Are you focusing your sales and marketing resources on the right companies? To be able to answer yes, you need to define your ideal customer profile. It is among the most important things to do to maximize the relevance of your marketing and the results of your sales efforts.
What is an ideal customer profile?
An ideal customer profile is a description of a fictitious account which gets significant value from your product or service, and provides significant value to your company.
Building a successful sales organization is not just about having your new business team close large deals. A detailed ideal customer profile will help you maximize your sales and get satisfied customers that will stay with you for a long time, increasing the lifetime value (LTV). You can upsell and cross-sell to them, and they can function as enthusiastic champions of your brand.
It’s not just about finding customers; it’s about finding the right ones.
As with most things worth having, it’s a bit challenging to define an ideal customer profile. You need to do a thorough examination of your happiest customers, to take a look at their current and past characteristics and actions. At the same time, you have to carefully map your sales and marketing actions accordingly, and continue to tweak these every so often.
There’s no universal definition of an ideal customer profile - not for any company!
There’s no universal definition of an ideal customer profile, not for any company. The customer that fits your company like a glove today might not be ideal for your business tomorrow. Between every 6th and 9th month you should evaluate if the company profile you’ve chosen as ideal still looks the same or if you have to tweak the description.
What company features that are most important for you to include in your ideal customer profile depends a lot on what you're offering. For instance, if you’re selling a technical solution, a company’s tech stack could reveal a lot about how ready a company is to buy. Or if you’re selling transportation services, then you’d probably include buying signals: a company having won a large contract, for example.
Tips for a top-notch Ideal customer profile
1. Look at your happiest existing customers
You don’t fabricate an ideal customer profile out of thin air – look at your ten happiest customers and find common attributes like revenue, number of employees, type of business, web technologies in use, geography or buying signals that occurred right before they became your customers.
If you were to base your customer profile on your gut feeling it could easily contain many errors. In one of our previous blog posts “Unlock the power of open data in lead generation and lead scoring” we shared a story from McKinsey and Company's recent blog post, where they mentioned an IT services company that used big data analytics "to predict which leads were most likely to close and found that established companies were better prospects than the start-ups it had been focusing on. Focusing its attention on established companies raised its overall lead-conversion rate by 30 percent."
Import your customer list to Vainu and find out their common characteristics. For example, see how many companies use HubSpot, have increased their revenue by more than 40% previous year or that are frequently recruiting.
2. Prioritize customers that will stay with you
Don’t sell to someone who you believe has no success potential in using your product or service. While it may sound obvious, too often the immediate sell is just so very tempting that this rule of thumb is forgotten. A poorly satisfied customer takes a lot of time from your customer success team and might end up costing your company more than it pays.
Find out what gives away a customer with great estimated Life Time Value. Your customer success management system should have the data. What’s significant for the companies that you’ve been able to upsell and/or cross-sell to?
3. Find ready, willing and able customers
No matter how great of a match your service is for a specific company, these three criteria have to be filled in order for you to spend time on this account now:
- An ideal customer should be ready to buy what you sell; the decision makers have to understand that they have a problem or an opportunity and that you can help them solve it or seize it.
- An ideal customer has to want to make a change and be ready to invest both money and time into getting up to speed with your product.
- An ideal customer has to be able to buy what you sell now. They have to have the money and support from the right decision makers to give you a positive answer.
Once you’ve defined your ideal customer profile, you should start looking at improving the way your sales, marketing and development teams process companies matching this profile. Your ideal customer profile should dictate how you improve the product or service you offer, the wording your sales and marketing teams use towards prospects and customers and how, when and where you try to reach them.
You should have plenty of internal data, giving you clues about what types of messages have worked in the past and from which channels your best customers have found your brand.
Use the data your technical tools have collected and have your customer success team conduct short interviews with your best customers. Ask them how they found your business, what made them choose to work with you and why they continue to work with your company.
Want more tips?
Vainu not only helps you find quality leads matching your ideal customer profile once you’ve determined it. By uploading a list of your existing customers to Vainu, the software (especially our analytics tool Vainu Analyzer) can easily support you with detailed information about your existing customers and common features amongst them.
Curious to know more? Our product specialists are happy to give you a tour of the tool and share tips on how to benefit from the vast amount of information within open, public and predictive data.