If you own or run a growing business, finding the time to develop an ideal client profile can be difficult. Your business is already growing so it may not seem important. If you are already successful, but don’t have an ideal client profile, you are wasting time somewhere. Your sales and marketing teams may be getting deals with a shotgun approach of selling to everyone. To get traction and maintain the rate of growth, you have to start talking to someone rather than shouting marketing messages to everyone.

A clearly defined (and evolving) ideal client profile is one cornerstone of a powerful marketing program.

Identifying Ideal Clients for B2B Companies

Many discussions start by stating that ideal clients should be profitable. First, clients should not be clients if they are not profitable in some way. Second, this is only the start. As you start this project, consider the following points:

Which clients are the most profitable?

To stay in business, your company must make money. Now take this a step further. Which companies work best for you? If you are established with a large number of customers, the highest profit with the least investment on your part might be best. On the other hand, if you are just starting out, more investment with higher profits might make sense. If you aren’t sure what makes the most sense for you, you may want to talk to someone who can help you understand your company’s finances.

Who are staff favorites? 

It is not all about the money. If you spend your time working with people who make you miserable, it just might not be worth it. This is not just a staff morale issue. If your staff is unhappy because of the way they are treated, productivity will drop. Staff turnover and thus training costs will increase.

Who do you find the most enjoyable to work with?

Does the company offer a product or service that you are passionate about? If you are interested in their work, you will do better work.

Which customers need additional products & services?

You might make more on the initial sale with one set of companies, but benefit more from a long term relationship with a small subset of customers. You also may want to develop business relationships with both types of companies.

Which customers pay on time or early?

Customers that pay slowly can put you out of business. This is particularly true for smaller businesses.

Now Build a List of 5 to 10 of Your Best Customers

Gather some demographic details about the companies:

  • How big is the company?
  • What industry? Why this industry?
  • What pain points make this industry/size of company a good fit for your services?
  • Who are typical decision makers & influencers at these companies?

Next, find the following about the decision makers:

  • Title/Role
  • Reason for purchase
  • Pain point leading to initial contact
  • Time between initial contact & sale.
  • Questions, objections & concerns during the sales process.
  • Internal obstacles to purchasing.
  • Personal demographics

Once you answer find these details, you will have a much stronger understanding of who you should be talking to and how to reach them. If you are a small business owner, the key to making this work is taking it in steps. Get a basic foundation and then refine when you have time. Good luck!

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