Chris Evans

27th October 2020


How to find new customers and growth in the current climate

Finding new customers and ensuring your sales funnel is full of the right prospects is the biggest worry of many companies heading into 2021. Almost half of the business leaders that Plimsoll recently surveyed told us they expect to sell less due to COVID-19.

Of course, there are some industries that have seen a meteoric explosion in demand and have never had it so good. Even in those markets though, competition is likely to heat up and having a well-stocked sales pipeline and a sharp insight on potential sales opportunities will ensure you maximise your share of the market while conditions are good.

The key question is, “how do you find new customers and growth in 2021?”. In these uncertain times, our clients ask this question daily. At Plimsoll, we provide industry and company intelligence across thousands of UK and international markets. We suggest the following actions to maximise your growth heading into the new year:

Identify the strongest companies already in your CRM

Applying the adage that it is easier to sell to current customers than attract new ones, the first place to start a growth plan is to look at your current CRM. These clients already know who you are, what you do and the benefits you offer. However, could you be doing more with them?

Imagine the power of your CRM if you could isolate companies:

  • That are growing in financial strength
  • That are adding more sales
  • That have built up significant cash reserves
  • That are in markets where others are closing in on them

Understanding your current customers and being able to develop offerings to address their pain points is key to increasing sales from them. With finite promotional spend in 2021, why not identify those among your current customers most likely to be looking for growth and ensure your company is the first supplier they think of?

Build lookalike audiences

When you have a identified the characteristics of customers and hot sales leads within your CRM, the next step is to look for others that match that profile. What common traits and characteristics are there among the companies that engage with or buy from you?

Having worked with thousands of companies, over three decades, Plimsoll have found the following common criteria:

  • Sector or industry – do you know every potential sales target in your core markets?
  • Pivot sectors – are there similar targets in other industries?
  • Size – are you selling to the largest or the smallest in a sector?
  • Growth rates – which companies are on a growth plan that you need to get on board?
  • Financial health – are you selling to the strongest or those in trouble?
  • Ownership – do you sell more to independent companies or group businesses?

Plimsoll can help you to build a “lookalike” audience based on any of the above and more. Every penny of marketing spend must be focused on those most likely to become customers. With a full list of every option based on your criteria and customer profile, we can put you ahead of the rest.

Diversify into new industries

One of the features of 2020 has been the ingenuity and innovation of companies looking to eke out whatever they can from what has been a difficult year. We’ve had racing car companies making ventilators and a la carte restaurants turning into takeaways. Some of the businesses that found themselves in difficulty were those exposed to a narrow audience of one market or few customers.

Your strategy for 2021 needs to stand your business in good stead for the rest of the pandemic and beyond. Pivoting to a new market is rarely simple. Unless you are a sizeable busines with very deep pockets, the path can be fraught with challenges. However, disruptors are joining markets all the time.

If diversifying into a new market is part of your growth plan for 2021, then ensure you have answered the following questions:

  • Does the new market you are entering offer enough growth/profit to justify the risk?
  • Are there better, related markets to enter?
  • Who are the major players, and do they have a moat protecting their business?
  • Who are the up and coming companies in the market?
  • Do you buy an existing business in the market or start a brand new one?

A thorough understanding of the state of play in a market you might pivot to and the threats and  opportunities in each should be the initial step in any diversification strategy. Plimsoll can help you to formulate a dossier of intelligence on each potential industry you might target and build a set of alternative strategic options.

Those are the three main ways you can leverage Plimsoll’s intelligence products to help you grow sales amid what is set to be, for many, a prolonged period of uncertainty. Don’t include guesswork and chance in any of your 2021 growth plans. Use a Plimsoll Analysis to help you find the best options.

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