We’ve all done it. We’ve all tried to sell to everyone who might benefit from our product or service.
So what’s wrong with that? It leads to a lot of wasted effort. Sure, they’ll take meetings with you, but close at a much lower rate (if at all). Only 20% of your sales effort is going to create 80% of your sales output. Be mindful of what, or who, that 20% of effort is going after. This is why it is crucial to stick to create an ideal client profile, define your swimlane, and nail your niche.
In this webinar, Rex Biberston and our friend and founding partner of GrowthX, Max Menke, teamed up to discuss how to discover and define your swimlane, nail your niche, and stay in your lane. View the recording here:
Here are a few key takeaways:
- What is your “swimlane”?
Your swimlane is a set of criteria you can use to know whether or not a company is an ideal target to focus on. Have you clearly defined your swimlane? And no, this doesn’t include everyone who will still talk to you just because they could benefit from your product or service. “Everyone” is too broad and won’t close deals.
- Your ideal client profile
Your ideal client profile includes those who are ready to buy from you today. Don’t get distracted by the possibility that’s out there, but rather, who you can talk to right now. Don’t look for Mr. or Mrs. Right, but Mr. and Mrs. Right Now. The first step in building an ideal client profile is to identify all repeatable traits across your best clients. Examine where you can find the most amount of revenue (fastest sales) with the least amount of effort and objections. A common misconception is that an ICP is your industry, however, it’s actually a detailed persona of the individual(s) who wants your product or service and also shares your worldview.
- What happens when you leave your swimlane
As you may have heard, we reference our formula for sales a lot around here: Target + Message + Channel + Timing. Target is crucial because it determines the course of each step after it. Having the right target means being in the right swimlane and talking to the right persona at an ideal company who has a problem you can solve. So, leaving that swimlane can be detrimental because it wastes a lot of time, money, and activity going after those who could use your solution, but most likely won’t buy. Staying in your swimlane doesn’t mean you always have the best conversations. Rather, it’s about having the right conversations. Don’t waste your time on people who you have great conversations with, but ultimately won’t buy.
- When you should leave your swimlane
Unless you are closing deals constantly, your swimlane should have a lean infrastructure. You shouldn’t waste a lot of time and money on a website, decks, lists, etc. for a swimlane that isn’t going to end up working for you. Create multiple ICPs and be willing to quickly adapt. Constantly be innovating. Don’t buy huge lists that end up being filled with targets that are wrong for you (see our post about lists and inaccurate data here). Be intentional with what you test with each conversation. It’s not a failure to leave your current swimlane. If a swimlane and ICP is not working for you, it’s critical to leave it and try a new one. Don’t have a pipeline that’s either feast or famine. Be stable and willing to change.
We’d love to hear if you have any tips on how you have defined your swimlane and if you’ve ever had to leave it. Let us know in the comments below.