‘Prospect Characteristics Matrix’ Turns Suspects into Prospects
But understanding the kinds of buyers who are most likely to buy your firm’s services, and who are likely to be most profitable for your people and equipment configuration, is a vital step in deciding where to invest your sales time. No two printers have the same equipment lists or set of skills and, therefore, no two graphic arts salespeople can have the same list of prospects.
Fortunately, there is a relatively pain-free way to rank buyers. The “Prospect Characteristics Matrix” is a flexible, meaningful approach to organizing buyers’ characteristics. The matrix format allows you to review all your clients and prospects at a glance, and assess which are the best targets for the majority of your time. Twenty-five salespeople have field-tested the matrix, and, as one put it, “The matrix gives prospecting a sense of direction.”
To create your own “Prospect Characteristics Matrix,” list your prospects vertically on a sheet of paper or file on your computer screen. Across the top, list the characteristics most important to you and your company. The characteristics can be facts about the prospects or their graphic arts needs that apply to your firm’s range of profitable capabilities.
For example, say your company has one or two small sheefted presses, as well as limited finishing capabilities and an art department. If the art department is more profitable than the others, you want to pursue buyers who always use the art department, as well as the other services. List “use art department” on the horizontal axis.
IF you work for a large web printer that has exotic scenting, gluing or specialized in-line capabilities, you want to pursue buyer who need those specialties, along with everything else you have to offer. Then you would list “specialized in-line capabilities” across the top of the matrix.
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.