Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Effective Target Marketing

by Steve Harper on Fri, Mar 14, 2008

You want to learn effective target marketing?  Go shopping with 8 year old girls. 

I took my daughters to New York City because of their fascination with American Girl Dolls.  For those of you un-initiated with the world of little girls, these are 18 inch dolls that come from a specific period in time, have a life story, and dozens of accessories that accompany them.  Frankly I think it may be a cult, but...

We went to The American Girl Place; the mother ship, the Mecca; the capitalist capital for legions of 8 and 9 year old girls.  Now, what struck me about this place was the way in which:

  • They knew exactly who their target was. 
  • They knew exactly how they went about making buying decisions. 

They knew each girl would want more then they could get, so the store provided each girl with a "wish book", a small folder that held trading cards the girls picked up from the shelves.  They could fill their folder with their desired items, then "negotiate" with the parents about which items they would get to buy.  It struck me that these people got it!

So, do your sales people get it?  Here a few questions that we as Sales Managers need to ask ourselves:

  • Do my reps really understand their target market?
  • Do they understand the User and Technical buyer versus the Economic buyer?
  • Do they understand that each prospect has to negotiate internally for budget?
  • Do they understand what and who drives decisions?

It drives me nuts to hear a salesperson say, "I am targeting the Fortune 1000."  Are you kidding me?  That isn't a target; it's the entire Eastern Front. 

You want a target?  Who are your current customers, and why did each of them buy?  How did they make that buying decision? Who was involved, and how long did it take? These questions have to be asked by the sales people.  We should know ourselves on a macro level.  Answer these and there is your target.

People buy...not companies.  People buy business technology for simple reasons:

They buy solutions to problems that they have, or jobs they can't, won't, or don't want to do themselves.

If you want your sales team to target more effectively, help them start having real conversations.  Stop having conversations that only revolve around getting an order this quarter.  Spend time figuring out the real reason customers are buying in the first place, and have conversations that will build stronger relationships.

Steven Harper is a guest blogger on the Inside Sales Experts Blog.  He is a certified sales coach and CEO of Sharper Performance.  To find out more about Steven and his business, visit .

Topics: sales tips, inside sales management, target marketing

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