How can you target local businesses in the Restaurant or Hospitality industry?
Seeking advice on ways for early stage SaaS technology companies to reach out to businesses in the Restaurant/Retail/Hospitality markets especially when they have a small sales team( 1-2) and are relying on word of mouth referrals to secure new accounts.
Suresh: I am sure that you have already considered this but I would suggest acquiring an e-mail list of targets in the applicable industries and then offering them an opportunity to join a webinar outside of normal peak restaurant/retail/hospitality hours on a topic of interest to your target market. Position the company as an expert in the space. From the webinar you may obtain a list of high quality leads for follow up. You may also gain useful insight from the QA, and lastly you will obtain a recorded version that you can use for additional marketing purposes such as redistributing a link to the original list that chose not to attend for whatever reason to be able to view at their leisure and again establish the company's credibility.
Google Maps is your friend. Get a list of postal codes for the area you wish to target.
Punch in "Postal Code" and "Restaurant".
Put your sales force on the road with Google Maps enabled on their smartphones, with routes plotted in advance. Done.
Go old skool - use the phone book / digital directories / street directories / tourist guidebooks in hotels - check out the biggies and prequalify those establishments who can afford your services and narrow it down from there.
The restaurant and hospitality industries are distinct, with hundreds of moving parts, and if you assume they operate like any other business--you do so at your peril.
Here is an exellent article that will give an idea of the uphill battle you face http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/09/22/how-technology-changing-restaurant-industry/.
A particular challenge: the unique kinds of data that need to be tracked in any kind of inventory and sales POS. Typical product size/color matrix models don't even begin to address the complexities of food and drink and there are only 3 or 4 that really can be integrated with online commerce, rewards, emails, etc.
You will need to consult with an industry pro whose experiences straddle front and back of the house, technology, marketing, POS, etc. if are to really get a handle on the needs of these industries. Food and drink businesses face unique challenges, regulatory constraints, staffing issues, workplace issues, etc. and having someone with industry experience will help you develop strategies that offer realistic and appropriate solutions.
This is not a case of one size fits all. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact my company. We are specialists in process engineering and technology solutions for the hospitality industry.