Bullseye sales targeting and correctly qualifying prospects are the cornerstones of successful outreach. Here’s how to do it.

You can’t sell ice to the Eskimos. They don’t need more ice. At least not yet. Give global warming some time.

You can have the best product in the world, but you won’t sell it if your prospects don’t need it (or want it).

A qualified prospect list is the cornerstone of successful outreach.

Don’t try to sell ice to Eskimos.

This article will focus on bullseye sales targeting: how to pick and define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and create targeted lists.

Disclaimer: Only through testing and validation will you confirm your ICP; nothing comes easy in life.

YOU CAN BUILD (OR EXPAND) A QUALIFIED LIST IN HOURS.

Today you will learn:

  • How to create your ICP
  • How to expand your ICP
  • How to create your prospect list
  • What tools and help can you use

CREATING YOUR ICP (SKIP THIS PART IF REDUNDANT)

In the ideal world, you want to tailor your value proposition to your ideal customers.

However, chances are, you already have a product or service.

You can start with the questions:

  • What pains are you solving?
  • What desired outcomes are you delivering?

You may think you already have these answers.

Practice: sit down and spend 15 minutes reflecting on this again.

You should have at least three answers for each.

These six “generals” are your bread and butter.

Your sales material and copy should reflect them.

Now, the hard part.

Are you ready?

If your prospect doesn’t have these problems or wants the outcome, you must move on.

This is the hardest pill to swallow.

Your product is not so good that everyone will want it.

The faster you accept that, the least time you will waste.

You now have a clear what you offer.

Who should you sell it to?

The more relevant the offer, the more buyers you’ll convert.

Here’s a canned framework for you to steal:

  • Identify a niche (Min 100 max 500 accounts)
  • Tailor your offer to that niche
  • Have at least 20 conversations
  • Reassess based on results

THE NICHE

Stop trying to sell to everybody.

Seriously, stop. That’s not bullseye sales targeting.

Anything and nothing differ by a couple of letters.

You want to determine which market area is the most likely to buy your product.

Before I show you how here’s why:

  • You will become a Subject Matter Expert in that niche
  • You will get more relevant case studies which mean a higher close rate
  • You will target specific events
  • You will get referrals and industry rep

The How:

  1. Do market research, look at statistics, ChatGPT, trends etc.
  2. Come up with three potential markets
  3. Reach out to people in each market and gather their feedback
  4. Define your primary target market

Example: You sell an ATS for SMEs.

Your research shows that the best targets are law firms, care homes, and tech start-ups.

Speak to people in your network to get further feedback.

Practice: Find your top three niches and pick your primary one.

TAILORING YOUR PITCH

The next step is to tailor your offer and efforts towards your niche.

The more your offer sounds made for them, the more likely to engage with you.

Example: I target HR Tech, my company is called HR Tech Lions, and my focus is helping companies succeed at sales in that niche.

Everything about it screams that I work in that area.

This commitment alone gets clients in the space to have conversations with me.

THE ACTION

You now want to speak to people in the niche to confirm whether your assumption that the market works is real.

Prospecting is not the scope of this episode (see others).

For argument’s sake, let’s say that your assumption proves correct and the niche works.

You now have your ICP.

How do you build on the momentum?

REFINING THE ICP

You can always further try to improve your targeting (remember we’re going for the bullseye sales targeting).

You will find that specific geographies and certain company sizes work better.

Example: I started looking at the whole of Europe but quickly realised my sweet spot was the UK and Nordics.

I also started with very small startups and realised I’d have much better success with 10+ employees.

You should constantly adjust your ICP.

Where can you get the best ROI with minimum effort?

That doesn’t mean you don’t touch your low-priority accounts.

You can keep them when you have time to spare.

EXPANDING YOUR LIST (START FROM HERE IF YOU HAVE ALREADY A CLEAR ICP)

You will often be worried about committing to a niche as you think it’s too small.

You’re not alone.

But you are fundamentally wrong.

You can always expand from your niche.

Example: I started from Recruitment Tech startup with less than 10 employees in Europe. I then moved to Rec Tech, up to 50 employees.

Next, HR Tech as a whole. I will then add e-learning and payroll software (both still under HR Tech).

I can then focus on the USA or globally or target even bigger companies.

Anyway, you run out of prospects to target.

Here are some questions to help you out:

  • What’s the closest industry? For example: from chemical to pharma is not a huge stretch.
  • Can you look at a different company size?
  • What’s the next most relevant geography?
  • Can you target other decision-makers in the same accounts?

These questions will help you determine where you can go next for your market.

You can apply the same logic as before, find three ideal areas and start testing.

BUILDING THE LIST

You have two options:

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • If your targets are not on LinkedIn, refer to online lists/databases

LinkedIn, combined with Apollo.io and Lusha, will give you verified emails and a good % of mobile numbers.

Play around with keywords, job titles, industry etc.

Your goal is to have at least 100 to 500 target profiles.

Then you know you can scale.

I recommend always creating the first list on your own.

However, from the second list onwards, go to Upwork and find someone to help you.

I have tried six suppliers and found one that provides highly qualified lists for 0.40 cents per contact.

Don’t make your life harder than you need; focus on what you can control.

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