Use my three-step process to define your ideal customer profile, and you’ll focus your sales and marketing activities and grow your revenues faster.
Many startups fail because their founders can’t answer this basic question:
Who is my ideal customer?
Your ideal customer is the company that will buy your product or service repeatedly because you offer a solution to an important problem they must solve.
If you know who your ideal customer is, you can focus your sales and marketing efforts and boost your sales.
You’ll know you’ve reached them when you start selling more products or services, more quickly, with less effort.
So, how do you determine who you should be targeting?
Just follow my 3-step process on how to create an ideal customer profile.
This process is also the critical first step of my outbound sales blueprint that helps you close more deals.
Step 1: Define Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition is the heartbeat of your business.
- What problem you solve,
- How you solve it, and
- Who benefits
- The last part is your ideal target customer.
If you haven’t yet defined your value proposition, do this first!
Check out my guide on why your value proposition is so vital for your B2B startup, and follow my unique 5-step process for creating a value proposition that sells.
If you already have a value proposition you’re comfortable with, review it with these three questions in mind:
- Does my value proposition speak to the prospect who is most likely to buy what I’m selling?
- Does my value proposition solve a specific problem for a unique target customer?
- Does my value proposition explain the key benefit of using my product or service?
- As a startup coach, I’ve learned that the more detailed and focused your target customer profile, the better your chances are of reaching them.
Why? Since you know exactly who you’re looking for, you can define a clear path to finding them more easily.
Step 2: Define Your Ideal Customer’s Key Characteristics
Your ideal customer profile should cover four areas – general characteristics, industries, company characteristics, and geographic location – with each one adding another layer of depth to your ‘client portrait.’
Keep in mind that these questions focus on targeting B2B prospects and not on individual consumers.
1. General Characteristics
Start by describing your ideal customer in general terms.
- What products or services do they offer?
- How big are they in terms of employees, revenues, products sold, etc.?
- What typical challenges do they face in their business?
- Where are they located?
These questions will vary based on your industry and the type of solution you offer. Make your list as detailed as possible. You can always adjust it later as you consider the next levels of detail.
Define the industries in which your ideal customer operates.
This step is important as it helps you narrow down who you’ll eventually target.
More precisely, it will come in handy when crafting your ‘Top 10 Hit List’ – a list of prioritized prospects you plan to approach with your offer. I cover this in more detail in my blog on customer acquisition.
In some cases, your product or service will only be relevant to one specific industry. If this is the case, simply skip this step.
If you are targeting multiple industries, however, create a ‘Top 3 Industries’ list in which you rank them based on the order of relevance or importance. For example:
My Top 3 Industries:
Next to each industry, write down why you chose it. This will help you reinforce your focus and give you a clearer picture of who exactly you are targeting.
3. Company characteristics
Next, define your ideal customer’s specific company characteristics.
- Number of employees
- Annual revenues
- Area of focus
- Unique behavior
- Brand characteristics
As in the previous section, rank the Top 3 company characteristics by their relevance and/or importance, and write a short explanation on why you chose each one.
4. Geographic location
Finally, you must define where your ideal customer is located.
If you are only targeting a single market – perhaps your home country – this may be less relevant.
If, however, you are selling your product or service to an international audience, you should define the specific regions, countries, or cities you are targeting.
While you may consider your business to be ‘global,’ you will still need to focus your efforts on single geographic areas – at least at the start. Otherwise, you risk spreading your resources too thin and not gaining meaningful traction anywhere.
As before, rank the Top 3 locations based on relevance or importance while noting down the reasons you chose these specific geographic areas.
Step 3: Create Your Ideal Customer Profile
The final step is to review all the lists you made in the previous section and arrive at your ideal customer profile.
It may be tough at first, but force yourself to narrow down the various characteristics you listed to a maximum of 3-5 points that together create a clear picture of your ideal customer.
Your final list could look something like this:
My ideal customer is…
- … a manufacturing company in the automobile industry.
- … open to innovation but hasn’t incorporated technology into business operations.
- … has between 200 and 2,000 employees.
- … located in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and Italy.
Congratulations! You’ve now put the puzzle pieces together to create an ideal customer profile.
Your Ideal Customer Profile May Evolve
Your ideal customer profile will serve as the foundation of your customer acquisition process.
As you apply it, you’ll find that certain elements of it will ‘stick,’ while others may not be as relevant as you thought they were.
You also might find that you can’t quite arrive at one specific ideal customer profile yet because you’re too early on in defining your sales process.
In this case, define two customer profiles – maybe three at the most – and see which one gets the most traction.
Just keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to identify the single ideal customer who is prepared to buy your product or service at the highest price on a recurring basis because you are solving such a critical problem for them that they have no alternative than to buy what you’re selling.
Want to Define Your Ideal Customer?
I’ll personally take you through The Launch Code in just 8 weeks….or discover my ‘Online Course‘ and ‘Course + Mentoring‘ options, as well.
You’ll learn how to focus your offer and message, build a structured sales model, and execute based on targets so you can add 3-to-5 enterprise clients to your business each quarter.