How To Get Corporate Clients: The Ultimate Guide

How to Target the Best and Most Valuable Corporate Clients for You


Introduction to Winning Corporate Clients

Critical Success Factors for Winning Corporate Clients

How to Target the Best and Most Valuable Corporate Clients for You

4 Powerful Lead Generation Strategies for Corporate Clients

Follow-Up Techniques to Win More Corporate Clients

Selling to Corporates: the Best Approaches for Enrolling Clients

Resources for Winning Corporate Clients

Because winning work with corporates requires you to focus your efforts on a small number of potential clients, it's vital that you target the right organisations and the right individuals within those organisations to invest your time into.
If you're targeting small businesses or individuals you'd normally try to find a profitable niche to focus on.

Focusing on a niche accomplishes two primary tasks:
  1. 1
    It makes it easier to find and reach potential clients in that niche. For example clients in a niche may go to specific conferences or events, read certain magazines, visit certain websites or be identifiable on advertising platforms.
  2. 2
    By focusing on the niche you can tailor your expertise  to offer a better service and they'll feel you're more attuned to their needs and can offer a better solution for their issues.
When you're targeting corporate clients, the first factor is less important. 

Because you'll be focusing on a small handful of potential clients, you'll be able to target them individually. You'll know the specific organisation and the key people in it. And you'll make tailored plans for how to establish contact with them rather than relying on a "one size fits all" approach to a whole niche.

The second factor, however, is still vital. 

By focusing on a specific type of client - perhaps an industry sector or job function or a particular business challenge - you'll be much more in-tune with your potential client's concerns and much better able to communicate clearly and with empathy. 

You'll use the right language. You'll be intimately aware of their goals and challenges. And your potential clients will feel you're better able to use that knowledge and your experience to help them. 

So even if you only target half a dozen potential clients at a time, you'll have more success if you focus on those in a specific niche with a common factor between them.

Identify your "Perfect 10" and "Dream 100"

Once you've identified your target niche, your next step is to draw up lists of potential corporate clients you'll try to win.

You can do this based on your existing knowledge of the market or research on Linkedin, Google, or via industry reports.

I advise starting with a small list of organisations each of which could  be a brilliant client for you - potentially bringing you a large amount of the type of work you love to do. I call this your "Perfect 10".

it doesn't have to be exactly 10 organisations, but it's that order of magnitude because you're going to create a personalised plan to win that client and use "high touch" marketing approaches like  referrals and personal outreach.
Next, create a longer "Dream 100" list of your next best potential clients. These are organisations you'll use more standardised marketing approaches to contact such as direct mail, conference presentations or email.

Credit for the Dream 100 concept goes to Chet Holmes from his book The Ultimate Sales Machine. Well worth a read if you haven't done so already. The Perfect 10 is my enhancement for a smaller number of higher value corporate clients.

Find the Right People to Contact within your Target Client Lists

Starting with your Perfect 10 organisations, research who the right people to contact within those organisations are.

Who are the right people?

Ultimately, you want to be speaking to two groups of people:
  • People in the client organisation who feel the pain of the problems you solve (or whose goals are enabled by the solutions you provide) and so are motivated to want their organisation to hire you.
  • People with the power and financial support to authorise hiring you.
However, these people can be difficult to reach. Either because you don’t know who they are, or they're unwilling to talk to you because you're an unknown quantity.

So initially your best bet may well be to contact someone who won't directly become a client or decision-maker, but who can help you meet those who are.

This might be because you already know them or they're a friend of a friend and will be willing to help you out. Or they may just be the sort of person who's keen to introduce new ideas into their organisation and is open to meeting people who could provide them.

Again, use your existing knowledge, Linkedin, Google or just "asking around" to identify "problem owners", "decision makers" and "coaches" in your Perfect 10 organisations.

Initially your contact base may be very sparse. But as you start talking to people within the client organisation you'll be able to add new contacts to your list - or figure out that perhaps this isn't an ideal client after all. 

Build a Strategic Plan for your Perfect 10

Over time you'll want to build a detailed strategic plan for each of your Perfect 10 potential clients including:
  • A profile of the client's organisation (e.g. size, revenue, products, key locations, structure, management team, etc.) 
  • Your history and relationships with the client (if any)
  •  An analysis of the client's business (customer, competitors, key trends in their markets etc.)
  • An analysis of the client's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Insight into their key priorities and initiatives
  • An assessment of how you can help them - tied to their priorities and/or SWOT
  •  An analysis of key individuals in the client organisation and their role in buying decisions
  • Your goals for working with the client (e.g. target revenue, type of projects, etc.)
  • An action plan of what you're going to do deliver on those goals - including building the key relationships needed to secure sales
Of course, initially you'll largely be working with publicly available information like annual reports, news stories, or what you can glean from asking around. So your plan will have lots of gaps.

Usually your first actions in a plan for a new Perfect 10 prospects are simply to gather information and identify a potential coach you can speak to to get insight and introductions.

Once you've established contact you can refine the plan as you gather more information and build more relationships.

Build a Plan for your Dream 100

For your Dream 100 your plan will be much simpler.

Since each potential client on the Dream 100 list won't have as much potential (at least as far as you know so far) as those on the Perfect 10 list, you won't be making personalised plans for each one.

Instead you'll be planning standardised marketing campaigns you can run to the whole group. For example a direct mail campaign or a request for referrals to anyone you know with contacts in your Dream 100 organisations.

Your first step is to decide which type of campaign to run to make initial contact and we cover a short list of the most effective approaches in the next section on Lead Generation for Corporate Clients.

Once you've decided, you'll need to list who that campaign is going to be focused on.

Usually with a Dream 100 campaign you focus on "problem owners" and "decision makers" rather than trying to find a coach to introduce you to the right people. It's a lower probability approach, but you're hitting 10x as many potential clients as with the Perfect 10 so you're playing the probabilities. 

Next step

Lead Generation for Corporate Clients

Learn which lead generation approaches work best to make initial contact with corporate clients:

  • Authority Research Projects
  • Referrals
  • Presentations and Seminars
  • Direct Mail