Having trouble converting prospects to leads? You might be targeting the wrong people.
It seems no matter what industry you're in, the question on everyone's mind seems to be the same: how do I convert high-value leads into deals closed?
Whether you're looking to seal the deal with your B2B leads or your focus is on B2C business, you've likely run into this problem at least once.
An often over-looked solution to this problem lies in creating an accurate and complete customer profile. It seems like a simple enough solution, after-all, this is something you learn in business school. But if you're having trouble sourcing and closing leads, maybe it's time for a little refresh.
Interested in learning more about a specific part of building a customer profile? Use the links below to jump ahead:
On the surface, a customer profile isn't difficult to understand. It's a summary of your ideal customer persona. Your customer profile is your playbook for dealing with different potential buyers.
Why are customer profiles important?
Customer profiles are important for understanding the motivations, fears, communication styles, and more of your ideal customer. When used correctly in sales, marketing, and product development, it can increase your number of satisfied customers.
As you can see, we keep using the phrase customer profiles, plural. That's because your team should have more than one customer profile on hand. Not everyone is motivated by the same things and that means different sales tactics should be used depending on who you're dealing with.
How does customer profiling help convert leads?
Take a moment to think back on your experience as a consumer. Have you ever received an ad or promotion that just spoke to you? Almost like they knew you?
Don't worry, they're not listening to your conversations through your iPhone. This hyper-targeted message is actually the work of a marketing team that built the perfect customer profile.
The business reaching out to you had taken significant time, effort, and research to conduct customer data analysis and get to know you, so they can then talk to you like a trusted friend. The business’ marketing team knows exactly what images will appeal to you, what social media channel to reach you on, and what time of year you’d like to buy the product or service.
1. Customer profiles act as a form of lead qualifying
When your business qualifies a lead, you're essentially scoring how likely they are to purchase your product. When you create a customer profile, you're creating the playbook for how to then convert that high-profile lead into a sale.
Without the right communication strategy, sales talking points, or understanding of what motivates the buyer, you might as well forget lead qualifying all together. It's not enough to know someone might purchase from you. You have to know what tactics will make them sign on the dotted line.
Customer profiling helps you achieve that. Once you understand the customer motivation, fears, and desires, you can create the playbook for your sales team that will lead them to an easy close.
2. Customer profiles help keep everyone on the same page
Becoming familiar with your brand and its customers takes a lot of time. Oftentimes, new employees can take months to familiarize themselves with the brand and its products.
A robust customer profile can help these employees skip the learning curve and get more familiar with your company and its offerings faster and more efficiently. This means less time in training and more time chasing down those high-profile deals you're looking to close.
3. Customer profiles give your team a strategy
Whether you work in sales, product, or marketing, chances are you've worked with an internal communications plan before. Maybe your team rolled out a new feature and everyone needs to know how to talk about it.
Customer profiles serve the same purpose when speaking with potential leads. It allows everyone to be on the same page and strategize about how certain customers like being communicated with, what motivates them, and what turns them off.
How to create a customer profile
If you ever played Sims growing up – does that age me? – then think of customer profiles like that. You’re building an avatar of sorts, a persona that describes a wide swath of your customers. Of course, each customer is a unique snowflake, but for the sake of marketing, it’s easiest to group customers together based on their similarities.
Let's dive into the step-by-step process of creating a customer profile.
1. Focus on your long-term goals
Identifying your ideal customer is worthless if that customer doesn't help you reach your annual goals. What is the biggest focus your company has this year? Is it XXXX number of sales of a certain product? More sign-ups on your website? Increased social media followers? A customer profile can help you achieve all of those.
Once you've identified your goals, then you can focus on how the customer works into that. A hundred new purchases of ABC product won't matter if your goal was to sell XYZ product. Your goals and your target customers should align perfectly.
2. Highlight what makes you unique
The hard truth is that your business isn't the only one targeting your ideal customer. That's why focusing on what makes your brand or product unique is crucial. Think about the last product you bought.
It was probably because it stood out in a unique way and caught your attention. Pinpointing these differences is the first step in convincing a potential customer that you can solve their problem better than a competitor.
What are some things that might make your product or brand different from a competitor?
A feature your competitor doesn't have
A lower or better price
A more flexible contract option
Better integration with other software
Higher user-satisfaction rate
One thing we see here at G2 a lot is brands using their G2 Grid Score to highlight customer satisfaction to potential leads. These verified user-reviews are coming from current customers and help companies highlight what real users love about their products.
Don't have a profile with G2 yet? You're missing out on real user reviews from people who love your product. Create yours today!
3. Build your buyer persona
Once you've pinpointed your long-term goals and what makes your product unique, it's time to put that into perspective with your ideal customer. Your buyer persona should outline a few high-level things about a potential customer, those in turn will help you build your customer profile. These are two separate things that work together to create the perfect strategy for attracting new customers.
Here are a few of the things you should keep in mind about a potential customer.
These are the basic facts about your customers. You can probably glean this information simply by observing them. Important demographic information includes: age, city, gender, race, ethnicity, and more.
For example, if you're looking to sell a CRM software, your ideal customer probably works in the marketing department. You would likely want to target the CMO because they understand why your product is important to them and they are a decision-maker.
Socioeconomic considerations could be household income, education, neighborhood, occupation, and household composition.
This can also translate into what type of business your ideal customer works for. If you know your product is pricey, it might be best to target enterprise companies rather than small businesses in order to maximize your chances of success.
This includes interests, hobbies, favorite TV shows (and music, websites, media, etc.), spending habits, anxieties, and political views, to name a few.
If you know your ideal customer reads a certain industry blog or website, it could be to your benefit to write a guest-blog on that website to get your product or business in front of that customer. You could also regularly interact with certain social media accounts you know your ideal customer follows.
4. Brand affinity
Why do customers use your brand? What do they get out of it? How often do they use the product or receive the service?
Knowing how loyal your customers are is important, as there is spending power behind customer loyalty. A reported 66 percent of U.S. consumers stated they were likely to spend more on brands they were loyal to compared to other brands.
Evaluate whether your ideal customer is already loyal to another brand. How can you flip them to becoming a loyal customer of yours? Is it worth trying? What makes them like another brand and does your brand do it better? These are all things to consider.
5. Customer potential
One more thing you should consider is what makes a great customer. It might be tempting to go after the biggest companies with the most high-profile leaders – but that doesn't always make someone a good customer.
These are just a few things to get you started. Your brand is unique, which means your customer profile will be unique as well. Don't be afraid to branch out from these suggestions. Once you've got all that information, you can put it together and create your customer persona.
Never created an audience persona before? Don't sweat it, we've put together a template for you.
How to use a customer profile
After you aggregated this data about your customers, group them into buckets based on similarities. Most likely, you will have more than one customer profile. For your own sanity, I’d try to create no more than five profiles. Plus, if you have more than five, perhaps your product or service is too broad and thus not strongly appealing to specific people.
Once created, customer profiles can help you decide which PR campaign to embark on. These can help your overall brand awareness and bring new customers into the sales pipeline that you might have otherwise missed.
Customer profiles can also guide your marketing plan. Now you know which medium will be most effective for reaching your different customers: TV ads, Facebook, in-store promotions, Pinterest, newspaper, direct mail, Twitter, radio, etc.
You’ll know which promotions your customers are most interested in. This could be events, giveaways, new products, demos or discounts. And you’ll know what images, fonts, colors, jokes, and references will catch their attention.
Create ultra-targeted campaigns that reach the right prospects at the right time using the G2 Buyer Intent + Terminus integration.
Customer profiles will also reveal what you can do to convince customers that what you offer is the best offering around. You can alleviate any anxiety by touting warranties, exceptional customer service, guarantees, etc.
This exercise shows what will not work, which is equally as important as knowing what will. For example, if your customer base is in high school, don’t reference I Love Lucy. Or if your customers tend to be above 55-years-old, don’t use tiny, hard-to-read fonts.
On the sales side of things, you can use CRM software to help you sort all the information you just gathered and strategize appropriately. The software can help you pair up customer profiles with individual leads and prospects, so you can use similar sales pitches to the marketing messaging you used for those customers.
Automate your customer profile strategy with CRM software. Review the best software on the market and find the right solution for you.
Customer profiles are worth it
If your marketing or sales efforts aren’t quite striking gold, take a time-out and evaluate your customers. Think about what it is you need to know so you can satisfy their needs. Decide what research method to conduct in order to gather this data: email surveys, focus groups, face-to-face feedback, etc. This exercise may take some time, but it’s worth it.
Remember, if you don’t know who you’re selling to, you can’t know how to sell.
Want more marketing magic? Learn about experiential marketing and how it can take your efforts to the next level.
Holly is a manager on the content marketing team. An avid reader and writer, Holly graduated from the University of Missouri with a dual major in Journalism and English. She firmly believes in the power of content and is constantly seeking ways to better engage and delight readers.