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  • Writer's pictureAntonio Scatena

Acquire New Sales by Identifying Vertical Markets

New year, new you.

In the world of contract laboratory testing in the pharmaceutical industry, the new year always brings the hope of more clients, more revenue, and the opportunity to fix the mistakes of prior years. So, as the previous year drew to a close, sales teams in our industry recouped, regrouped, and began planning the next assault to reach new sales highs.

For the coming year, let me suggest an alternate way to develop your new business acquisition strategy: identify your vertical markets.

New Business Acquisition Begins with Identifying Vertical Markets

Identifying the verticals in your company’s market gets you crystal clear about your most ideal clients. The second benefit is that you inherently reframe your selling position to a proactive sales effort to pursue ideal clients.

The goal is to discover the commonalities between your current and past clients, especially your very best clients. Since this work aims to increase new business from new accounts in the coming year, your best strategy is to replicate success. Therefore, every new year’s sales goals and plan should include reviewing last year’s clients and contracted services.

Expert tip: if this is your first time identifying vertical markets for your territory or your sales team, go back at least three years.

How to Identify Your Vertical Markets

Here’s how to get started determining the vertical markets your laboratory serves. Included are a few questions to ask yourself as you begin the work.

1. Make a list of your current clients by going back through the previous year.

  • Do you have a historical record of clients or projects?

  • Who can provide you with the list of invoices or a project tracking sheet which displays revenue billings?

2. Find commonalities and shared characteristics.

  • What industries do your clients represent?

    • Are they in the pharmaceutical space, or are some considered biotechnology, research, chemical, or medical device?

  • What types of drugs or therapies do they develop or manufacture?

    • Examples could be cell & gene therapy, vaccines, mAbs, etc.

  • What is the size of their company?

  • Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator or your subscribed data analytics tool to determine:

    • Number of employees

    • Annual revenue

    • Clinical trial phase(s)

  • What was the initial reason they contacted you? Were they desperate or in trouble? Or was this to support a long-term study?

3. Consolidate your list and analyze the data.

  • What common characteristics did you find between your best clients?

  • What characteristics did you find about clients who aren’t so great for your business?

Robust Profiling for Hunting New Clients

You now have a clearer view of your current (and very best) clients. For some, this may be the first time you dedicated time to understand who your clients are – way to go!

Use the data you developed as a profile to target new prospective clients. Next, find other companies in the same space as your best clients. Use LinkedIn, your data analytics tools, and industry association membership directories as your first means to find these companies. Look at online industry publications as well.

Expert tip: one of the very best places to start is looking at your clients’ competition – which companies compete in the same space as them? If your company helped your client, your company could undoubtedly help their competition.

Embrace the Thrill of New Business Acquisition

New business acquisition is one of the most exciting parts of sales. Look to maximize your success by replicating success. Find and attract more ideal clients by understanding what makes your clients ideal for you and your contract testing laboratory.

I wish the best of luck to you on your journey to enriching your sales pipeline with more new sales in 2022.

Antonio Scatena is the President of Outlook Consulting and helps leaders of pharmaceutical testing laboratories to increase sales and achieve double-digit growth.

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