Written by Rob Malec
When you look at your current customer base are you happy with what you see? Or do you find yourself wondering how to boost sales and wishing you had more ideal clients instead of the merely okay clients you currently have? The way to a roster filled with brag-worthy clients is to sharpen your sales team’s focus.
Why Defining Your Ideal Customer Will Help Boost Your Sales
In the start-up phase of your business, any customer willing to pay for your products and services instantly seems like the ideal customer! However, the wisdom that comes as a business matures is that not all revenue is good revenue. Some clients that look ideal at the front end sometimes don’t end up that way.
For example, that super high-volume client you gave the rock-bottom, low-margin price to who has never quite delivered on the promised volume is one. That client who demands white glove service 24/7 and then takes 105 days to pay their invoice is another.
In my role as a Fractional VP Sales, I counsel my clients to sharpen their Ideal Client Profile so that the sales team knows exactly what they’re hunting for and conversely, what they are not hunting for. Understanding what they are not searching for will decrease the incidence of poor client fit opportunities being brought to the table, therefore making better use of your team’s time.
Elements to Include in Your Ideal Customer Profile
Before focusing on how to boost sales, make sure your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is sharpened to ensure your team is targeting the right people. The classic ICP elements are geographic location, employee headcount, annual revenue, and industry sector. My guess is that you have already identified these obvious ones. Here are a few others to consider.
Distinguish Between Early, Mid-, Late-, and Never Adopters
If you are attempting to sell a new and disruptive technology to a late/never adopter, your sale is going nowhere. A tech client of mine recently came back from a client sales meeting describing their office décor as dark, panelled walls with green shag carpeting. Needless to say, no sale was made.
If you are selling into a classically staid industry, look for prospect companies within it that portray an image of being innovative and forward-looking. Web and LinkedIn research will quickly identify who those clients are. Put them at the top of your prospecting list.
Target Growing Companies
Startup companies may be yearning to use your products and services but just don’t have the money to pay yet. Similarly, companies who are experiencing trouble may be the perfect functional fit for your products and services but don’t have cash to spend. Identifying prospects in growth mode will give your team prospects to sell to who not only need what you have to offer but also have the capacity and willingness to pay for it.
Don’t Hyper-Focus on Humongous Corporations
Selling to the Humongous Corp. can be enticing. “If we can get just 2% of their spend, that will make our year!” is something I’ve heard from business owners more than a couple of times. While this may be true, penetrating the fortress that is the Humongous Corp. can be a very long and frustrating process.
If your path to sales success will be paved with selling to very large corporations, be sure to also sell to some medium and small ones along the way. These typically close faster and will provide the cash flow required for you to manage your growth curve.
Target Clients Yielding Good Margins
Analyze your current customer base and see which ones generate the best margin-to-volume ratio. Often it is not the marquee logos on your client list that are the most profitable on a per-unit basis. Growing businesses in the small-to-medium sector may not be glamorous but they can certainly be profitable.
When performing the sales coaching component of my role I have come across a few surprises when it comes to applying the prospecting principle of hunting using the Ideal Client Profile. If you’d like to learn more about how to boost sales by honing your ICP, please feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to help. [email protected]