By Clovis COQU, Expert Bordeaux My Business Business Strategy
When you create your business, after the euphoria of the first moments of creation, sustainability is not improvised, you have to build your clientele. Despite developments related to the digitalization of markets, commercial exploration has not in itself, fundamentally changed, no matter what is said. However, it requires even more effort and perseverance, for a lower result than expected in the last fifteen years. Above all, it requires rigorous preparation and a specific methodology.
Identify your potential target
The hunter must know his target (B to B, B to C…) and the characteristics associated with it.
On a B to C segment of individuals, you must establish precisely the demographic, geographical elements, purchasing power, frequency of purchases…
On a B to B segment, between professionals, your portfolio of prospects is built on the size, the type of company, the possible prescription network, the potential budget allocated to your type of activity….
This segmentation will allow you to better understand your prospects and target your business actions, adapting your speech as well as your offer. It also allows you to specify before any action the different levels of prospect:
The end customer or consumer: this is the person who will consume the object
The buyer: this is the person who will buy the product or service
The prescriber: this is the person who prescribes to the consumer or the purchaser
However, the qualification of your actions does not have the effect of flattening your positioning, but of giving you a reliable overview of your “hunting ground”.
Precisely define your positioning
Whether you’re starting a business or in development, it’s essential to keep in mind what’s to come. To target your customers, you need to choose a clear, different and relevant positioning. It is built in relation to the rates charged, your level of quality (Products / Services), your competitive environment, your geographical location, …
In order to be as close as possible to the desired positioning, it is necessary to take into account expectations, specificities (consumption habits, habits of visiting places, sensitivity to services, …) and the needs of targets (potential customers); the positioning of competitors (that’s who, how many are they, where they are, who does what, how they do it, etc.); the characteristics of the product (its competitive advantage) and the capabilities of the company (production, human average, financial means, …).
In case of mis-positioning the penalty is immediate: the product will not meet the expectations of the consumer who will not buy it. This approach can be complemented with the angle of attack of the “marketing mix”: it is a question of adapting the price, the product/service, the means of distribution, the communication.
Depending on the pre-targeting and positioning, you should then be able to analyze whether the potential is sufficient to sustain your activity, or if other types of targets should be considered, leading you, if necessary, to correct or develop your positioning.
Define your business goals
At this stage, the definition of accurate and numerical indicators is paramount. “The wind is never favourable to boats that do not have a port” … Before you leave strictly to conquer your clientele, you must define a strategy designed for a given period of time, so as not to run out unnecessarily, and preserve your motivation.
Your business objectives must then be precisely quantified, with a reasoned and reasonable approach. The success of your customer development depends in part on your ability to be realistic about the goals to be achieved.
To do this, you need to start from your SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats grid, so you can translate it into business objectives as well as actions to be implemented.
SWOT can be defined as a “strategic analysis tool. It combines the study of the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, territory, sector, etc. with the study of the opportunities and threats of its environment, in order to help define a development strategy. »
Examples of translating SWOT into actions
(S) Forces: “Your professionalism and expertise is recognized through your continuing education policy”
Orientation: Highlight your process and training policy to enhance your expertise, for example through case studies
(W) Weaknesses: “Customers are primarily looking for a low price.”
Orientation: The cost of acquiring customers will be high in terms of expected profitability, so it will be necessary to compensate with loyalty actions.
(O) Opportunity: “A new quality standard requires a stricter process, a process that you had already begun in a continuous improvement process, when one of your competitors had not anticipated this evolution”
Orientation: Valuing your quality process and prospecting in the sector of the competitor in difficulty
(T) Threat: “Parisiancompanies, attracted by the attractiveness of Bordeaux, are opening secondary offices in your sector”
Orientation: Anticipate this deployment by reaffirming your brand on its local anchorage, putting the teams back on the ground.
Once these possible guidelines are identified within the GUIDELINEs of the SWOT, they should be translated precisely into as accurately as possible numerical commercial objectives, with time-limit indicators, in order to be able to track the results. This could be, for example, to gain x% market share thanks to further expertise, or to increase your customers’ loyalty tau by 15% in six months, or to triple the number of customer visits in a given territory within three months.
Lead the business action plan to achieve these goals
The implementation of an action plan is also intended to be realistic and proportionate to the resources available to your company in terms of human resources, budget or timing.
Many actions can be implemented. It is necessary to coordinate them well, to measure their expected results in the short, medium and long term, in order to understand the time to convert customers against the imperatives of “returns” of your company. By objective, you will be able to define one or more actions aimed at the desired result.
These actions must be consistent with the objectives to be achieved, while being measured: so a private event for your best customers in order to strengthen brand membership should not turn into extravagant expenses.
Each action must also be correlated with the company’s overall business strategy…
Only then, you will be able to establish in detail the means of exploration to be implemented, and their desired diversification.