“Look at your current customers and see where you are driving the most value, what the data shows around the lowest amount of friction in terms of their ability to recognize that value and actually realize that value and focus on those companies” – Todd Caponi in today’s Tip 461
How about you? Do you try extreme firmographic focus?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today Todd Caponi is back. Todd is the author of the award-winning (best of 2019) book, The Transparency Sale, a top-rated keynote speaker & trainer as Principal of Sales Melon LLC, and he’s also Managing Director of Chicago’s VentureSCALE. Here he is with today’s tip:
Todd Caponi: So let’s go back to 2008. So 12 years ago we were in the midst of something that is now referred to as the Great Recession. I was the head of sales, a VP of worldwide sales for a tech company that was in the CAD engineering space and we weren’t doing so well. We had just gone through a layoff soon before. I had actually moved from running sales operations to becoming the VP of Worldwide Sales. And here’s one thing that we did that might be an opportunity for you to think about as well. When things get desperate, our reps started to want to call on everybody’s just looking down the whole street like, “Hey, could you buy our stuff?” It became a free for all and what I recognize very, very quickly is that within certain segments of our business, we were having a lot more success during a recession than in others. And what I mean by that is when we’re in an economic downturn, there are certain things that your technology can make a really big impact on whether or not the company is doing well in this or not doing well. That’s irrelevant. We found aerospace, the aerospace industry. We had one plane manufacturer that was doing really, really well with our technology and it was making an impact on the things that matter during a downturn, which is to look at their essentials and extend their runway on those, reduce costs while also reducing risk against worst-case scenario.
So we decided to go the opposite way. We took the team and said, “Listen, for the next three weeks you are calling a nothing but aerospace companies.” We are going to become experts in those industries and when we have those calls, what’s going to happen is the credibility is going to ooze from our throats and from our fingers in the form of the emails around our expertise in their space. And confidence is contagious. That expertise is contagious. Credibility is seen as confidence. And what happened? Well, we suddenly closed four more aerospace companies. And then from there, slowly expanded out into industries that were very close to the aerospace industry, like the defense industry. And then we went into oil and gas. We did some heavy manufacturing like the John Deere’s and the Caterpillars of the world. And instead of turning off the lights in the organization, we were able to turn it around by growing the sales organization 300% and growing our revenues by 400% in the worst recession in a generation.
So my advice to you is to consider extreme firmographic focus as an option during these uncertain times. Look at your current customers and see where you are driving the most value, what the data shows around the lowest amount of friction in terms of their ability to recognize that value and actually realize that value and focus on those companies because you will subconsciously and inherently build expertise in that vertical very quickly. And your customers and your buyers are going to sense that. They’re going to feel that they’re going to absorb your confidence. And in a consensus sale, which is already hard. It’s not a lot harder because all of these people are working at home and can’t just walk down the hallway to build consensus. So you’ve got to make the buying journey easy, and part of that is in the confidence that you exude during the process.
So try it, try extreme firmographic focus for a couple of weeks. I’m telling you, you’re going to see the results of that, and it certainly helped us quite a bit. That award that’s over my head was a result of the turnaround that we had during that terrible recession and I think that you can experience that kind of a lift too. So good luck. We’d love to hear how it goes. Thanks.
Scott Ingram: You’ll find more about Todd at DailySales.Tips/461 where you can connect with him on LinkedIn and grab a copy of his book The Transparency Sales if you haven’t already. It’s also available on Audible.
Once you’ve done that. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!