Before You Sell to a Vertical, Do This
You are at a sales meeting and your boss announces, “As of today, we are focusing on the vertical market … ” and then finishes the sentence with something like, banks or colleges or hospitals or ...
What should you do next?
To focus on a vertical market means to specialize. Theoretically, once you solve problems of one bank, for example, the second, third or fourth bank should be increasingly easy for you. First, however, you need to focus on specializing. In order to do that, you need to become an SME.
SME stands for Subject Matter Expert. This is someone who knows a lot about a particular vertical market. You don’t necessarily need to go to school or have years of experience, but you do need to study. So, the first thing you do when you decide (or when someone decides for you) to focus on one specific vertical is to get some general background information.
- What are the trends in that industry?
- How do you go about marketing the products and services?
- What problems do they have that I might be able to solve?
Where do you look? There is a trade association for every vertical. Visit their website or call them. Perhaps you could Google, “Marketing mistakes made by … Banks.” You might also look at the Wall Street Journal archives for information they may have covered. The point is, spend some time reviewing and researching. The difference between a blind sales call and an educated sales call is phenomenal.
This is a lesson not only for verticals but for every account you are considering calling on.
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