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SALES PITCH
<
Keeping it
sweet
Hitting the ‘sweet spot’ in business is all about matching
what’s special about your product or service offering with
the exact requirements of your key customers, reports
Kieran O’Daly
n business, we all know how difficult it can be to find a good prove detrimental to winning good business, he says.
I
supplier, someone who can meet your exact requirements “Trying to be all things to all men and spreading yourself too thin
on time, every time without fail. The same is also true of is a common mistake in such instances. The concept of ‘one-size-
finding a good customer. While conventional wisdom may fits-all’ rarely works in the business world as no one company’s
suggest that any paying customer is a good customer, the product or service range will appeal to all customers,” he points
reality is, unfortunately, that this is not always the case. out. “A lot of organisations spend too much time and energy try-
The simple fact is some customers are better than others. They ing to please the wrong customers and serving markets where
are easier to deal with, are less of a drain on resources and, they have little or no chance of ever being the best. They need to
consequently, are more profitable to do business with. The key refocus their resources on better-fit, more profitable customers.
challenge lies in finding those good customers, winning and then They need to identify the key priorities of those customers and
keeping their business by ensuring that your product or service then tailor their service offering accordingly. If they don’t do this,
offering is an exact match for their requirements. When that hap- ultimately they will fail.”
pens, you know you’ve hit the ‘sweet spot’!
According to Paul O’Dea, CEO of Dublin-based strategic devel-
Examples of sweet success
opment consultancy Select Strategies, approximately 80pc of a
O’Dea cites Ryanair as a prime example of a company that applied
company’s overall profit is generally derived from just 20pc of its
the ‘sweet spot’ concept from the outset and achieved major suc-
customer base. “That 20pc is the ‘sweet spot’,” he explains. “They
cess as a result. “Ryanair was able to significantly lower fares by
are the most profitable customers and the ones that the business
stripping away all the frills traditionally associated with air travel. As
should be focusing on to drive future growth. The other 80pc,
a result, it cornered the budget traveller market and then built its
while often vital for maintaining cash flow in these recessionary
service offering around them,” he explains. “Likewise, Superquinn
times, can actually inhibit expansion and prove counter-productive
identified its ‘sweet spot’ at the high end of the grocery market
to the achievement of strategic goals in the long term.”
early on and focused all its resources in that direction by having a
The ‘sweet spot’ concept is relevant to all growth-oriented busi-
wider range of fresh food and value-added products than its com-
nesses, but is particularly important to those looking to establish
petitors. It was a great example of a company identifying its target
themselves in international markets, according to O’Dea. Many
market and then meeting their needs better than anyone else.”
companies tend to get pulled around all over the place, particularly
Another example of a company using the ‘sweet spot’ concept
when they first move into the export sector, and that can actually
to maximum effect is international consumer electronics retailer
Volume 4 Issue 1 2010 Marketing Age 47
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