Focusing your energy and marketing dollars on finding customers most likely to be star performers will develop your business faster than trying to get attention indiscriminately. Being able to identify your ideal customer will improve your results, whether you have an established business or are launching a startup.
Finding your ideal customer when you have an established business
Use your CRM system to identify the existing customers with which you have success. What characteristics do they share? Are they in the same industry? What about the sizes of those companies — are they small in terms of their size and revenue, or are they large? Do they have a common pain point or problem that you solve?
All of these questions are a great start, but don’t stop there. Get out of your office and go visit them in the place where they are using what they buy from you. Observe. Ask open-ended questions. Get to know what drives them, and what drives them nuts.
What benefit are you delivering to them, from their perspective, not yours? With this understanding, you can set about finding more like them. Hint: Referrals from existing happy customers will bring you more warm prospects.
If your business is just starting out…
If your business is still fairly new, You won’t (yet) have much data about who responds well to what you’re offering. You’ll need to approach your analysis like a scientist, says John Jantsch of Duct-Tape Marketing. First, hypothesize your initial value proposition. Why are you and your product or service the best to meet the needs of the customers you think you want to reach?
Next, test your hypothesis. Get out of the office and go where likely customers are. They don’t know you yet, so you may have to be creative. Is there a professional association or networking event where they gather? Make connections there. Perhaps you can survey people who take you up on an offer of a free sample or consultation.
Now, sort responses to get insights into who likes what you have and why. Depending on what you learn, design or modify your business model components and strategy, always keeping the focus on your customer. “You must always stay in test and refine mode in order to move forward,” says Jantsch.
In either one of these scenarios, your research should reveal your ideal customers. Now it’s time to sketch out a customer persona. There actually may be more than one ideal customer, and if that’s the case, you should create a persona for each one. Include demographic information, business type, professional and personal life priorities, pain points, and any other details that help you and your team understand these very important people to your business.
By focusing your sales and marketing messages on your most ideal customers, you’ll not only make more profit — you’ll also enjoy developing relationships with them, and they will become your biggest ambassadors.