In the B2B world, an ideal customer profile is a description of the best sort of companies to which you sell.
Using the word “profiling” scares me. It always sounds so negative. I don’t know how to use it without suggesting the downside of stereotyping. And, stereotyping always suggests labeling a group based on one.
An ideal customer profile is the prospect description you would put in front of new hires. The profile represents the sort of company you want to list and mine as prospects.
Ideal customer profile – How to Increase Sales with Customer Profiling?
Step #1 – Measure your ideal customers
An ideal customer profile should be verifiable. Verifiable data like location, income, age, and other demographics support B2B profiles worth banking on. You can notch that research up with information on business size, purchasing budget, and industry sector. On another level, Amazon, Google, and Facebook want these same demographics from your purchasing patterns. Don’t like the term “profiling?” Think database!
Step #2 – Look into the past
An ideal customer profile, of course, is one who has bought from you in the past. You need to measure that success against the picture you have drawn from the demographics. You need to learn to look for more than the buy decision. You need to look at the length of the decision, the detail needed, the presentation required, and so on. Such detail shades in the outline sketch your demographics provided.
Step #3 – Follow the money
With experience, you learn that profitability counts more than raw sales numbers. It’s not the count that counts; it is the profit margin. So, any look at a customer should occur in the context of money spent. Financial reports are part of any profile if you want to identify those customers who are ideal because of their profitability. Your time is better spent on fewer, more profitable prospects.
Step #4 – Name your friends
An ideal customer is one with whom you enjoy doing business. In a B2B sales world, you will build relationships over time. These relationships are people who buy with some regularity and few complaints. They are “go-to” customers, but even they will not buy if they are not in need. But, they will provide referrals and leads. And, those leads are likely to be customers like themselves.
Step #5 – Maintain the profile
Ideal customer profile is only as good as its currency. For example, it is in the nature of demographics that they will change. Any profile is an aggregate, so it changes with each purchase. You need to keep the data current and the picture fleshed out with evolving detail. There are templates and spreadsheets to facilitate this. But, this is what builds your “book” of business.
A profile is not a persona
This much is practical and quantifiable. But, the artistry in B2B sales comes from identifying the customer personas. Personas are not so easily measured or addressed. A customer persona is the total of psychological motivation, behavior patterns, and personal goals.
One final tip is the advice to collect quotations. As you build relationships and work your customer retention management system, try to record and treasure remarks your customer has made about your sales, product, or customer service. Treasure it and use it to build business. Build your ideal customer profile.
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