The first time I heard the term vertical marketing sales, I thought, ‘What?’, but then realized the term was self-explanatory. It means channelling my sales efforts to one industry or business type. Rather than the shot-gun blast approach many use in sales, i.e. I can sell my product/services to anyone.
This makes sense to me for a variety of reasons, but probably because of the fact that back in my real estate sales days, we we all knew realtors who “farmed” territories or geographical areas. I also worked with others who successfully “specialized” in areas such as new home sales, first time home buyers, corporate relocations, etc. These are examples of vertical marketing, so I get that.
Olin Thompson, Process ERP Partners, states in his article for SalesVantage.Com, that “Too many vendors define their markets relative to how they think, not relative to how the target customers think.” I’d have to agree, since I had fallen into that trap myself. I hadn’t realized I’d done it, but slowly came to the realization that I needed to fine tune my approach; take it from generic to targeted, and narrow down my scope of markets. It’s much easier to learn and understand the needs and demands of a particular vertical market and tailor your product or services to that niche than try to understand the needs of many.
The Huston Chronicle’s article by Sean Mullin, Demand Media, states “Companies investigating their competitors in the industry are more likely to purchase your services if their competitors do.” This isn’t news or rocket science to those in the sales and marketing industry. In a similar vein is the reason why large retail stores and eateries tend to cluster together. They leverage the fact that people like to go where others do (the herd mentality), it’s convenient and easy to get to and park while they shop. The same is true of companies and industries looking to hire marketing and advertising firms. It’s kind of like follow the leader. Getting that foot in the door is the biggest obstacle, but once you’ve gained their loyalty and gratitude for a successful project, they are more likely to endorse your product/service to others in their field.
The next key is in shouting the good news to the world to let them know of your client’s positive feelings immediately after the sale or completion of the project. Post reviews and recommendations on your website, Twitter it, FaceBook it, whatever, but get the message out there that you’ve done a great job for one company or industry, and let everyone know about it. Ask for a written letter or even short paragraph of recommendation from your clients who are happy with your work, but don’t forget to ask for permission to post those recommendations publicly. If they want to keep their name off the public recommendation, ask if you can still use their words, but refrain from identifying them (i.e. “Great job. I’d highly recommend using ABC Company. John Doe, Manager, XYZ Company”). This way you still get to toot your own horn, but not risk client confidentiality.
In vertical marketing, you become the expert in how your particular product or service can solve the problems inherent in your prospect’s business or industry. Remember, it’s all about the client and their needs, not the product and sale.