The cost of focusing on the wrong customers

“What are your key takeaways from the 9-week workstream we’ve just finished?” I asked the entire sales team of one of my clients on Tuesday.

An instant answer that came out from the Sales Director was eye-opening:
“How important it is on who we are for, and possibly more important….who we are not for. When we started nine weeks ago with the first prompt, I took it to our leadership team, where we discussed it deeply.  Why? Because we, as the leadership team, influence this. It starts with us.

Who we are for and who we’re not for is a critical question at the highest level. The answer will align everything and everyone across our organization. We’re going to ‘get there’ a lot quicker if we’re all swimming in the same direction.

  • Product Development: If will make every line of code more impactful if development can focus on precisely those customers that we can turn into ambassadors (vs. trying to keep ‘everyone happy’)
  • Marketing: It will help increase the quality of our leads through crystal clear segmentation and laser-sharp positioning. We start to hit the right nerve with our ideal customer and ensure we credibly disqualify everyone that’s not ideal right at the top of the funnel.
  • Sales: If marketing delivers the right leads, it will help shorten sales cycles, increase our win rates, and raise our deals’ average value when we stop trying to sell to everything that moves.
  • Professional services: If sales close the right deals, it will help make every implementation faster, more impactful, and profitable. It will enable our Services teams can focus their time on the customers we can turn into fans.
  • Support: It will lower the cost and raise the quality of our support function if they can stop wasting a disproportionate amount of time, making customers that have the highest likelihood to churn ‘sort of happy.’

“The signal we send as a leadership team here is critical. If we bail out and are not crystal clear on this – how can the business be? It’s our job to align and avoid every function from getting distracted by outliers, wasting excessive amounts of effort and energy on the wrong customers.”

Question for you to reflect upon: 

If you analyze your customer base, what % would possibly be better off with the competition?
What value could you create in 2022 by realizing you can’t please everyone and creating clarity as a leadership team who you’re really for?

About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.