Are your product, sales, and marketing teams aiming at different targets?


I have a theory about golf (since we’re on the subject). The more golf you play, the less likely you are to hit a hole-in-one. The golf gods have a cruel way of gifting a hole-in-one to first-timers while veterans spend their entire lives waiting for the elusive ace.

I’ve played golf for more than 30 years and have never had a hole-in-one. At least not officially. Once, in tournament play, I snapped hooked a drive which sent my ball over the adjacent fairway. My ball landed on the wrong green (which was occupied by another foursome) and dropped into the hole. Adding insult to injury, I held up play while the rules official instructed me on how to play a ball from the wrong hole. I bought drinks that day.

Something equally as embarrassing and far more common is how sales, marketing, and product often shoot at the wrong target. It happens in almost every company. 

It’s hard to hit the bullseye when you’re aiming at multiple targets
  • Marketing targets an overly generic “persona."
  • SDRs target the most readily available lists such as recent fundraisings and "pageant" lists.
  • Account executives target accounts where they can get warm introductions or hear about related RFPs.
  • Product builds based on the most vocal (and highest paying) customers and design partners.  

In isolation, none of these may be wrong. But in aggregate they are suboptimal. To use another sports analogy: your teams are in the same crew boat, but are rowing in different directions.

Bullseye Targeting Framework

Here is a simple targeting framework that can get everyone rowing in unison. I call it the Bullseye. Thanks to my sales colleague, Rob Tomchick, for coming up with the graphic.

The Bullseye is a target which is partitioned by buyer attributes including:

  • industry
  • company size
  • geography
  • buyer role
  • use case
  • psychographics
  • pain points

The attributes should be adapted to what is most relevant for your business.

Representatives from sales, product, marketing, and ops should work collaboratively to fill out the Bullseye. Participants should come to the discussion with historical data and anecdotal evidence. Below is a hypothetical (and oversimplified) example of a Bullseye:


In the center of the target is the Bullseye. These are buyers/accounts that are right in your company's sweet spot. All your outbound sales and marketing efforts should be focused on these targets. These represent great deals with a high probability of delivering mutual value.

Inbound only:
The next ring is Inbound. Accounts that exhibit these attributes aren't as good of a fit as those in the Bull's Eye but are still worth considering if they come inbound. If these accounts come inbound your teams will do additional qualification before committing to the deal. Sales may need to manage expectations and product may need to assess if the product requirements align with the strategic roadmap. The key is to not invest expensive outbound resources on these accounts.

The outer ring is arguably the most important. These are the targets you want to avoid because:

  1. they have requirements that your product doesn’t currently satisfy
  2. the cost of sale and service may make them unattractive for your business
  3. they may force you in a direction that is inconsistent with your strategy

For this audience you’ll want to find a graceful way of saying “our product isn’t for you.”

Have a sneaking suspicion that your teams aren't targeting the right accounts? Try the Bullseye. The resulting artifact can be incorporated into your new hire on-boarding, continuing education programs, and CRM.