There are several steps to effectively build out a database to encompass the market universe. To begin, the existing sites in the database should be segmented, perhaps as simply as by assigning SIC codes. One application of this step is to correlate the SIC codes to historical sales data, allowing the marketing team to better understand where the company has had its greatest success.
Another input to the process should be to identify new markets seen as representing future opportunity. For example, data storage company StorageTek identified medical imaging applications within large hospitals as a new market opportunity for its new generation of storage subsystems. The current marketing database contained only 238 records within the hospital segment. By working with third-party sources, StorageTek was able to add to the database another 2,500 qualified, nonduplicated hospitals to target for additional marketing investment. This approach enables marketing to build out the database in a prioritized way, setting parameters around areas of greatest business opportunity.
Identify the Individual Customer
Once the universe of sites has been defined, your program is positioned to work. But savvy marketers know that selling occurs on an individual level—not a site-based level. Therefore, those individual decision-makers must be properly identified to initiate dialogue. The most efficient approach is to identify the job titles of those who are most relevant to the sales process, defined by receptivity, pain and authority:
1. Receptivity: What title most often gets you in the door at a prospect site?
2. Pain: What title most often has a need for your product or service?
3. Authority: What title most often signs off on the purchase?
From this, sales and marketing can work together to define a key player map—an organizational chart that identifies the titles and positions in the hierarchy of a typical site, who reports to them and to whom they report. With this information, the database can be coded with the titles as defined above.