The pressure is on. You’ve been tasked with building top of funnel sales prospects to increase conversion rates and make your managers proud. But cramming just about everyone into your sales pipeline will get you nowhere (and possibly fired).
The broader your audience, the more time you’ll end up wasting in the long run. You need to work smart, and to do that you’ll want to create an ideal customer profile (ICP). With a well-defined profile, you can tailor your marketing approach, nab highly profitable clients and exponentially grow your business.
To quote the New York Times best-selling author, Ramit Sethi:
‘The fundamentals of learning what people want, seeing exactly where you can help them, and then telling the right people about it are classic strategies that worked 1,000 years ago and will work 1,000 years from now.’
That said, here are three essential tactics to create your ideal customer profile so you can ‘tell the right people’ and drastically increase your chances of successful sales.
1. Use existing data to find your best customers
An ICP is a representation of your ideal client based on historical data and thorough research. So what is it you’re looking for, exactly? In a nutshell, you want a client who hits the following sweet spots:
- They have a problem you can solve
- They’re willing to take action to solve that problem
- They have the means to purchase your solution
- They have the potential to become advocates for your company
If you already have a customer base, poke your colleagues for insider info and use Google Analytics, social media insights, email open rates, and your CRM to identify the ten best customers for your business. Which customers have resulted in the highest conversion rates? Which ones opened the most emails? Which customers have reported the most value?
Now take those top customers and put them into a spreadsheet. You can whittle them down to the dreamiest clients by grading them based on what’s important to you. Like how easy they are to work with, how much profit they generated, if they refer you to others, how timely they are with payments, etc.
2. Conduct (non-salesy) surveys and interviews
Whether you have a list of ideal customers or not, surveys and interviews are unbeatable ways to get to know your existing customers better or identify new ones within your preferred market.
In either case, the key is not to be salesy. Make it a friendly conversation (with some compensation, if you can). Here are some things you’ll want to ask them about:
- What is your position within the company?
- What are your main challenges or pain points?
- What has stopped you from purchasing similar solutions?
- What is stopping you from purchasing our solution?
- What does your organisation prioritise the most (value, cost, innovation)?
Make sure to include personal questions so you can truly get inside their heads. Not only will this help you tailor your customer profile better, but you can also sneak that info into your sales copy and marketing materials. It’s a known fact that personalisation is the key to effective marketing. So be nosey.
3. Identify common attributes
This is the basis of your ideal customer profile. Once you have your list of best customers, it’s time to do some pattern finding and jot down what they have in common. There are different stages to this:
Demographic: This involves the basic characteristics of your ideal customer. Such as size, location, industry, technologies used, funding, etc. A decent CRM or automated sales prospect tool can dig up this information for you.
Psychographic: This is a powerful source of information about your ideal customer that can also guide your marketing materials so they ‘hit home’. What does a day in their life look like? What blogs do they read? Do they live on Twitter or are they more of an Instagram person? You can pull this insider’s info with surveys/interviews or by manually scanning their social media (if you have the time).
Behavioural: The behavioural analysis of your ideal client focuses on how they respond to your marketing efforts. What types of emails do they open, what type of prompt results in a sale, how do they use your product/service, do they prefer to communicate via email or chat, etc. You can weave this info into your future marketing strategies and watch the conversions roll in.
With all this, your ideal customer profile is basically done. All that’s left to do now is organise it into a spreadsheet, table, infographic, or a one-page customer story. There’s no right way to present it, so just go with what is easier to read.
Bonus: Use an automated B2B sales prospect tool to find your ideal customers in minutes
With your trusty ICP in hand, you can now use it to find a list of suitable prospects and begin moving them down the funnel. There are plenty of manual ways to find them, but you probably don’t want to spend the next six hours scrolling through LinkedIn and pasting names into a spreadsheet.
Instead, use an automated sales prospect tool to knock hours of time and effort off your schedule and get you a comprehensive list of customers with everything from their contact details to their online interests.
If that all sounds just swell, you’re going to love this next bit. You can actually generate this list using Triggr. All you have to do is type in your metrics and Triggr will delight your tired brain with an entire list of sales prospects. You can also set up notifications for when a potential customer’s situation changes.
To make life even easier for you, Triggr was nice enough to include a ‘smart prospects search’ where you answer a handful of questions and it will come back with a spreadsheet full of potential target customers. How’s that for smart software?