Researching Your Niche In The B2B World
I’ve spent all my life in B2B, so I know what it’s like to break into a new client relationship for the first time.
I’ve worked all across the sales process and now I work as a sales coach.
What I want to share today is how to do proper research on your niche and prospects before you start sending off cold emails.
It’s truly simple but most people overlook this step of the process.
It all starts out with how you pick niches and pursue them in the first place.
Your niches shouldn’t be picked at random, there should be some logical train of thought as to why you’re going after a particular niche.
You don’t have to be deeply connected to that industry, but picking one out of a hat probably isn’t the best way to go about it.
Many years ago I picked law firms as my niche. I have never worked in a law firm, nor did I really know anything about how they worked.
I didn’t even watch TV shows about law firms!
I was out of my depths in any conversation about how law firms did business.
But the business climate was such that law firms were interested in business development at that time and were looking for outside people to teach them.
I was that outside person! So that was my reasoning at the time.
Learning New Jargon
It’s key to learn the jargon of your niche. This is how you convey that you’re able to speak the same language as your prospects.
They are busy and aren’t going to have the time or inclination to educate you.
You want to come in already with a working familiarity of their industry terms or even company specific ones.
I once made the mistake of not educating my supervisor about a client’s top project and when he asked about it, boy did he look silly.
This was my fault of course, and since then I’ve made sure to brief my team on my notes.
You don’t need to be a master of industry jargon, but you have to be at least conversationally fluent.
What helps is to build a profile of who your ideal clients are so you can educate yourself on their needs as a market segment.
You need to understand their concerns and what trends are affecting them on a global level.
Your ideal clients are actually a subset of your overall niche.
For me, my niche is SAAS companies, but not every SAAS company is my ideal client. I have further requirements regarding who I’m looking to work with.
I’m looking for companies that have around 30 employees, are in the UK, and have been in business for 2-5 years.
They aren’t start ups nor are they the biggest players on the block.
I like these midsize companies because I can get easy access to the key decision makers without going through too many middlemen.
This is the foundation of your prospecting.
The next step is to actually get on the phone and make some calls to people in your network, preferably your 1st degree LinkedIn contacts.
I reach out to members of this group that also fit into my ideal client profile and I ask them if I can talk to them for 15-20 minutes for the purposes of research.
If you reach out to 20 people with this request, you’ll likely receive back 4-5 responses.
Once you get on the phone, you can get a ton of information on what problems they’re currently facing in their industry.
I like to find out how large each problem they are facing is in monetary terms.
Do they have thousand dollar problems? Ten thousand? Or million dollar problems?
This refers to how much it’ll likely cost their company to secure a solution.
This is how I can then reverse engineer my offering to be cost-effective given the parameters around their assessment of their needs.
If they have a ten thousand dollar problem, then I know I can offer a solution in the range of two thousand and it’d likely be a good fit.
Remember though, these are research calls, but it comes in handy down the line when you’re ready to reach out with an offer.
- Pick a niche for your business and learn the relevant industry jargon.
- Build out an ideal client profile that breaks down what company size is right for you, think about time in the business, employee size, and yearly revenue.
- Reach out to your 1st degree LinkedIn connects who fit into this ideal client group, ask them for a short phone call for research purposes.
- Ask them about the problem’s they’re facing and how large they are in terms of dollars spent towards solving them.
- Use this research to craft your future offerings.
Result You Will Achieve
Methods to research your prospects before you reach out on a sales call. These methods define your niche, ideal client profile, and give you a look into what problems they’re currently facing.
This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.