If you sell scoops of ice cream, nearly anyone—except the lactose intolerant—is a potential customer. But if your company makes fabric for automotive upholstery or a critical part for airplane engines, your list of potential customers is more narrow.
That’s why B2B companies (companies that sell a product or service to another company) take a different approach to building direct marketing mailing lists than B2C businesses (businesses that sell a product or service to individual consumers). Whether you run a B2B or a B2C company, your best bet for finding new business is to look at your current customers. From there, though, the process differs. Here are some points B2B companies should consider as they evaluate their current customers:
Are your current customers in certain geographical areas, and if so, why? Are there other potential customers in those areas, or are there other areas that could be mined for new customers?
Use the North American Industry Classification System, the standard used to classify types of businesses, to determine what types of business you do business with the most. Your customer list can be run against the NAICS so that business types will be appended to your customer list.
The more information you can pack into your database about your current customers, the better. In addition to their NAICS classification, you can add the revenue each customer brings to your company’s bottom line and the number of years it has been a customer.
You can do two things with this bounty of information. One, you can have your direct mail service use the NAICS information to find businesses that are similar to those you already do business with. These similar companies can be added to your direct marketing campaigns.
And, you can develop marketing campaigns that are more targeted. Because you have essentially broken your customers into categories, you can create conversations, in print, online and in person, that speak their business issues. General and generic is out; on-target and topical are in.
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