Building the Ideal Customer Profile
Precise targeting for B2B marketing can’t be overemphasized. Many companies believe they know their targets thoroughly but fail to clearly articulate and document their ideal Customer Profile. While it is tempting to simply go for massive sales lead volume, the truth is that less can be more when the targeting is spot on.
In addition to widening the funnel with the right leads, there are many benefits to building the right Customer Profile. Based on your research you can:
- Align messaging and content to the sales “sweet-spot”
- Choose which programs to pursue or abandon
- Determine priorities and division in the marketing mix
- Develop future strategy
Here are some basic steps in building the right profile:
Who do you want to engage with your messaging and offers? Identify the segments that stand to benefit the most by adopting your solution or using your product. Criteria can include:
- Annual revenue and number of employees
- Industry vertical
- Sales footprint (US, Global)
- Company lifecycle (growing, mature, declining)
- Workforce make-up
- Existing physical/technical infrastructure
- Senior leadership changes
You can pull past reports by industry grouping and size of customer organization (SMB, Enterprise, Revenue strata) and determine the top industries represented in your customer base. You can confirm that the customer size has at least the same statistical relevance to your top three industries and assess which customer size best matches the customers in your top three segments.
This is one step that is often shortchanged. Once you decide whom to target, digging in to the personas helps you understand what will truly resonate with the target. Developing personas helps create stories, messaging and demonstrations that embrace the customer perspective.
Here is an excellent list to use as a guide in developing personas: http://www.slideshare.net/heinzmarketing/b2b-customer-profile-sample-questions
Additional considerations in persona research include:
- Social media analysis of the buyers
- Talking in-depth with sales about their best customers
- Interviewing buyers and potential buyers in the chosen segments
Here is a link to Forrester’s Social Technographics which profiles customer social computing behaviors and creates a profile for a demographic group: http://empowered.forrester.com/tool_consumer.html
The time and effort spent researching and evaluating data before developing your messaging is going to bring greater returns in the long run.