Archive | Customer Profiles

Matrix Section – Ideal Customer Personas

Your Ideal Customer – start with the end in mind

Wurlwind Social Selling - Ideal Customer At the end of the month, quarter or year we’d all prefer to have several new customers or clients who match the profile for our ideal customer. This is much better for business than a rag-back of misfits, wouldn’t you agree?

  • Who are your best customers now?
  • What characteristics do they share?
  • What does your Ideal Customer look like?

When you’ve worked out who you want to target you can be really focused in the way you use LinkedIn to find, contact and create sales relationships.  

Before you spend time searching LinkedIn, building lists, joining groups, creating content, updating your company page or personal profile – STOP!

Read and follow the tips below, to save yourself a stack of time later on, and the frustration that comes from poor results.

Quick start tips

With access to 467m people on LinkedIn the world is your oyster, literally. So what characteristics do your best or ideal customers share?

  • What is the job title of the decision-maker, and if someone else does the initial research or is involved in the decision what is/are their job title(s)?
  • Identify what industry sectors, locations and sizes of companies you are targeting
  • Are there specific interests they share, such as use of a specific product, (eg. Microsoft, Google, SAP or equivalent in your field)

Rather than lump multiple types into a group try to separate them into discrete audiences, then research further, evaluate and prioritise.

Developing a one page profile (persona) for each target audience would be a valuable exercise, if you can invest a few hours for this.

Tips for using LinkedIn to identify your Ideal Customer

Building on the Quick Tips above to develop personas and assess market potential follow these tips

1. Researching Industry Sectors and Companies within LinkedIn

With 9m + company pages on LinkedIn there’s a good representation of large, medium and small businesses for research and list building purposes:

  • In the Company Search area slice and dice the parameters available for location, sector and size (if you have access as this may be a premium feature)
  • Look at which Industry Sectors your customers categorise themselves under, to expand your horizons
  • Be critical about some criteria (eg. size or location or sector) to identify market segments. For your business, a campaign or a prospecting session what will you focus on?
  • Select the 1st connection filter to see how many of those companies you have contacts in, and the opportunity to make contact with those where you don’t

An objective to build a list of 50-100 companies is more aligned with Social Selling and targeted social prospecting and close sales relationships. If your goal is 500+ then this is more aligned with mass marketing lead generation.

2. Researching People by Job Titles

Business purchases are rarely made by just one person. There’s value in considering who else is involved in the decision, for example:

  • The Sponsor – the business leader or C-level executive or department head who has initiated investigation and allocated time to formulate requirements
  • The Researcher – someone who is visualising what might be, collating requirements, identifying options, approaching potential suppliers and writing internal reports
  • The Technician – someone who needs to support the project from an implementation perspective, looking at impact and fit with existing processes, systems, apps etc.
  • The Financier – who is looking at the numbers, the payback potential, the costs (external and internal), accountability for delivery

Having identified the buying team and likely job titles (which you can search for in LinkedIn) you could consider personality types. Consider people in these roles from a DISC profile perspective or similar, to build up personas and profiles.

3. Other criteria you could consider

For research about buyers, to inform your content, and to prepare a ‘go-to-market’ plan, there are other ways you could drill into LinkedIn

  • Do your ideal customers share an interest in a topic, a technology, their profession, their peer group etc. in which case explore LinkedIn Groups for signs
  • Are there educational or professional qualifications, professional / trade associations, conferences, technologies that unite them, that you can identify through Linkedin
  • Are there conferences, seminars, thought-leaders etc who gather a following, in which case can you identify them through search and within LinkedIn Pulse and Posts.

These criteria could help you identify some of the issues, triggers, aspirations as well as the influences and influencers that your Ideal Customer may be paying attention to.

Download our Pocket Guide to Social Selling

If you haven’t already done so get a copy of our guide, which covers more LinkedIn Tips and introduces the Social Selling Matrix.

Social Media for Business – shocking statistics about B2B buyers

If you think Social Media is for youngsters and consumer brands this compilation of statistics about social media for business will open your eyes. It shows that business buyers are using online sources, searches, forums, social networks and more as a matter of course these days. And business buyers increasingly expect companies they want to […]

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10 ways to improve your market segmentation and lead definition

Market segmentation underpins your business success. Identifying which customers you want to serve leads into creating value propositions that meet their needs and communicating your value clearly to them. Improving your segmentation will help to increase your conversion rates, reduce wastage of time and expenses and improve your sales and return on investment. With online […]

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B2B value – how to align your value with what buyers look for

Knowing your B2B value and the benefits that your product or service provides  is the starting point of success in B2B marketing and sales. Having these aligned against what your prospects and customers need and value will strengthen your had.

If your competitors have defined their benefits and are communicating them in a better way than you are you will be at a disadvantage, and in a follower rather than a leader role in your market.

Here is an approach to help you define your B2B value proposition, and a way to create differentiation for yourself and your company and your products or services.

Two fundamental things business people buy

Business buyers need things to support two parts of their business:

  • they need to buy products or services that they can sell on to customers. There may well be a small or large amount of value added to those products or services – from simply selling on finished goods, to turning raw materials into finished goods, or combining products from different sources or in different quantities into a solution for customers.
  • they need products or services that enable them to trade and to run their business. These are not sold onto customers but are classed as overheads, such as premises and all associated costs, marketing, sales, administration activities and so on.

The way that people use the products or services you produce creates opportunities to add value. Understanding what your customer needs to do with your product or service before they can sell it on, or to run their business, enables you to adjust your value proposition. If you can do more of what your customer will need to do anyway, but at a lower cost due to economies of scale for instance, it can give you an advantage in the market.

The buyer may be able to clearly define what they want and need, and go looking for it. However there may be situations where they cannot clearly define and agree needs, especially for a complex and occasional purchases. The buyer is likely to undertake some research and this creates an opportunity for the vendor to offer educational information. A third situation occurs where the buyer don’t know they need something yet, for example where there is an innovation. In this case the vendor needs to make the running, and create the demand.

Four benefits business buyers value

The profit motive of businesses translates through to four powerful buying motives

  • Make money – this is the motive to increase sales and hence profits, especially in a smooth and managed way that enables a business to optimise things like supplies and overhead costs.
  • Save money – this is the efficiency and effectiveness motive, around reducing waste, increasing productivity of machinery or people.
  • Compliance – this represents the legal side where businesses, directors and other key people have an obligation to meet certain criteria in order to trade, and where there are fines, imprisonment or other penalties to encourage compliance.
  • Agility – this term embraces the benefit of flexibility, to get into or out of contracts, to be able to increase or reduce capacity or costs more quickly, to be able to innovate and change with circumstances.

Your value proposition will essentially be built of these elements, in simplistic terms. There will be a trade-off and perhaps negotiation to find the balance that suits both parties. There is also the comparison the buyer makes to weigh up your value proposition and decide if it is more attractive than what your competitors offer.

Buyer motivation

Two powerful buyer motivations have been identified, and these can be used as part of your value proposition and messaging.

  • To move away from pain – pain in business can come in many forms, from being let down by an existing supplier in some way, where the price or cost is too high, etc. and can be mapped against the four benefit areas above. Your value may be to reduce or remove this pain. This can be a compelling reason for a buyer to make a decision.
  • To move towards gain – gain in business extends these four dimensions. It is strong when the business buyer has a big goal or objective, such as to double turnover in 2 years. Without a strong driver it is easy for the buyer to maintain the status quo and postpone a decision until another time, and this can come across in all manner of reasons.

Understanding the value and benefits that you and your company deliver in the eyes of your customers and prospective customers lies at the heart of defining and differentiating yourself and your value proposition from your competition.

Aligning with, or creating, compelling reasons to purchase may well be the deciding factor between winners and losers, in the increasingly competitive market.

Become a sales leader

Differentiation through leadership in one aspect of what you do, while also ‘meeting requirements’ in every other aspect, in the eyes of your customers, is a position worth striving for. Identifying and defining the niche or niches, categories, segments or markets where you can achieve this is part of the process. Failure to do this will make business much harder.

This leadership approach will provide the backbone for your entire marketing and sales activity – from how you attract and engage with prospects, how you nurture and sell to them, and then how you deliver and recycle.

To find out more about how to develop your personal brand, position yourself as a valuable leader in the eyes of your prospects and customers and Connect LinkedIn with Sales with Wurlwind.

 

 

B2B Sales – focus on the buyers and influencers

You know that in B2B Sales, people matter. People buy from People. Trust and relationships are really important.

The good news is that with Social Selling these still matter, but it is now much more visible. If people know, like and trust you it can be so much more visible, through your online connections. At the early stages or a sale trust can be developed more quickly and at arms length, as buyers do their research. There are new techniques to develop market presence. However this can take a huge amount of time if it’s not focused.

B2B Sales needs to focus on potential buyers

This may seem obvious, but it’s worthwhile restating the value of having a clear definition of your ideal customer, and therefore your ideal ‘buyer’. They may be defined by a combination of the market or sector they work in, by their function and level in the organisation, and then by their goals on a broad level. This is a rough cut way to define a niche.

As an example, Founders or Directors in Technology Companies who want to grow sales and profits is a broad definition of one group of potential buyers of Wurlwind services. As a cross-check, look closely at your existing and recent customers as potential buyers of the future, and see how well they match the profile.

Check also that marketing and sales both agree on this definition.

Focus on access to those potential buyers

The second stage is to look at how to reach potential buyers. This is becoming a challenge as traditional access is more difficult due to the noise in the market, the multiple barriers erected by buyers, and the buyers may no longer be in clear groups or clusters but are becoming scattered.

Traditional access may have been through exhibiting at trade-shows, advertising and PR in trade publications, direct mail to bought-in lists, referrals, tele-marketing and cold-calling.  These are still options for the marketing mix but may not be as effective as previously.

Many new channels have been created with the development of the Internet. Search is a major one, and in response the growth of search marketing and content marketing. Social media is another, where ones ‘black book’ of contacts is now much more public, and those who have the right tools can exploit this. Online advertising is a third, either on search term (via Google etc) or to specific profiles (via LinkedIn, Facebook and so on).

Consider where your potential buyers may gather or cluster online. Is it on online networks like LinkedIn, maybe it’s online conferences, online forums, membership sites online or other places relevant to their interests. In reality it’s probably a mix of the above online, plus the more traditional bricks and mortar places.

Focus on issues the buyer is facing

A fundamental switch in approach lies at the heart of success online in B2B marketing and lead generation. Since search and relationship is a big part of success that needs to be approached from the stand-point of the buyer. Content and messages about you, your solutions, your offers and so on are far less effective online. Engaging with the aspiration and goals of your target audience, or with the pain and issues that your ‘ideal’ prospect may be experiencing, and educating them is much more effective.

The stage that buyers are at in their buying cycle does have an effect on this. In brief, at the early stages buyers are researching potential solutions using keywords about their goals or pain. As they approach the decision their search phrases may become more specific about the solution or products  they are looking to purchase.

Focus on referrals and social proof

While the primary focus in sales is on prospects there are other significant and influential groups to include in the plan.

Existing customers, channel partners, suppliers, industry thought-leaders and staff are just some of the groups or circles to take into consideration. You can develop relationships with them to gain social proof and als0 valuable referrals.

Encouraging others to spread the word about you into their network of contacts increases your exposure and is a good return on your efforts.
For an independent assessment of your approach to develop your network of contacts and social prospecting techniques, especially using LinkedIn for Sales, get in touch with Wurlwind.

 

 

About You – who is an ideal Wurlwind client?

As we successfully deliver more LinkedIn training and Social Selling services it is becoming clearer who is an ideal Wurlwind client.

People who find our knowledge, expertise and approach most beneficial tend to be:

Small, medium and large businesses in the technology sector

We’ve trained and assisted sole practitioners, technology consultants and self-employed trainers, through business owners and sales managers with smaller sales teams to Sales Directors and senior managers in larger technology sector businesses.

Small and medium sized marketing agencies

We’ve assisted marketing agencies to understand and use LinkedIn and Social Selling to grow their own businesses.

We’ve also supported them with LinkedIn expertise when they’s been working on client projects and didn’t have the expertise in house.

 

Challenges and Goals of the ideal Wurlwind Client

The challenges and opportunities they face mean they need to:

  • Generate more and better quality leads
  • Develop better (more profitable) long-term relationships with customers and clients
  • Launch or go through a project and lack resources in-house
  • Reduce costs and find efficiencies

And the underlying questions include:

  • How can I grow my sales, profits and my business?
  • How can I find efficiencies and reduce costs?
  • How can I increase productivity and save time?
  • How can (marketing and sales) tools and technology help me?
  • What tools and technology are relevant to my particular business?
  • How can I select the right tool from the vast array that are out there?
  • Can I make more of the investment I have already made?

Take a look around this website and sign-up for the email updates and hopefully you will soon appreciate how Wurlwind can help you develop your business.