Driving Market Share Gains in a Down Market 



Narrow Segment Focus

Many of you have heard my sermon on narrowing market focus... and this comes to bear in a recession like no other time.  Understanding where your company is experiencing sales success is a critical factor.  Highest potential markets can yield share gains and set up a strong position once the economy fully turns.  This focus should provide guidance to allocation of your Marketing dollars (as scarce as they may be) and tune your Marketing message.

Get New Products to Market

I have never met a client that has been completely happy with their ability to get new products to market in a timely manner.  But the fact of the matter is that new products in tough markets can be among the most potent weapons that an organization has to deploy in penetrating a market and differentiating themselves.  It gives the sales organization a "leg up" on competitors that may have weaker product/service offerings and helps to blunt the increased price pressure in a tight market.  Focused efforts here can pay great dividends.

Refine Marketing Messages that Differentiate

Shifting more of the Marketing mix from brand building to targeted (direct)marketing is worth exploring.  This is a tactic that should go hand-in-hand with the focus of the sales organization and capitalize on segments that are offering up the most traction in the selling process.  Messages that are highly specific to the targeted end market are most effective. 

Launch Programs that Consolidate Customer Purchases

Programs that entice customers to fulfill more of their needs through your company helps you gain share of customer and can strengthen the overall relationship.  If there are economies in terms of bundled pricing this can serve as a further incentive to the customer.  These programs can be cost-effective for both parties as the customer simplifies their purchasing relationship and your organization can enjoy similar efficiencies.

Consider Terms or other Mechanisms    

Though lengthened terms of sale ultimately run counter to an organizations focus on tight management of receivables, it could preserve a relationship or secure an order that might not otherwise happen.  It should be looked at judiciously but not dismissed without some consideration.  Improved warranties or guarantees may also be offered to diminish barriers to close and remove perceived risk for the purchaser.

Drive Add-On Sales

This area goes hand-in-hand with increasing customer share but is often overlooked as a real revenue generator.  I have seen plenty of examples with both new and existing customers that would suggest that this is worth another hard look.  In fact, additional sales are often among the easiest to gain... as the original purchase has already been completed and the relationship established.  Would you like to take a peek at the dessert menu?

Website Analytics

Though many of you may not rely too heavily on your website as a primary revenue generator, your website may have more intrinsic value than you think.  Making sure that your organization makes effective use of available website analytics is just good practice.  It can provide significant insight into how your prospects view your products and services and what they are most interested in. 

Keep your Top Performing Sales People Motivated

Recessions are tough on Sales Organizations.  Even your best sales people may be struggling with increased price pressure, longer sales cycles and lower compensation.  Understanding what they need to be successful is critical in holding onto your best salespeople and keeping them motivated to perform.  The best companies keep their top sales people on task and performing at a high level.