One of the things we do on this Lucep blog is to increase engagement through target marketing. You will find many articles on the blog about this process, including the importance of engaging content and the process of creating a content plan for your website.
If you read the aforementioned two articles, one common thread you will find is that you need to know your target market before you engage them using content marketing and other channels. This was one of the important questions that popped up at a recent “Sales for Startups” event organized by Lucep.
The question – As a startup, who is your most suitable target market? The consumer, SMEs, or enterprise users?
The video clip below shows Lucep Co-founder and Director for Marketing & Sales Zal Dastur asking this question, and then the response to it from the panel of sales experts.<
Zal Dastur, Lucep : One of the things I would like to ask the panel, right, is – What is your experience, because I think with most startup companies, you are kind of given two options. It’s either, or three I would say – you either go for the consumer, you go for the SME, or you go for the enterprise. So, I would like to hear from from all three of you, so what is your experience with selling to different segments of the market. Do you prefer one, and do you not prefer one? Is there one that you stay away from? I know that in our company, we have a strict policy to stay away from one of those three. Now, though, it happens to keep chasing us, so we give them business, but we don’t go after that com… that segment. But what about from you guys? Maybe Rakesh, you want to start?
Rakesh Sharma, BHIVE: I think it will depend a lot upon what kind of service or product you have. But I think the product will still define what kind of target market you are going to go after. So if you are a B2C company, of course, you need to deal with consumers, a single consumer or a group of consumers. But if you have a B2B solution, then of course consumers are not a preferred customer for you. You need to have SMEs or large enterprises. But having said that, personally, I think I am, I don’t differentiate between them, if I were to. The only differentiating factor for me is what kind of business I want.
Now consumer, for all said and done, their loyalty is very fickle. They, it is very difficult to get a consumer loyalty when it comes to it, right? But an SME or enterprise, it it is much easier as compared to one person to have the loyalty because then you are able to engage with them, you are able to take them to different cycles of say business software of yours. And you are able to customise products as well. So though I don’t prefer one or other, but given a choice, definitely, I will work with SMEs because (1) It gives me ready business in the short term, and if we are… if we work them, with enough with them, I think in future business prospects also, are picking it up, right, with SMEs.
Mangal Karnad, FableSquare: I think assessing the target audience becomes a very essential aspect of both sales and marketing. I, we, met a prospect recently. He believes that his solution can be purchased or procured by either a SME, by HNI, or it could even be bought by an enterprise. Now, yeah, it is a very widespread… Now look at the challenge of both the sales and the marketing teams. Where do they, because each one has their own sensitization to the product, creating awareness, or even selling. Sales cycles also wane. Pardon me. Now ideally I would like this prospect to identify preferably one, if not two, sets of audiences so that the communication can become clearer. Even the sales team’s work becomes easier. Now the enterprise or the service provider or the product company needs to decide which is most conducive. When you sell to SMEs, reaching itself, in a country like India, is not easy, Right? Now if you look at HNI it is even worse. It is like a selling to an individual consumer. So I will say enterprise because there is your sizable spread for a particular service I am talking about. Yeah, the sales cycle is longish, but if it is done systematically, I would believe that focusing on one segment might be more beneficial to that particular company.
Now, the typical attitude of most businesses is to say, okay, let me spread wide and get whatever I can get. But that can be counter-productive because you don’t know your… communication needs to be different because for an SME, probably you have to communicate in a simpler language, I am assuming today everybody can speak fluently. But the communication itself becomes a little difficult. Enterprises like we spoke about, there are couple of decision makers, probably building a relationship with them and selling to them might be a better option. So I would definitely say understanding the target audience very well is essential both to the sales and the marketing function. In a way sales and marketing function like a two sides of the coin and they are complementary functions. So it really really makes a difference if they identify the target audience.
Sumukha Rao, Ta3s: Right, you know, I think let me go back to history, some many years back, you know 92-93, when…I am very very used to that because I started then. So if you really look at that time, I am not sure if many knew, Wipro and infosys were resellers of software They were not services organisations. Wipro was distributor of Borland. Infosys was distributor of Symantec antivirus, right. And they started with distribution of software and not services. Services came later on. That’s when they started growing. Now at that time, the sales was towards to enterprise. Only enterprise. And there was no individual buyer, because individuals were not investing in technology. Today you have Tablets, phones, everything on hand, and you got applications on hand. So you are reaching out consumers now. So there is a transition in market happening over a period of time. It happened for 15 years slowly. But of late, it’s really fast. So when you are building a product itself you should know who is going to be your target audience.
And you don’t sell to anywhere else but your target audience, because your vision and focus is very very keen even in your sales, right. You want to achieve what you want to achieve and you want to take all the money on the table not leave any, right. So if you want to do that, you need to be very focused. Don’t pick up anything and everything which comes your way, because that’s going to be distraction. You are going to spend lot more time trying to save that particular deal which is actually not your vision, than to actually cater to your vision. For instance, lot of organizations today, based on the services what we render, they say “you know hey guys why can’t you also do development for us”.
You know I say, you know that’s not our focus, I will recommend to you a customer or potential partner who can work with you, who have got, you know, especially influencing marketing. Basically I have seen him delivering projects, and I have trusted him, right. So I much rather let them work and I focus on test. And actually testing is not a focus area for me, test automation is, right. So Ta3s stands for Test Automation as a Service. So I am very very focused on that, I don’t go behind manual testing for instance. There are 300 such companies in Bangalore with, you know, lakhs of people who are in testing space. So we cater to the niche market using the niche solutioning and services what we render and that’s how, it takes long and hard time. You will think, you know, it’s a entry in the door, but if I have a entry in the door there I may be getting into an unknown. And if I get into an unknown, my time and efforts is spent over there rather than trying to sell my real solutions and services or products. So today, market has transitioned from enterprise to each individual users, banks are no more, enterprise banks are available on your, in the mobile applications. The quality of service is what matters. So if you really look at it, if you got 2 bank accounts and if you want to transfer money and if you are using, say ICICI and HDFC, and if you log on to ICICI while transferring the money to somebody and if it fails the next moment is you are using that to transact by HDFC and transaction by HDFC, HDFC is winning it.
Zal Dastur, Lucep: I think, I really like that point, and I know from my own experience that as a startup you are always broke, right. You know, show me a startup that has a lot of money and they are no longer a startup. And your, it’s so easy to look after the money and to chase the money and to lose focus if a client comes to you. You know, so I think that point about staying on point and knowing what you are looking for, is really important.