top of page

How to Write a Plan for Conquering a Target Market Segment

“The fundamental rule of engagement is that any force can defeat any other force – if it can define the battle.”

Geoffrey A. Moore, Crossing the Chasm

To conquer a market segment against the competitive resistance from Incumbents requires a multi-year plan defining the current state, the target, the strategy, resources, risks, and obstacles.

The plan is developed by the single-threaded team which owns the portfolio of target customers within the market segment asigned by management. Every single team member must have a chance to voice disagreement with the plan but ultimately commit to it.

The plan also defines contributions from outside the team, e.g., demand generation, marketing, support. The respective owners must read the plan and commit to providing the contribution. In case they can’t the impact on the plan must be specified and documented as a risk.

The strategy must name the number of sales campaigns the team will execute during the next 12 months and their desired quantifiable outcomes in form of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs must be measured and reported via dashboards for review by the team, management, and contributing instances.

The planning horizon should be three years. The plan must be updated and approved once a year. Our experience shows that it is beneficial to split this into two steps: one for brainstorming and an assessment of the fundamental assumptions underlying the plan, another one for the definition of concrete targets and activities in sync with the targets communicated by sales management.

The plan also must define the common purpose and the tenets of the team functioning as guard rails for day-to-day operations for team members. This way communication overhead is minimized, team members clearly understand the expected behavior, and can act autonomously.

I provide a template for a narrative-style Portfolio Plan here which also includes an example plan. The plan must stand on its own so it holds all information required to understand and validate it.

While the plan is limited to six pages with no graphics it is allowed to contain additional information in appendices. The aim is to enable readers to digest the plan within less than 30 minutes in a self-service fashion, so the team is freed from having to perform repeated briefing sessions for colleagues outside the team getting involved.

For large customers Portfolio Plans must be complemented by Account Plans providing customer-specific information, targets and strategies.

100 views0 comments


bottom of page