This is a guest blog post from our fellow member of the MEP National Network, DVIRC
A SWOT analysis, a common tool for evaluating your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT), is valuable for a variety of strategic efforts: sales and marketing, new product development, growth planning, the list goes on. It can also be a key building block for a Lead Generation effort. Understanding the details of what may help—or hinder—outreach is an important step toward maximizing the former and overcoming the latter.
As a first step, decide who will make up your SWOT development team. You will most likely involve your leadership team, as they will have an overall view of the organization’s goals and limitations.
At the same time, consider involving a few key individuals (perhaps at the department management level) who may have a more nuanced awareness of things like your production abilities, market reach, sales team structure, and other relevant business elements.
Once you have identified the team, make everyone aware of their involvement well in advance. Giving them a chance to spend time considering their individual input will go a long way toward making eventual group discussions more fruitful.
Remember to communicate the Lead Generation goals you hope to achieve with the SWOT development discussion. While you will discuss the elements of the SWOT analysis, your conversations will take place within the context of outreach and sales growth planning. Let’s take a look at the ways the discussion changes when Lead Generation becomes part of the equation.
Identifying your Strengths can be the starting point for developing a new value proposition. Those key talking points—the things that you not only do well but also just might do better than your competitors, the most persuasive arguments you have to convince prospects to give you a shot—are likely to come from a list of your strengths. Consider asking how these strengths set you apart and how to communicate those differentiators. Are there unique aspects to your product offerings that competitors can’t match? Do you have any uncommon capabilities that set you apart? Make sure to include these among your strengths and emphasize them in new messaging.
Gaining an awareness of your Weaknesses will help to avoid organizational gaps that could derail the outreach or follow-up processes. Deciding who not to pursue is almost as important as who you do go after. Are there production or certification limitations that mean you should de-emphasize a given industry? Is your sales representation lacking in a certain geography? Knowing what to avoid can sometimes make it easier to decide which product categories, company types, and locations should find their way onto your prospect list.
Focusing on Opportunities can further help to refine the location, size, industry focus, and other characteristics of the preferred prospects. Are there market trends, industry shakeups, or new product developments that could create fertile ground for growth? Don’t forget to consider your competitors, too. If there are any vulnerabilities among your rivals, your messaging may be able to reinforce your own strengths in contrast.
Keeping an eye on strategic threats will help you stay abreast (or ahead) of the competition, as well as any other market forces that might reduce overall process effectiveness. Workforce concerns, industry consolidation, the emergence or growth of a competitor, disruptive technologies—any of these can introduce headwinds for your Lead Generation efforts. Once you have compiled a list of the external factors that can weigh against you, decide what can be done to address them in the short term, and adjust your outreach accordingly.