With the economy lagging and experts forecasting possible recessions, forward-thinking companies are looking to stimulate new revenue in new markets. In a vacuum, not a bad strategy. But many companies doing so are leaving money on the table in their current markets.
If you think you’ve exhausted your market… you’re probably wrong.
In fact, a recent Gartner report recommends that tech CEOs renew their sales and marketing efforts in two areas:
- Existing markets (where their products are proven)
- Existing customer base (as a chance for expansion with new buying efforts)
The report does not mince words: “Tech CEOs must avoid the temptation to go after new markets and verticals (especially when there is not a clear, well-researched and validated opportunity for growth) if doing so puts success in existing markets at risk.”
Venturing too heavily into new markets is a lot like abandoning your fortress in battle: when companies lose focus on their core market, their competitors swoop in. As a result, companies forfeit the Fortress of Market Share, including both new accounts and expansion opportunities with existing ones.
This is of course not to warn ambitious orgs away from exploring new markets altogether. There are strategic reasons to leave the fortress. Yet breaking into new markets and booking revenue requires time—a resource that many companies don’t have enough of.
Fully evaluating your current market for growth opportunities (especially when the economy is suppressed) is a worthy—and worthwhile—endeavor. Then, when looking at new markets at the right time, employing a smart, surgical strategy will maximize the return on your efforts.
Re-evaluate your market stronghold
Many times, companies that believe they’ve exhausted their market have actually exhausted their ICP.
Too often, a traditional ICP fits in four or five bullets on a PowerPoint slide. These are usually firmographic indicators of a prospect’s industry, size, location or revenue—and are often ineffective ways of describing your actual best targets. Also too often, organizations allow their ICP to remain static for years on end, failing to reflect changes both internally and in the market.
Rev has developed AI-driven ICPs using exegraphic data to build better customer profiles that understand how companies behave and change. But even with more traditional ICPs, re-evaluating who you are selling to (and who you’ve already sold to) will help you understand who your actual ideal customers are—rather than what a PowerPoint says they are.
The benefits of re-evaluating (and re-re-evaluating) your ICP are significant:
- Engage your current customers. Presuming that your best customers do not change over time is a sure way to lose them to competitors offering products that better suit their needs.
- Grab the attention of new prospects. By understanding what makes your best customers tick, you can refine your messaging to speak to the needs and pain points of act-alike companies.
- Maximize your pipeline. You can compare accounts in your pipeline to your active ICP to determine which matches to emphasize.
- Maximize your resources. Ditto for the companies you have not yet made first contact with—understanding which target accounts are most likely to bite increases the power of your revenue teams.
Dig in deeper with existing accounts
If you find through evaluating your ICP that you already have deep market penetration, it still does not mean you’ve exhausted your market. It may well mean you need to optimize your approach to account expansion.
Companies with deep penetration and a product-led growth motion often struggle to know which accounts to target next, and why. After all, in tough economic times, upselling is not always a strategic move. Identifying which accounts will be most receptive to expansion is critical to maximizing revenue teams’ resources.
Exegraphic data can surface those signals. Exegraphics identify the trends for the accounts that have already expanded, increasing confidence in your prioritization of the target account list for potential upsells.
The right data can also evaluate potential expansion for each one of your company’s products and services. Getting granular about not only who is ripe for expansion, but who is ripe for expansion in which direction, keeps your aim centered and results in more successful targeting.
Depending on the size of your customer base, it might also be important to segment existing accounts into 1:1, 1:few or 1:many engagement plans, according to their exegraphic matches. This segmentation enables account managers to spend the most time with customers that are high-fit for expansion opportunities.
No matter the scale and complexity of your offerings, the actionable insights provided by exegraphic data will help you identify which current accounts are ripe for upsells and expansion—further improving your reach into your current market, without the opportunity and financial cost of breaking into a new one.
Be savvy about leaving the fortress for new markets
Now, you may find—immediately, or in the future—that your company really has exhausted its current market. Or, perhaps entering new markets is integral to your larger GTM strategy.
In either case, tapping into new market segments opens up a world of potential new customers. It’s an aggressive strategy in times when many customers are tightening their belts—and also looking for effective solutions.
The strategy is risky, too. What if you invest marketing resources in a market segment for 12 months only to fall flat?
Fortunately, you can minimize the risk with a data-driven approach. You are starting new, but you don’t have to start cold.
Trust your real ICP
In-depth ICPs, such as Rev’s aiCPs, will identify act-alike organizations, even if they look nothing alike (and they often don’t between markets). This enables you to get much clearer about targeting accounts in the new market: odds are, your best customers in the old market will mirror your most likely best customers in the new one.
Finding companies in a new segment that have the same “fit” and “ready” characteristics as your best customers minimizes risk and maximizes the potential for gains. Companies in very different market segments might have very similar internal operations that make them a great candidate for your product or service.
You want to aim your outbound teams at these prospects to maximize leads they can convert into sales. Exegraphics and aiCPs equip your outbound teams to go after the best-fit targets, reducing the time spent on fruitless cold outreach.
Deploy a SWAT team
In fact, you can make this approach even more surgical to reduce risk and increase effectiveness. Before fully divesting from your company’s core focus—or before fully committing to a new market—test it with a SWAT team.
Think back to the fortress: you are unlikely to leave it in force while dispersing your forces in all directions. You’re much more likely to leave the fortress for a specific target, with a strategic approach. And why empty the fortress at all if you can send out the equivalent of a few hardy scouts to test the terrain?
Key word here is test. We recommend resisting the urge to over-rotate (and over-invest); instead, we advocate for this SWAT-team approach in a new market: lightly staffed with strong expertise, able to pivot and adapt on the fly. Think something like one business development rep, two AEs and light marketing support.
After all, if you’re using the power of exegraphics and aiCPs, you already have rigor in your process: you know you’re sending reps after prospects most likely to bite. Developing a few good pieces of early messaging and simple collateral can test the market.
Then see what happens. Do you get engagement? Are the reps able to close deals? If not, what needs to happen differently?
This approach accelerates the information-gathering period and helps you assess, quickly and definitively, whether a new market segment is actually viable. This approach manages to get you answers in 3-6 months, not the more typical 12-18 months (plus exponential expenses) needed to determine market fit.
The Gartner report referenced above could hardly sound more dire about new market expansion. It reads: “Tech CEOs face losing market share to competitors from neglecting existing customers and the expansion opportunities within them.”
The inverse is simple: Don’t neglect them.
But what that looks like in practice is much more than the absence of neglect—it’s the presence of active re-evaluation of the current market, especially existing accounts, to develop a living, breathing, evolving ICP.
It’s the development of exegraphic data to optimize account expansion.
And, when new market penetration happens, it means doing so surgically and scientifically—with precision, experimentation and speed.
Take a step in the right direction, and let us build your aiCP for free. We’ll show you the exegraphics behind your best customers—and show you how to identify the accounts ready for expansion.