When we receive an assignment to create a list of potential clients in the Netherlands then we first ask our client to describe their ideal client. What is the type of client that you want us to clone. Surely the clients who have paid the most money would be in the top 20. If the cooperation went well then this client would be in the top 10. A top 5 client has used all your products and services and has enabled your company to do more than the “standard thing”. And above all stands the client that is actively promoting you and is a source for new clients. But this profile description doesn’t exactly enable us to create a list of similar clients in the Netherlands.
What we really need to know is why this ideal client has invested so much in your company. They must have a lot of confidence that your company will fix their problem, or that the service or product that you deliver fits their needs. These clients believe you understand their problem very well, and they know what it is your company is good at. If you don’t know what it is, just ask them.
Industries and sub-industries
If you have defined which problem it is, that you understand so well, than you can find the industries that have a similar problem. But pay attention here. Industries or sectors of the economy are very large classes containing a lot of companies. A list of potential clients will still be very large and lagging focus, if we stay at the industry level. It is needed to zoom in to the level of sub-industries. If you do not know which subindustries have a similar problem, then from a marketing perspective it would be wise to invest time in this. We can help with this as well. If you have defined the subindustries then open Excel and put the industries on one axe.
Products and services
Most likely all company have a description of the products and services they can deliver. This list can be used and added to the Excel file on the other axe.
When a company is in its early years it is often needed to accept every opportunity that comes by. In this stage multiple products and services are created and clients in multiple industries are serviced. Many older companies still use this heritage. Their company websites tells us that they are active in the industries: A,B,C and that they deliver the solutions 1, 2 and 3. This creates the impression that all the solutions provided will work in all industries. But there are only a few subindustry-product combinations that work really well. These combinations are the thriving force of the company. Other combinations are more likely to be upsell and would diminish if the thriving combinations would vanish. We need to know what the thriving combinations are. You can use the Excel file to see the combinations. Use multiple numbers to prioritize the importance of each combination. Even known “do not go there” areas can be defined.
Based on the thriving combinations we create a list of potential clients. This list is limited and that makes the list do-able. It can be created in a shorter time making it inexpensive. When the list is finished it is possible to contact all these clients within some months or weeks (depending on the hired capacity). The focus will result in more clarity regarding the specific subindustry, the solution and the difference with the market in the Netherlands. When the list is completed we can move on to the next thriving combination. We can decide to bail out, or to continue in the same subindustry with a new product, or with the same product in a new subindustry, or with a new subindustry-product combination. The Matrix and the experience with the completed list will help to decide.