Prospective Customers for a U.S. Business
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Your ability to clearly define and identify the very best customer for your product determines your success. You want to be intensely focused on finding and satisfying clients.
The more clarity you have about your ideal customer, the more successful will be your enterprise. Identify the types of business segments and prospects within those segments who have applications for which your products can be used.
Define your unique selling proposition and communicate it in every prospect contact. What are the most important qualities that your ideal customer would have? Focus all marketing and other efforts on this particular type of prospect.
Customers should be thought of as your best prospects. Treat them well as you would someone to whom you are trying to sell. Generally, keeping an existing customer is much better for you than replacing a lost customer.
Identify how the market is divided for the products that you are providing. The following parameters help identify different customer groups, either consumer or commercial:
Geography : region, population
Demographics : industry, seasonality, age, gender, income, family size, family lifecycle,
Psychographics : values , lifestyle, personality, interests, habits,
Behavior: usage, loyalty, readiness to purchase, attitude towards product, buying cycle
Benefits : social status, health, emotions
Are your potential target segments attractive based on market size, growth potential, profitability, and risks?
Determine who are the influencers and decision makers (e.g., engineers, purchasing managers, CFO’s, CEOs) for your Products with Prospects in your business segments. Then identify those specific individuals and their contact information for your target Prospects. Maintain that information in your marketing database.
Determine the mix of smaller and larger prospects that you want to target. Smaller prospects often have shorter sales cycles and the influencers and decisions makers are easier to identify than with larger prospects. Larger prospects, however, can mean larger sales opportunities.
Channel partners can be valuable for marketing, distributing and supporting your products in the U.S. Large channel partners (sometimes called master agents) serve smaller distributors. Working with master agents can give you access to a large number of distributors without having to deal individually with each of the small distributors.
Channel partners must be marketed to and supported similar to end user prospects but in a somewhat different manner. Working with channel partners should not be an afterthought but a well-planned and supported effort.
To learn more about their characteristics, survey current and potential customers. Twenty or so live phone interviews with influencers and decision makers will provide you a wealth of knowledge.
A person who is knowledgeable about and experienced with your business should conduct the survey calls. You can say that you are doing a survey for a company to help improve their product (all true) and would appreciate the thoughts and ideas of the interviewee.
Schedule the calls at the interviewee’s convenience and limit the calls to 10 minutes (although often the person will talk well beyond the 10 minute limit). Most people like to talk about their needs and how better those needs could be met.
Be relaxed, friendly, make the call about what the person would like to see in a product such as yours to make it more valuable to them (features, support, pricing, terms, etc.). Ask them what they like about the product and what they would like to see improved. Then listen; prompt them with brief open ended questions if needed to keep the conversation going. Have questions ready before you place the call.
Record the conversation and/or take detailed notes. After the calls, review all the comments and document the key findings with proposed actions based on the findings.
Look for and follow business prospects on social media. But do not try to sell to them on their social media links. Instead, try to develop relationships with potential customers. Retweet or comment on their posts or mention them in your own social media posts.
Research successful competitor brands. The simplest way to identify your prospective customers is to do research on your successful competitor brands. Look for niche opportunities that your competitors are not serving.
Research industry blogs and forums. Potential customers sometimes comment on blog posts and forums and provide insights into their needs.
Other sources of prospects include published lists that are either free or can be purchased such as chamber of commerce members, industry organization members, regional business publications, and commercial lead list providers (Radius, InfoUSA, Salesgenie, DNB, Experian, etc. ). The information from some commercial lead list providers are quite inaccurate, so factor that into your planning for purchased lists.
Depending on your situation, maintain a list of your prospects in a spreadsheet, in a CRM system or in large integrated database fed by multiple sources of internal and external information and analyzed by algorithms including deep learning based. Ensure that your database is updated and used and that the individual is clear who has overall responsibility for maintaining the data.
Consider working with a partner experienced in establishing effective prospecting.
Marquis Advisory Group is your partner Let’s talk and see how we might help you
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