Working with a new client company to clarify its differentiation and to strengthen its messaging, I asked a basic question: How many prospects are there?

The Mystery of the Shrinking Prospect List

The first response was "All the hospitals in the US—almost 6,000." Soon I learned that hospitals were increasingly consolidating into integrated delivery networks (IDNs)—groups of two or three to more than 100 hospitals operating under one umbrella. That perspective reduced the real number of targets to some 1,500 organizations.

While testing possible positioning (differentiating) messages with prospects, I learned that my client was selling its solution in a maturing market—most hospitals had committed to a technology choice and were not swayable.

Accordingly, somewhere between 50 and 150 IDNs—say 100—would be open to choose my client's solution based on its strengths. Such small numbers look scary until you think about the average deal size: $1 million.

Arming for Battle

The number of target prospects had plummeted quickly from 6,000 to 1,500 to 100. But we weren't sure which 100 of the 1,500 were the right prospects.

The size of your target market should heavily influence the marketing tactics you employ. Obviously, broadcast marketing would be highly inefficient in my client's case.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathryn Roy is managing partner of Precision Thinking (www.precisionthinking.com), a consulting firm helping B2B technology companies boost the effectiveness of their marketing and sales organizations. Reach her via Kathryn@precisionthinking.com or Twitter (@karoy1).