What are your target markets post COVID-19? In this blog we are focusing on the Tech sector where it is hyper competitive and the impact of COVID-19 on all business owners will result in many winners and losers. For Tech CEOs contemplating their new business strategies in this “new normal” era you will have to analyse and understand the SLEPT factors. What are these SLEPT factors? – social, legal, economical, political and technological. Further, culture, safety, incentives and taxation factors also play an important role. These SLEPT factors could have or most likely have changed in 2020.

Because the overall scope of the GTM strategy is a much bigger topic, I will specifically focus on your Tech business entering a new market. We will cover several critical activities:

  1. Why ‘focusing on few’ is a better strategy
  2. Defining Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
  3. Identifying target ICPs
  4. Creating Account Based Strategy (ABS) for each ICP

Why ‘focusing on few’ is a better strategy

Your organisation may have the capabilities to address the needs across different industry sectors but it’s important to narrow the focus to one or two sectors when entering a new market. Further, identifying capabilities that closely align to this industry, depth in capabilities, partnerships with global vendors, success stories, client references and IP/re-usable assets will greatly help. You may be better off avoiding industries with a few dominant players and already serviced by global tech organisations – Big 4 Banks in Australia, as an example.

The above strategy is better because your organisation only tests the waters with limited resources. It’s easier to do so with focused offerings that can be measured, course corrected and re-implemented for better results.

Defining Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

What are your target markets post COVID-19? ICP can be defined as those customers who fit into a criteria and/or a template as defined by you. Following criteria is a good indicator to define your ICP and may determine the specific values against each of these criteria. For example, Retail industry, Revenue of $100M, Employee count 1000 and more.

  1. Industry
  2. Company Profile – Culture, Senior leadership, Products & Services, employee count and Customer-base
  3. Public listed or Privately held
  4. Financials (public listed) – Revenue, Profit and Market-Capitalization
  5. Headquarters (HQ) – better if the ICP has the HQ in the geographical market you are entering
  6. MOST importantly to discover “unique attributes” (specific to your offering)
    • Technology investments already made
    • Vendors they work with, and
    • Explicit or implicit need for your offering

Identifying ICPs

After you have defined the criteria for ICPs, now you can go about identifying the individual companies that fit into your ICP. As an example you can use the ASX as one of the sources to identify listed companies and third party sources for private companies. There will be two sets of ICPs.

Strategic Accounts

These are the ICPs that are a must win for your organisation. You must be willing to commit resources and leadership bandwidth to acquire as many of these accounts. Because this will not only help you create early successes but also helps learn new lessons and act as a spring-board to expand into the market. At this stage, your organisation needs to determine whether to have a ‘specialist’ senior executive or a ‘channel’ partner to manage the client. Your focus is to acquire at least one or two of these strategic accounts initially without dwelling too much into the pros and cons of your approach.

Named Accounts

These ICPs come in the next phase post achieving the initial success through one or two strategic accounts. Named accounts can be categorized by the region/state, industry and/or the sales executive for better focus. At this stage, it’s imperative to have a ‘local’ presence in terms of legal entity, 2-5 employees and at least one referenced client in the market. This serves you well especially when your organisation has a long-term view of the market.

Creating Account Based Strategy (ABS) for each ICP

Many organisations assume and confuse ‘company profile & contacts’ as ABS. But it’s far from the truth. Because every organisation has access to such superficial information does not provide any inherent advantage except for an counter-productive ‘spray and pray’ approach. ABS is very strategic approach and one that requires organisations to ‘commit’ to acquire key accounts. So committing resources does not always mean a significant investment, more leadership bandwidth or longer sales-cycle, but a change in the ‘mind-set’. With ABS, you are committed to;

  1. Deeply understand your customers and closely align with their business
  2. Keen to ‘connect’ and not transact – with key stakeholders; emotionally, personally and professionally
  3. Engage, educate and value add through-out the sales-cycle for better ‘conversations to conversion’ ratio
  4. Be passionate about ‘contributing’ to customers’ long-term goals
  5. Put customers’ interest ‘above’ your own
  6. ABS also helps in growing your existing accounts
    • Act as a ‘partner/advisor’ as opposed to just being a vendor
    • Add ‘value’ in meaningful ways to customers’ strategic initiatives like new channels of engagement, new customer segments, new products & services.

So to be able to commit to the above, you need “actionable intelligence” on ICPs. Organisations need to invest in the right ABS partner with experience in tech companies, good framework, proven success stories and willingness to go the extra mile.

So what are your target markets post COVID-19? I believe, entering new markets, acquiring new accounts, growing existing accounts and expanding your footprint is complex, has risk involved, needs investment and long-term commitment. ABS is one of the best tools available to optimise your approach for faster and better results.

For more great ABS analysis check us out at WINSights. Our collaboration team at Lindfield Partners has developed a customer methodology that drives great customer experiences together for their Clients.

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