead, it is essential to focus on finding the right candidate who will not only be able to handle the current workload but also contribute to your team’s culture and help your organization achieve long-term success. Take the time to vet candidates carefully and consider not only their skills and experience but also their values and how they fit into your team’s dynamic. By prioritizing quality over speed, you’ll set your team up for success in the long run.
Another important consideration when building a team is to prioritize scalability. It’s easy to get caught up in your organization’s immediate needs and hire for the present moment, but it’s crucial to think about how your team will grow and evolve. Look for candidates with the potential to take on new responsibilities and leadership roles as your organization expands. Consider investing in training and professional development programs to help your team members acquire new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. By prioritizing scalability, you’ll be better equipped to adapt to changing business needs and continue to achieve success over the long term.
Discipline to proven systems is essential for leadership and having transparent KPIs and organizational goal communications. The rigor and discipline of a sales leader in a growth cycle are particularly demanding. One primary concern for leaders in this mode is talent loss due to competitive pressures to grab your resources for their growth. It would help if you had experience and discipline for these growth moments.
Designing an effective sales compensation plan is critical to any successful sales organization. A well-crafted plan motivates your sales team, drives revenue growth, and aligns the interests of both the company and the sales representatives.
It’s essential to understand the impact of compensation on salespeople. Sales reps are highly motivated by money, and their income is directly tied to their performance. Incentives such as bonuses, commissions, and accelerators can all play a key role in driving sales performance. However, these incentives can have unintended consequences if not implemented correctly.
This blog post will explore various aspects of creating a successful sales compensation plan, including setting quotas, selecting base and variable pay, using accelerators, and employing rewards and contests. We’ll also discuss strategies for designing effective compensation plans for different types of sales roles and tips for continuously improving your compensation plan.
Whether you’re a salesperson or manager, understanding how and why prospects make and lose money is a crucial element in helping them make intelligent business decisions. Knowing this can help you hone in on the solutions you offer that will benefit their bottom line, making it easier to close more deals.
In this video, we explore the following:
How does your customer/prospect make money?
How does your customer/prospect lose money?
Whom does your customer/prospect compete with?
Whom does your customer/prospect partner with?
This is the 5th video of 12 that explores how you can start the new year strongly. I hope that you enjoy the video and it makes you think about a few things.
You can check out all of the 12 tips as soon as they are published here.