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Mistake #5: Selecting Inappropriate Target Segments

Focus has been a constant refrain at MindBrew for quite some time. And recently, we’ve been putting an even finer point on it through our research into the best practices around prospect targeting. But frankly, the lack of effective prospect targeting practices is so pervasive that it’s been a bit of a challenge to identify sales and marketing teams that are actually doing a stellar job of it.

As we believe that avoiding major mistakes is more than half the battle, the Recognizing Seven Deadly Targeting Mistakes guide exposes and explains the seven most common and costly mistakes being made with respect to prospect targeting. While all seven of these landmines are quite damaging, there’s one mistake that warrants special attention:

Mistake #5: Selecting Inappropriate Target Segments

Many companies don’t adequately assess their own competencies when selecting target segments. For example, companies will target highly-profitable segments that they really don’t have the internal experience or capabilities to adequately serve. In effect, they’re picking a fight that they can’t actually win.

Other companies will target segments that look attractive from a volume perspective, without regard to price-sensitivities and competitive pressures. Companies that target these segments often end-up wondering why they aren’t achieving their profit objectives. Here, companies are picking fights that aren’t worth winning.

Still other companies target segments where the incumbent competitor will defend their position to the death—the death of both companies, if necessary. These segments are so important to the competitor that they have no choice but to fight very hard to maintain their existence. This is fight where there are no winners.

When selecting target segments, companies must assess attractiveness from a number of different angles. Certainly, the financial viability of the segments must be understood. But it’s equally important to realistically and objectively assess your company’s ability to compete for that target segment.

In fact, this particular targeting mistake is so prevalent—and so deadly—that we’ve also published a step-by-step tutorial called Targeting Your Most Profitable Prospects to help our subscribers take a more thoughtful and strategic approach.

Making decisions about where to focus is never easy. But through quantitative and qualitative assessment of your potential targets, it’s definitely possible to strike a better balance between “a battle you can win” and a “battle worth winning.”

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