The 4-Step Approach to Effective Sales Targeting - Our Analysts' Insights

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The 4-Step Approach to Effective Sales Targeting

Do you have low click-through rates on your marketing emails? Do prospects fail to reach out after you’ve sent them what you felt was a compelling call for action? You could attribute the lack of response to a variety of problems, but one commonly identified by our analyst team in interactions with language service providers is that many LSPs lack a targeted approach. A little planning could significantly improve the results of marketing and sales efforts.

“Boiling the Ocean” Simply Doesn’t Work

Generic emails and phone calls rarely trigger the desired next step. Why? It’s because you focus the messaging on you and what you have to offer – and it’s not interesting to prospects. That may sound harsh but think about what causes you personally to hang up on an unsolicited sales call or to delete an email promoting a company’s services.

Prospects want to hear how you solve their problems. But it’s hard to address their specific issues when you send a generic message to a broad set of prospects with different needs and wants. Your value proposition becomes so vague that you don’t press the hot buttons that catch the attention of potential buyers. Untargeted efforts render sales and marketing particularly challenging, which in turn often makes LSPs feel like sales and marketing don’t work for them – when that is not the real problem.

What is the problem? Common issues we’ve found are the failure to identify which groups of prospects prospects are best suited to your offering or a lack of confidence in narrowing your marketing and sales focus. Your message gets lost in a sea of alternatives and you struggle to stand out as the logical solution to meet the prospects’ needs. This in turns leads you to waste precious sales and marketing resources. As a result, your sales performance is unpredictable and you are stuck in a commodity market driven by the lowest price.

Sound familiar? Do not despair, because there is a solution. The alternative consists of zeroing in on the leads most likely to buy. That’s not as hard as it may sound.

The Benefits of a Focused Approach

Sales targeting is the discipline of narrowing down subgroups of organization types to target, as well as identifying the client personas to approach within them. It involves sorting through the leads you collect that meet these criteria and determining how to best approach them. 

Focusing on these best prospects helps you achieve five benefits:

  1.  A targeted sales approach increases the odds of achieving consistent sales results with desirable clients.
  2.  It becomes easier to differentiate your offerings and avoid price-driven conversations. 
  3.  You will have an easier time managing your marketing and sales teams.
  4.  You achieve economies of scale that affect your marketing, sales, client service, and even production functions.
  5.  This approach makes your organization more valuable by helping it mature and therefore support greater exit options for CEOs seeking to sell their business.

Sales Targeting Relies on a Phased Approach

The first step to sales targeting is segmentation – that means identifying specific market segments where you have and can maintain a competitive advantage. What you do in this process is define the boundaries of the cluster of companies of interest you can profitably target at a price that is attractive. Such market segmentation is more important now due to the general move to digital marketing and online sales.

Delineating which companies to pursue isn't enough. The second step is to outline the profiles of the best entry points into the companies – these are called client personas.

From there, you'll build lists of prospects. But remember that every lead doesn't have the same value. You need to implement lead scoring practices to determine the best ones to focus on with your marketing efforts.

And based on that, you will build a “smarketing” approach, meaning that you blend sales and marketing to target the best opportunities you've identified.



How to Get Started


CSA Research developed a concrete how-to guide to help you collect the necessary information for new targets and validate decisions along the way. If you are exploring which verticals to pursue, we will soon release an update to our data-driven series on five common vertical markets that LSPs pursue: financial, legal, life sciences, manufacturing, and technology

Don’t think you have to do this all at once. As you start to define target market segments, client personas, and lead scoring methods, you could proceed in stages and begin with only a handful of criteria at first – such as vertical, geography, and company size. That incremental approach will help you focus your messaging away from the ocean toward a better defined set of prospects. However, as you progress, learn from interactions with prospects to further identify the best leads to target within what remains a large group.


About the Author

Hélène Pielmeier

Hélène Pielmeier

Director of LSP Service

Focuses on LSP business management, strategic planning, sales and marketing strategy and execution, project and vendor management, quality process development, and interpreting technologies


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