When you’re selling, you need to know your product. This is true whether you’re a CEO, an estate agent or going door to door with a tray of cleaning products – if you don’t know what you’re selling well enough to project confidence in it, your customers will know, and they won’t buy.
There’s another key factor you need to understand to reach the sales success you need: whether you’re selling face to face, writing an advert on a spare room site, or coming up with the digital marketing strategy for a multimillion-dollar product launch, you need to know who you’re selling to. If you don’t know what they want, what they hate, what their problems are and, of course, how much money they have to spend, your attempts to sell will be, at best, generic, at worst tragically misguided.
Understanding who you’re selling to helps with everything. It helps you target your marketing, as you know your ads are appearing where that audience is getting their news and watching their television; it helps you optimise the creative side of your ads so they speak to the people they need to speak to, and it even helps you to design your products, be they physical, digital, financial or simply ways of packaging the services you have to offer. Every product should be solving a problem your customers feel acutely, whether it’s back pain or worrying they’re going to break their phone. If you know who your customers are, you know what their worries are and that lets you polish and optimise what you offer and how you offer it to fit them.
This is where data comes in. You need hard data to really understand those customers: with the numbers you’re hoping to attract it’s only expertly interpreted data that can make it comprehensible. A market research firm gives you access to the reach and the skills to get the data and more importantly to understand it. A sophisticated understanding of your market is as important as the data itself. Understanding market segmentation, for example, is vital. This is a model of your customers that splits them up into different groups with different characteristics, so you don’t think of them as a single crowd. Split them into segments (older men, university aged couples, young professionals) and you can assign an approach to each one, with resources that match its potential revenue and make sure your marketing is specific and successful.