Methods to Develop a Stakeholder Bull’s Eye

Last week I wrote a post entitled, “Benefits of the Bull’s Eye Stakeholder Discipline” in which I outline the benefits of a Bull’s Eye stakeholder (customer, investor, vendor, etc.) In this post, I want to document some methods to develop a bull’s eye definition.

There are a minimum of three criteria. This uses the same mental model as the brand triangle and my joke, “it takes 3 points to draw a curve” logic. It takes 3 points to draw an area. Use that mental model to draw a bull’s eye. You can add more points to make the circle smoother, but start with 3. It’s really unnatural to use 3 and you’ll quit if the area is too tight at the beginning. But use it.

If you are a B2B sales company you might want one of your criteria to be your business customer’s size. How many employees do they have? How many layers in their org chart? This effects their perspective of the world and influences your sales methodology.

If your B2B sales company you need an easily identifiable trait that your sales team can spot from a mile away. I’ve always liked external proxies, often associated with things they own that signal to others, “I value this sort of thing.” For farmers, we like the “planter geek” at AgVenture. If we find a no-employee (point 1 of our bull’s eye) farmer who is a planter geek (point 2) then his types of problems often fit within our solution set.

If your B2B sales company has salesmen that drive to the customer and are influenced by good experiences with their neighbors then proximity and work density matter. In most of our businesses, density matters a lot. So, I like to add in distance from existing customers. This isn’t always true in all businesses, but there is often a spatial aspect with the way we relate to others. It’s almost inescapable. So, use it!

Between these 3 criteria we can quickly identify the boundaries of our bull’s eye and have something to aim at that is a great experience for the customer, our salesmen and our ownership. It just works.

Next tip: go through your existing customer list and label them. Do they fit within the bull’s eye? Or not? Are they off on one variable but the other two variables fit? Okay then, mark them as a one-degree’r. Try to label every customer. Work with the people most engaged with that customer. Move quickly. Get some labels on them. Update the labels as circumstances change in their world.

For us, a one degree from bull’s eye is a sort of accidental sale. They’re not a perfect fit, but they’re profitable for both sides most of the time if the variable that is off, is only off just a little. In the above example, maybe they have employees but are otherwise ideal. That can work. But, the one-degree prospect does not get the same focused attention as the bull’s eye prospect. Why? They’re not perfect. They may leave us for a competitor and not translate into as high of a lifetime value as the bull’s eye customer. There is a higher probability they do not purchase at all. If they do purchase they are very likely to be neutral to only slightly happy but they’re not thrilled evangelists. We want thrilled customers because thrilled customers say positive things which makes our job easier in finding other winnable situations.

If you have two degree’s off, or more, then consider transitioning existing customers out proactively. Help them find better solutions. Do this proactively. Then, when you are prospecting, eliminate all effort on misfits. Don’t go there. Divert your saved efforts to the focal point, where you win more easily. Concentrate and smash the situations that work well for everyone. Winning begets more winning.

The labeled report can help the team see the fit/misfit situations faster and build action plans about their individual path forward. The language also helps refocus everyone with just a few key variables. If you have too many variables then the odds of getting outside the boundary becomes higher. Of course, sometimes you start with 3 and move to 4 variables. Maybe then, you add 5 variables. The goal is not 100’s of variables and a perfect circle. The purpose is to be clearly inside your focus. If it’s fringe, spend less effort on it. Better to center your focus.

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