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Identifying New and Profitable Customers

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Expanding your customer base takes more than just wishful thinking. You need an actual strategy to investigate exactly who you want to go after and how to do it. With ample new opportunity becoming available following a year of major upheaval, how do you identify the new and profitable customers that will help your business grow the most? 

To start, dedicate internal time and resources to make this a fruitful effort. We recommend creating a dedicated new business team that can meet regularly and begin actioning. Include folks that can pull research, account prospect & map, write copy, create content and ads, deploy advertising, build landing pages, sell and close deals, and project manage. Get management’s buy-in, pick your team wisely, and get after it.

Remember throughout this process that you are the expert in your industry and what you sell, so it makes sense to start from within. Beyond the core new business team, tap into your company’s resident experts, personnel, and contacts. This includes:

  • Product Experts - Engineers, designers, and developers are keen to share where they think the growth areas will be one, two, or five years from now. 
  • Sales Teams - Ask your frontline sellers what they are hearing on the street.
  • Finance Teams - Finance usually has a firm grasp of the competitive and financial landscape from a revenue and market share standpoint.
  • Event Activation Team - Your team members attending events will know who is making noise in the trade show space and what has attendees buzzing.
  • Industry Hustlers - Every organization has a handful of people who are highly active on social media and at industry events. They can help identify new customer prospects. Overall - Most niche industries see high levels of turnover with employees jumping from one brand to the next, and they carry with them both institutional knowledge and recent industry intel. 

How to Approach Researching Your New Prospects

The B2B tech space offers an array of research platforms, companies, and approaches to help you find which new customers offer the greatest opportunity.

Primary Research

Consider onboarding a research platform or one-time study with which you can craft a survey and deploy it to a reliable sample size of either industry professionals or typical customers. This will help you capture real-world structured and unstructured data straight from the horse's mouth on questions like “What niche industry sectors or type of clients will need Cybersecurity the most in the next 2 years” or “What are the typical pain points for startup companies when evaluating new SAAS platforms?” This will supply your new business team with a wide range of quantitative and qualitative data needed to build new target personas, customer journey maps, targeting strategies, account mapping approaches, content strategies, creative development, and more.

Secondary Research

Look no further than your inbox; research companies conduct and deploy new research at a head-spinning rate. In fact, according to The Demand Gen Report, surveys/reports are the #1 most valuable content format for researching your B2B purchase. There’s a host of great sources out there that have already done the work and can clue you into growth sectors by industry, trending companies, and customer expectations as we look towards the future. Take the time to dig in, read the reports, and pluck the key insights.

Create Personas & Customer Journey Maps

Assuming you already conducted these types of customer research exercises, you’ll need to apply this same type of approach and thinking to new industries and types of accounts you’ve identified. Uncharted sectors, especially in the area of start-ups and smaller companies, might result in very different personas, groups of decision-makers, and buying stages across their purchase journey. You’ll need to do your due diligence and apply these same models here. 

(source: intelligencebank.com)

Data Partners & Prospecting Tools

Tap into data partners that can help you identify companies and decision-makers at those companies that are actively searching for the types of products or services you sell. Onboard or tap into your existing tech stack and begin mining for accounts that are throwing out search intent signals. This includes sources like ZoomInfo, Bombora, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and others that can help you identify and connect with new prospects

Social Listening

Customers share their opinion and voice their approval or disapproval of brand/product/solution experiences on social media so actively that we almost cannot ignore them. This is where social listening, either using a piece of technology or through your own social media community management person or team, can help. Mainly through a tool such as Talkwalker, you can discover detailed sentiment information, keywords being searched for, newly trending topics, competitive intel, customer demographic and behavioral insights, and much more. This is a great way to investigate new types of customers, sectors, and product sentiment while gaining a real-time understanding of how new and even fringe audiences perceive your brand.

Taking the Next Step

Building the right profile for your new prospective customers is a vital first step in exploring new sectors to grow your business. Learn more about how to approach the entire process as a B2B tech firm in our How-To Guide for B2B Brands Aiming to Break into New Sectors.

Download the Guide

B2B Marketing Zone