Defining Your Target Market: A Crucial Process In Your Sales Cycle

July 23, 2020

Defining Your Target Market: A Crucial Process In Your Sales Cycle

Defining your target market can be challenging.  Markets are constantly evolving and live in an ecosystem of their own with market pressures dictating the course of business, and indirectly, your own success or failure.  Knowing who to focus on, what markets work best for your business, and which new markets to chase down can make or break your year. 

As a salesperson, how can you positively affect the business with the decisions you make and markets to target in your day to day life?  We would like to examine this and other elements that may help you determine a path and plan to success for you and your company.

Understand the Importance of Vertical Markets

What are “vertical markets” you ask? A vertical market is a market in which vendors offer goods and services specific to an industry, trade, or profession. Or even another group of customers with specialized needs such as healthcare, hospitality, education.

Focusing on a few vertical markets allows you to focus your strategy and maximize your resources. After all, trying to reach everyone everywhere will not only waste time and energy but also valuable marketing resources.

But how do you pick the market that best suits your company or products?

Examine the Strengths of Your Company and Your Product

Each entity within a given market has its own needs and requirements. It’s your job to see how your product can address them. Firstly, start by picking three target markets you’d like to go after. Once picked, ask yourself these questions:

        1. How do you play in each vertical market?
        2. What features in your platform are relevant to each vertical and why are they relevant?
        3. Do you already have a presence in the vertical(s) you chose? How do you increase your exposure within those verticals?


After you’ve defined how you can – or already are – interacting with your target markets, start researching their unique challenges and market pressures. Forming an understanding of what problems they’re trying to solve will help you understand their decision-making process. This makes it that much easier to differentiate yourself from other competitors in the space.

Once you understand the industry pain points and have discovered what differentiates your product from the competition, you’ll be able to deeply entrench yourself in that industry’s culture on a relational level. After all, you’ll know how the customer thinks about products and what particular features matter to them the most.

Improve Any Weaknesses You Find

It’s vital that you understand your company’s weaknesses as well as your strengths. Not only will this prepare you to answer tough questions from customers, it will also help you offer suggestions during product updates. Do customers complain to you about how slow a particular feature is? Or request a particular feature multiple times? Additionally, tell your development team so they can suggest a quick-and-dirty fix or add it to the roadmap. 

Let Go of an Unproductive Target Market

As you research new verticals, you’ll quickly realize that not every prospect is a fit for your business. While it may be tempting to try to hold onto these markets when you’re running low on leads, pushing through dry spells will be far more beneficial than trying to force ill-suited industries to purchase your product. Do your best to avoid price-sensitive markets as businesses in that vertical are quick to switch service providers based on who has the lowest price. Find companies that would see the value in your solutions and make a long-term investment.

Build High-Quality Relationships with Partners

One of the key aspects of continued growth in a market is partnerships within the space. Finding partners that are both industry leaders and can benefit from your success will help you build your company’s market influence and gain more brand recognition over time. A good test for if a partner is the right fit for you is if you feel comfortable referring a prospect to them even when your solution is not needed yet.

Seek to Expand to a New Vertical or Target Market

Say you’ve done all the research. You’ve chosen the right verticals to start with, and are starting to see exponential growth in your customer base. Perhaps you’ve even built a number of healthy relationships with partners who refer you to new clientele. In this instance, your next step should be obvious: start expanding to new verticals! Use the same steps as before – competitor research, differentiator identification and relationship building. Finally, reevaluate additional markets that are relevant to your product offering.