New Business: Evaluate and Define Groups

Okay. So far, we have discussed the initial steps to build your own new business department. As I’ve stated, a new business department does not always need more than one dedicated, full-time employee. Let’s face it. Entrepreneurs start out wearing every hat there is running their own business. We have also talked about defining your parameters so that what you have to offer is actually meaningful and of interest to the target market you have in mind.

Here’s a quick refresher on defining your parameters so you don’t have to flip back to the former post and so you can compare the difference I am going to share between defining your parameters and evaluating and defining groups.
First, here is the list I provided to help define key parameters in areas that relate specifically with what you have as a product and/or service and what businesses you want to attract to become your newest customers:

  1. Industry – Taking your products and services in mind, what industries can best benefit from your offerings?
  2. Annual Revenue – A publicly owned company states what its annual revenue is. Based on a company’s revenue, you may be able to identify if your offerings are something the company would be willing to purchase from an outside source.
  3. Headquarters/Decision Maker’s Location – Verify the mailing address and NOT just a PO BOX address and also the name of the decision maker – the person who will make the decision to hire you for your products and services. You should develop a profile of the decision maker so that you have a clear understanding of how this person thinks at work and begin to develop a relationship with this person based on the decision maker’s comfort and not your impatience of trying to obtain new business.
  4. Geography – To start out, consider all new business prospects that fit your target industries, annual revenue, decision maker profiling and also use a map to define a 50 to 100 mile radius from where your offices are as a starting point to build your new business database.

If you have been working on calling prospects, meeting prospects and researching about additional opportunities you have run accross, you should be seeing some more detailed patterns developing as you make calls, visit businesses and meet with prospects. For instance, what once was a prospect listed under the category by a certain geographic area you want to target, may now need to be moved to a new category called, ‘Hot List.’ The Hot List is exactly as it sounds. This list showcases the prospects that are interested in setting up a meeting within the next two weeks, have already agreed to a meeting with you or have provided you with a specific challenge they have that they feel your company’s products and services may be able to help. This business has specified that they would like to work with you based on providing an effective solution using your offerings that will benefit their company’s bottom line.

Additional and more specific category names you may want to consider include:
Warm List: The contact is interested in meeting with you but will need you to call back next quarter when money becomes available OR the contact would like to receive some additional material and would like a follow up call to see if your services may indeed be what they need, as they have been considering using a new vendor/supplier.

Cold List: The contact has no need for your products and services at this time but when you ask to contact this person in the future, the contact agrees to taking your call in the next 6 months or so.

Dead List: This list is for companies that were on your list but through research, it is determined that what your business offers and what its business needs are do not fit as a new business possibility. This list of businesses is kept so that when someone (the employer, a new hire) asks about a certain company not considered for new business, the information and reason why is available in the database under the Dead List.

Social Media List: If you offer products and services in the social media category and you are beginning to see a number of prospective clients interested in this service, there’s no reason not to categorize this group of prospects by the service they are seeking from your business. This would apply to developing a new category for any similar specific service you offer, such as providing dry cleaning pick up service, ,dog walking service, print production, custom interior designing or whatever the specific product and/or service it is that you offer that you are seeing a number of prospects identifying as a ‘want.’

The more you get to know and evaluate each prospective client, the more you can move past qualifying each lead and placing these leads into specific categories that are much more manageable to follow and track. The more you develop these categories, the more you are able to provide data to your employer and the company on what business decision makers are most interested in purchasing from your own company.

NOTE: I will point out again that the new business database you use is critical to your ability to keep up with prospects, meetings you have set up, your Hot List and even a Top Ten List. I encourage the new business director to develop a Top Ten ‘Wish List’ as it were, with his or her employer. There is no harm in wanting to work with certain companies based on whatever reasons. I can tell you that ‘getting through that door’ and meeting with Fortune 500 decision makers only makes your future meetings and presentations stronger. It also makes it even sweeter when you end up winning business from one of these Top Tens as I have in the past on several occassions. Nothing is too far from your reach if you are strategic in your thinking and are well-versed in the needs of the business you are talking to or meeting.

Case In Point: I was working as New Business Director and had continued to connect with a decision maker from Gerber Childrenswear on a regular basis. I would touch base every 3 months or so. We would talk about family and spend little to no time on business. From start to finish, it was 18 months later when I received a follow-up call from this decision maker’s boss wanting to set up a meeting to discuss working together.

Next Step: Creative Execution – Developing The Right New Business Piece “The Differentiator”

1 Comment

  1. Excellent info. Love the blog here. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. You all have great opinions 🙂

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