Sector specialization is a big deal. It is the #1 determinant in selecting a product or service provider in the B2B world. Consequently, sector expansion is tempting to companies looking to grow.
Step 1: Choose an industry with existing prospects
The reality is that, if you don’t have any existing prospects in an industry, you probably don’t know enough about it to attempt the move. Perhaps geographical expansion makes more sense.
Step 2: Customer advisory meetings
You have to understand your prospects’ pain points and what they need before you go to market. Try to meet with a minimum of five prospects to make sure you get enough perspectives. When you can accurately anticipate their answers, you know you’re on the right track and are ready for the next step.
Step 3: Build on transferrable experience
Now that you understand your prospects’ pain points, align each point with relevant experiences. Your goal is to find similar situations that your prospects will relate to and consequently trust your expertise.
Step 4: Research company structures
We often forget that companies in different sectors may have different structures too. E.g. in manufacturing you likely deal with product managers, but in a technology based sector you could be dealing with a CIO/CTO, requiring a different approach.
Step 5: Embrace vertical selling
Vertical selling is a great strategy to employ when crossing sectors. This refers to finding new clients that are advocates at different levels of the same organization. Particularly mid-and senior level executives who understand the overall financial and strategic benefits you bring to their business.
Step 6: Adjust your product/service portfolio for the market
Sector specificity rules. It may take minor tweaks, or require new offerings and/or capabilities. But a sector specific portfolio will make or break your reputation in the new market.