Karen Duerholz, Boyle Construction, Inc., Small Business Council Board Member
Having been in the sales and marketing side of companies in the Lehigh Valley for over 20 years, I am sometimes asked if there are best practices when it comes to achieving top performing results in sales and marketing. I wish my answer sounded more profound, but it is simple, effective and available to every company large and small.
Market intelligence boils down to having your finger on the pulse of your current and potential customers, understanding their challenges, what is keeping them up at night, and how you can be a true and trusted partner for them in solving their problems and helping them achieve their goals.
Large corporations spend millions of dollars on this every year, but for the vast majority of companies, an army of market intelligence experts is not in the cards. Here is a three-step framework for how you can create a Market Listening structure of your own:
- Start internally with your management team, brainstorm the issues your customers are facing, match your solution sets, and identify gaps.
- Collaborate with other business owners in an informal, broad discussion of challenges facing your particular market segment(s). I have to do a Chamber MasterMinds plug, because they are an excellent resource on this front!
- Once you have done the above homework, reach out to your customer base and ask them questions: How is business going for you in general? What are your goals for this year? What are the issues and business risks you are facing? What value do we provide? What can we be doing better? What do you need that we are not providing?
Creating your own Market Listening capability will make your entire organization more customer focused, able to stay ahead of market needs, and lead you on the path to business excellence.