Sales is an evolving field; it probably feels like you're constantly getting advice on the most effective way to connect with buyers and meet your sales goals.
Easy access to information through internet search and social media means buyers are more informed than they've ever been before; they come to the table ready to make an educated purchasing decision. They're not just throwing darts at a list of companies that carry the product they need— they've narrowed their options down based on a specific set of parameters.
But what about you? Do you have a set of parameters that defines what makes an ideal customer? Are you wasting your time (and the customer's) by trying to win business that isn't a good fit for you? If so, it's time for you to take a close look at your customer base.
In this post we're focusing on the first step of identifying your ideal customer. This step is pretty crucial because it helps your marketing team know how to market to the right people, and it helps your sales team down the line, as well.
Define Your Buyer Persona
Here at SpinWeb, we've made defining our buyer persona a priority. It allows us to personalize the sales process for our empowered buyer, and we can cut loose the people who simply aren't a good fit.
With HubSpot Sales tools, you can get help in identifying your buyer persona(s). Remember, you must get as detailed in your descriptions as you can. Industry, company size, revenue, role, title, and behaviors—all this can and will provide very useful information to you and your sales staff throughout the sales cycle. See below for an example of one of SpinWeb's buyer personas on HubSpot.
We looked at our current client list, and focused on the clients that were pleasant to work with, who understood our process and our products, and who had worked with other agencies before and were looking for a change. We took these traits, and used them to compile a dossier of our ideal customers.
Discuss Their Goals
From there, we focused on the goals of these preferred clients. For example, do they want to increase their company's awareness or outreach? Are they interested in expanding their sales pipeline, or the number of people who are signed up for their blogs or email lists? We carefully sifted through their questions, comments, and concerns, and thought about how our product could solve these issues.
This knowledge will allow you to determine whether or not you're a fit for the client; if their goals are not congruent with your product or your company's culture and philosophy, perhaps it's best if you don't work together. You can make a recommendation that will better suit them, and focus on a customer that better suits what you've got to offer.
Money Changes Everything
We looked at budgets that we'd like to work with, and we decided as a team that in order for a company to be able to utilize our services, they'd need a designated marketing team of no fewer than two individuals, and a supported budget for marketing. We also need our ideal company to have realistic expectations for when our efforts would begin to show benefits.
You don't want to pursue business that can't afford to hire you; it's a bummer for both parties. They're sad that they can't utilize your services, and you wish you'd spent your time pursuing someone who could pay you.
Choose Your Own Adventure
As we examined our ideal clients, we realized that we really enjoyed (and thrived) working with certain industries: financial services, non-profits, government, professional services, manufacturing, and healthcare. Not to say that we would turn down a client from another industry, but we chose to focus on these specific needs and interests.
Look at your client list and pick your favorites; it's possible that there's a pattern. If you find it easier to connect with clients in certain industries, redouble your efforts in that quadrant. When you're genuinely engaged, your clients feel it.
What's in this for you? Our salespeople no longer have to guess whether or not someone is a good fit for SpinWeb. If they don't meet certain criteria, we can move on to someone who does.
If a client isn't sure about their budget or goals, we can help them define their needs, providing research and information that can shape their plans for the future. It's easy to tailor emails, phone conversations, and blog content to the different points in the sales process, sending information as needed.
People sincerely want to interact with other people, and this kind of personalization is priceless. Customers don't want to feel that they've just been sent another generic email—if you can speak directly to their needs, imagine what a great impression that will leave.