Imagine the sales field as a dart board that you have in your sights. If you throw your dart with any skill, you’ll probably land on the board. But the number you hit will not necessarily be the one you wanted or needed in order to win. It would have been best to pin down the exact score you needed and aim more accurately. By the same token, success in the marketplace means you must know your ideal customer. If you do, you can aim with confidence and close a sale.
Moreover, knowing exactly who is most likely buy your products or services lets your business focus its operations, marketing, sales efforts, and expenditures effectively.
Who Will Be Your Ideal Customer?
An ideal customer is the type of customer who benefits and gets their exact needs met by your products or services. You’ll then spend the least resources, time, and effort attracting them and closing business.
Of course, even with an ideal customer, the sales process doesn’t always go the whole way to closure. But without a considered aim at the right company and person, the sales figures will always be off.
Most ideal customers possess similar qualities to these:
- They have identified a need for your kind of product or service that you can readily address.
- They’re open to your communications, and respond to your nurturing as they move along the funnel.
- They understand and appreciate your value proposition and how you can help solve their problems.
- They see the value of what you offer and are not just shopping for the lowest price.
- They’ll likely recommend you to other prospects.
What is An Ideal Customer Profile?
The ideal customer profile is simply a tool. It’s a representation on paper of who will buy from you. You use the profile to understand and define the perfect client that has the pain points your company is offering to solve. If your business is to grow, it’s essential to single-mindedly find and focus on who your ideal customer is.
This ideal customer initially stems from the type of vertical or horizontal you’re aiming your products or services at. This will obviously involve identifying a number of sub-details, which we’ll look at in a moment. But first we’ll look at why having this tool is important.
Why is This Profile important?
1 An ideal customer profile reveals characteristics that your buyers share.
These will help you when setting strategies to attract your target customers. B2B marketers, for example, can use their ideal customer profiles to create marketing programs that are accurately targeted and likely to produce good leads.
2 As your company grows, it will find many shiny new opportunities you want to grab.
It may seem easy to say yes to them all! But knowing your ideal customer means you confidently can say no to opportunities that will pointlessly drain your resources. In addition, if you have a good sales playbook, you’ll keep your sales reps on target to close the sales they have in hand with “serious” prospects that match your ideal.
3 A buyer’s journey is easily influenced by newly emerging trends.
When your business depends on ensuring customer satisfaction, your ideal customer profile will tell you exactly what you need to adjust to stay on track. You’ll have followed their evolution in the marketplace and either adjusted your profiles or your offering accordingly.
Plan to Identify Your Ideal Customer
There’s a system to this. It’s not ad hoc or based on intuition!
Understand Your Products and Services
Before identifying your ideal customers, you must thoroughly understand what your products/services can do. How do your products provide solutions to people’s challenges and problems? What is your UVP? Who will get most value from your offerings?
Research Your Ideal Customer’s Characteristics
Research the common characteristics and habits that your best current customers share. Brainstorm this at first, then use your ongoing, incoming sales data to refine the information regularly.
Relate This Information to a Target Vertical or Horizontal
Earlier, we referred to an initial broader approach. This now comes into play.
You’ve identified your product or services thoroughly. You know what pain points they solve. You’ve also identified the common characteristics of your best customers. Your target customers will therefore be:
- in a particular industry, trade, or profession (the vertical market), or
- spread across several industries but in a segment of each of those (the horizontal market), or
- in a particular geography that correlates to your sales resources and allows you to serve them well.
Whichever you’re targeting, you also need to then consider within that choice:
- The size of your ideal customer’s business with regard to how many employees they have, their revenue (they need to be able to afford your product!) or similar criteria for your market
- Where they are in the country/world (your operating costs will dictate your range)
- The size of the opportunities you can create (is it worth your marketing and sales efforts otherwise?)
- What their own business goals are (maybe targeting upmarket clients? Is your product suitable?)
- Their pain points (can you honestly meet them, or will theseprospects turn into sleeping prospects?)
- How they make their decisions, and when, in the sales cycle (you have your own cycle to consider and they need to marry)
Build the Profile
With all this information to hand, you can safely assume you now know your ideal customer. You understand the companies or individuals you wish to do business with. And you can therefore record it in your sales playbook and build on it as you grow. It’s not set in concrete.
You Know Your Ideal Customer: What Next?
1 It’s vital to make sure everyone in operations, marketing, and sales is on the same page and understands your targeted ideal customer. Make sure you have a sales process in place that takes advantage of your ideal customer profile. But you still have to put effort, resources, time, and excellent strategies into reaching those ideal customers!
2 Now that you know your ideal customer, do you understand your ideal buyer within those customers? Make sure you identify them and create a Buyer Persona for each buyer role you might encounter during a sales cycle. What are their likely demographics? What’s important to them? What problems are they trying to solve day in and day out? What would make their lives easier?
3 On the plus side, however, in an ever-changing marketplace, you now have two advantages:
- You can confidently use the ideal customer profile and buyer personas when prospecting. It keeps you away from the edge of the dart board!
- You can update the customer profile if and when you test new selling techniques on small segments of your marketplace and find them successful. This is like constantly refining your aim with the dart!
We Can Help
Knowing your ideal customer will be crucial to the success of your whole sales engine. 360 Consulting has worked with over 60 organizations in the last few years to help them fine-tune their sales operation. We’d be delighted to help you reach the next level of business growth.