Today's post is about an article that appeared in the July/August issue of Harvard Business Review: "Selling into Micromarkets: How to use big data to uncover lucrative new hot spots." It starts with an example at an unnamed chemical and service company, which "diced its seven US regions into 70 micromarkets and zeroed in on those with the greatest potential," leading to a twofold increase in the sales growth rate "without an increase in marketing or sales costs."
The article continues: "The key to the firm's remarkable turnaround was its new ability to combine, sift and sort vast troves of data to develop a highly efficient sales strategy." Apparently, "B2B sales organizations have only recently begun to use big data to both inform overall strategy and tailor sales pitches for specific customers in real time" and the thesis of the article is that "micromarket strategy is perhaps the most potent new application of big-data analytics in B2B sales."
The strategy it describes involves three steps: (1) find new pockets of growth, (2) make it easy for the sales team (align sales coverage with opportunity, create sales plays for each type of opportunity, support the sales force in executing the plays) and (3) put data at the heart of sales (through performance management, cross-functional collaboration and talent development).
Other articles I enjoyed in that HBR issue include:
- "Expanding the entrepreneur class"
- "Dupont's CEO on executing a complex cross-border acquisition"
- "The view for the field: six leaders offer their perspectives on sales success"
- "Disrupt yourself"
and if you must only read one article from HBR, make it "Do you know your cost of capital" (more about that in my post next week).