We will start this article with a straight question: why would your business go after a niche sector to market and sell to?
This does seem quite a complicated question, however the answer is very simple in that marketing and the selling of products and services relies on both the understanding of emotional behaviours and thinking of customers. Therefore, if you are able to show how well you know a customer, and you have a firm grasp of their challenges then it goes without saying but you will earn their trust.
For a small and medium-sized business, this can involve a significant investment of both time and work over the long term to be able to meet this goal. Therefore, the safest approach is to focus on one sector at a time. At this point it is vital that everyone in the business knows about the target industry to make sure you have a 360 view of the customers you are looking to target.
Communicate in the way of the customer
To put this into context in the way of an example, if you’re selling products and services to financial services businesses, they won’t be using such terms such as leads and pipelines. They will be more focused on terms such as investments which may differ from other sectors.
It is important to understand that if you don’t communicate in their language, then you will find it difficult to establish an emotional connection with that customer.
Nowadays, those B2B customers are already 75% down the buying process before they even contact your business. This means that in the vast majority of cases, the sales are happening when they engage with your brand before they even speak to one of your sales team.
Therefore, it is of vital importance to make sure that when they look at your website, your content, your social media and your thoughts on the industry that you convince them you know your stuff. Don’t miss out on the one opportunity that you get to build that emotional connection by going niche onto a particular sector.
How can you work towards a niche?
To complete this process, you will need to learn more about the customer processes, their industry terms and their challenges they are facing. Furthermore, you may need to understand some specific compliance challenges. To give you an example of this in the financial services sector, there is a specific requirement where there is a need to know your customers that requires professionals to make a focused effort on verifying the identity, suitability and risks involved with maintaining a business relationship. This will be important when your marketing team markets to financial services businesses.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Advantage already have specific and deep relationships within the Microsoft community. From our vast experience and discussing with other businesses has taught us that when a partner doesn’t focus on a specific set of industries, their lead conversions only equate to around 10-20%.
If the business chooses to focus on 5 or 6 verticals like ourselves that can result in conversion figures of nearer to 50%. If you go down the road of just one specific industry that can result in that figure improving to around 80%. With conversion numbers around that figure would transform the way you worked. How can this be achieved? It’s all in the brand.
Your brand is key
When it comes to brand management, you are in control of what your business is known for. If you go down the targeting of a specific niche, you can drill down and focus your marketing efforts on just one specific area which will improve your overall performance.
With a constant focus on that specific niche over a sustained period of time will eventually lead to businesses seeing you as the go-to provider for that product/service.
This can also work in the opposite way in the instances where you are down to the final two for a specific project with a customer. You can deliver the best presentation in the world and position yourself as the best alternative to a competitor but you lose out at the final turn. This can be something as simple as the other competitor was niche in the specific client’s sector and at the time the other company was more general.
The thing is many customers are reassured when a company is describing issues and challenges in their sector in the language of that industry meaning that they come across like they get them.
Focus on a niche to increase your ROI
Apart from improving your ability to sell better, there are a couple of other ways in which you can focus on a niche that can bring you a significant return on investment. The first part makes it easier for your business to charge more for your services as you will be focusing on just one niche which increases the confidence of the buyer that you know the field and are willing to pay for such experience.
The second part is that you can create solutions that are tailored for that industry. Here at Advantage, we deliver both CRM and ERP solutions based on Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 stack. As we’ve decided to focus on just a few niches in particular – financial services, logistics & distribution, not-for-profits, churches & religious institutions, healthcare and professional services – we can use our knowledge to create the technology that will help to address the needs of those clients operating in those industries which can be easily implemented without too much customisation.
Which niche do you choose and what do you do after you have picked one?
Here’s a justification as to why Advantage chose to focus primarily on financial services, logistics & distribution, not-for-profit, churches & religious institutions, healthcare and professional services. The first task we completed was to review all the customers we had over the last two years. We segmented them into their specific industry, added generated revenue and profitability.
After this, we decided to look at some smaller metrics. This meant that we looked to identify industries which we felt more comfortable working in as well as those where we had good client references and those where we had built decent networks.
After drilling down on the numbers, financial services, logistics & distribution, not-for-profit, churches & religious institutions, healthcare and professional services seemed to give us the best numbers overall.
After we decided on this, we questioned whether or not we had to fill gaps in knowledge and expertise to drive into that market. In addition to this, we also needed to work on suitable marketing materials, relevant case studies, research the challenges faced and become thought leaders in the industry.
This is where we began our research into the relevant trends across those chosen industries, delving into the knowledge we had in-house and looking at how the business models worked in those sectors, researched the issues and challenges to improve our expertise.
From this, we identified which of our CRM or ERP solutions would be best placed to suit the specific industry and if we didn’t we created those solutions for each industry.
Do you have to stick with a specific niche?
The answer is no, you can choose to go down other avenues later down the line. The key is not to go over the top so we as a business decided to only focus on the six industries above.
If you are a business that is operating in the financial services, churches & religious institutions, professional services, healthcare, not-for-profit or logistics & distribution industries and are looking to implement a Dynamics 365 CRM solution or implement a Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP solution tailored to your industry then please get in touch with our team of industry experts today to discuss how we can get started.
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