Commercial fishing used to be a notoriously labor-intensive and challenging enterprise. Crews were known to venture out for months at a time — often in dangerous conditions  only to come back with 50% of the catch they were hoping for. It was so imprecise that it was hard to even be profitable.

But that has changed in recent years: New “smart boats” are equipped with technologies  GPS, echo-sounders, acoustic cameras, and so-called fish finders  that have massively increased a boat’s capacity to capture fish. Why? Commercial fishing crews have the ability to know where fish are right now and to predict when more will come to a particular location! And they do so in a matter of days —rather than weeks or months.

B2B marketing and sales leaders are getting smarter, too. Owing to leaps forward in technologies and processes, your whole organization can be far more granular and precise about who has bought your wares in the past, who is likely to buy them in the future, and how much those opportunities are likely to be worth to you.

The enormous power of building a proprietary set of insights that drive sales and marketing to the best-fit and most lucrative targets should be clear. Imagine a cockpit that could tell you which markets, accounts, and opportunities are extremely likely to buy from you — in large quantities — right now. If you had this knowledge, you could apply resources effectively; you’d point more budget and better people at the big whale opportunities and use less expensive and scalable resources elsewhere.

You would quickly identify and avoid the “cold” parts of the market, leading to greater sales and marketing productivity through much faster cycle times, higher win rates and larger deals. It would be much easier to create equitable territories by distributing high-propensity opportunities across your reps. Finding the buyers who best fit your product — and doing it better than anyone else — is a huge differentiator. And most importantly, you could create a sustainable competitive advantage for yourself, as you could dynamically adjust throughout the year.

We don’t have a crystal ball for you. But we know that six capabilities are pivotal to doing this. How do we know? Because we have clients that have brought marketing and sales operations together to transform the way they use data and insights for targeting. They are seeing their conversion rates and ROI soar. Follow their lead with these six steps: 

  1. Market segmentation and sizing. Divide the total market into discrete groups on the basis of common attributes and characteristics. We implore you to move beyond just vertical industries, geographies, and company sizes as your only segmentation criteria. Conduct a top-down market analysis to calculate the market potential for your offerings. Total addressable market works well for a three-year roadmap, but serviceable obtainable market  the market you can realistically expect to obtain in the coming year given resources and competitive pressures  is the appropriate sizing approach when selecting targets for the coming year.
  2. Market fit. Prioritize segments by market attractiveness and ability to win, assessing external factors like key trends, expected category spend, and competitive presence, and internal factors on ability to execute like domain knowledge, sales readiness, and solution gaps.
  3. Account fit. Use ideal customer profile criteria, which are nuanced and unique to your product, to score and rank accounts for marketing and sales coverage based on product-market fit. Prioritize those with the highest upside revenue potential, while taking a lighter coverage approach to those scoring lower.
  4. Account opportunity. Calculate the opportunity potential for each account by regression analysis or modeling with historical pipeline or sales data  to determine the number of opportunities within each account, the associated expected deal size, and average win rate.
  5. Coverage strategy. Once opportunities are clearly mapped, develop a coverage strategy for priority accounts. For each account, answer the following questions: Is it an acquisition target or an existing customer with expansion potential? Is the goal to protect and retain share? Define the sales and marketing coverage strategy.
  6. Dynamic territory managementThe power of data comes to life in the ability to react dynamically — to reprioritize accounts and territories based on changing conditions that impact an account’s potential or likelihood of being in-market, whether that meanmergers and acquisitions activity, intelligence about new initiatives in an account, or buying signals on yours or your competitor’s website. 

Most sales and marketing operations teams can manage the first two of these steps pretty easily. Organizations that seek a more mature approach need to invest in predictive technologies, as well as more and better external data from third parties, to enable and conduct more of these steps with rigor for more precise targeting and ROI. The ultimate goal is to take all of these steps, with evolving levels of precision, until a truly insights-driven revenue engine emerges. 

Will it take some time? Yes. Will it require sales and marketing to do their jobs differently and be more aligned? Indeed, it will. Will it cost some money? No doubt, but you can’t afford not to. The era of wasting massive time and money on accounts that are not in the market for what you sell  and may never be  is over. Cast your nets where the fish are biting. 

Join us for our virtual B2B Summit North America May 36. We will share a track session on “Targeting Better Together: Leveraging Insights To Identify and Convert High-Potential Accounts.”