As a savvy market strategy, try narrowing your focus to grow your revenues
Over the years, we have helped literally dozens of benefits advisers to develop their marketing strategy and business development plans. I’m not talking about creating a sales pro forma, although we have done that numerous times as well.
No, I’m talking about the development of a focused, marketing plan that will provide the focal point for all your pro-active business development activities. And one of the most powerful and effective strategies is market segmentation. Part savvy artistry, part pragmatic business opportunism, market segmentation enables a business to accelerate its growth through the disciplined, focused pursuit of one or more target industry verticals.
Some of you are saying: What is he talking about? How does limiting the size of your potential market result in more clients and sales revenue? Isn’t that counter-intuitive? Perhaps, it may initially appear that way on the surface. But by focusing on a specific industry vertical you gain a multitude of marketing advantages.
By specializing in an industry you can gain a number of substantial business advantages. For example, your firm will gain institutional knowledge of that specific industry, its issues and challenges, and trends. This will enable your team to “talk the talk” and “walk the walk” because of your intimate industry knowledge. As a result your marketing message will resonate with your target audience leading to increased sales opportunities as prospecting gets easier and the sales cycle is shortened.
In addition, your team will develop an appreciation and understanding of the culture of organizations in that industry sector and your firm will be credible as a “trusted advisor” and an “insider” that “gets it”. That’s an enviable position to be in and it is achievable with a laser market focus. Imagine knowing the top two or three business issues confronting virtually every business in an industry vertical. Your credibility will increase exponentially.
You will also find that the word-of-mouth publicity about your organization is enhanced as your reputation grows and expands. This will result in increased referrals since most finance and HR professionals communicate with colleagues in their field and if they happen to leave an employer they generally stay in that same industry sector. Plus, most industries have “trade” associations which can provide you with speaking opportunities for “seminar selling” where you will be introduced as a subject matter expert. Those associations likely communicate with their members through newsletters and webinars which can provide you with opportunities to publish pertinent articles and “white papers”. Imagine what that will do for your firm’s reputation.
Finally, depending upon the industry sector that you target, there may be opportunities to create proprietary products, customized benefits communication and enrollment strategies, and a number of voluntary benefits, including lifestyle benefits. Your team will become known as industry thought leaders and market innovators. Your clients and carriers alike will seek out your advice and counsel.
Clients of ours have segmented the market to serve employers in the following sectors: healthcare; public schools; municipalities; state government agencies; private schools; non-profits; gaming; utilities; and hospitality, among others. One firm does business with 6,000+ school districts for one or more product or service offerings. Another does business with 23 state government agencies and 12 state universities in their home state and has over 125,000 policyholders. Another has seen its revenues grow at a 40% compounded annual growth rate for the last 6 or 7 years. How do those metrics compare to your practice? Hopefully this information is illuminating and “some light bulbs are turning on” about now.
Which industry or industries to focus on will depend largely upon your location, contacts, capabilities, experience, and product offerings. A logical place to start would be to consider any “natural” markets that you might have. Or we can help you to analyze your circumstances, develop your strategy and implement your marketing plan. Regardless, market segmentation represents a huge marketing opportunity. And once you implement your marketing plan, your prospecting and business development activities will quickly become easier and more effective.
Market segmentation can broaden your sales opportunities by narrowing your focus.