In traditional marketing plans, your company sends messages/invitations into the market and gathers “leads”–prospective customers who respond. Marketing hands off the leads to sales, the team responsible for converting leads into customers.
Whale Hunting is totally different. You select the ideal customers for you, research those customers and watch their behavior, then make your initial contact at a time that seems just right. You will chase fewer deals and bigger deals. You will invest more resources into the hunts that you launch, and your close rate will soar.
This business development method relies on what we call the Whale Chart, the list of prospective whale-sized customers that you have identified for the next period of time–say six months or one year.
Your Whale Chart is the culmination of the initial Scouting process. You’ve identified your criteria (Target Filter), found companies that match some of the criteria, made dossiers on those companies, scored them against your Target Filter, and came up with a list of the best ones for you. That’s your Whale Chart.
It sounds like work, doesn’t it. And it is work. But it’s not the work of the executive team or the sales team. It’s the work of the scouts (whether in-house or outsourced), and once you’ve completed the initial effort, it does not require too much time to keep it going. And you will position yourself far, far ahead of your competitors when it comes to your knowledge of the whale and your initial understanding of their business issues and opportunities.
Have you created a Whale Chart? If not, how do you decide which prospects to hunt?