Whether you're a business owner or seasoned sales professional, you only have so much time in the day to devote to lead generation and sales activities with the purpose of driving up business and growing your customer base. You could potentially spend many hours creating content, attempting to engage with people on social media, attending networking events and having face to face or online meetings without seeing the return on investment that you'd like. For that reason, identifying exactly the right type of people to target is the crucial first step. Creating a profile or "buyer persona" will enable you to list all the important characteristics of your ideal customer. By building this profile and putting yourself "in the shoes" of these people, you'll be able to develop a marketing strategy that will substantially improve your success rate, converting prospects into profitable, regular spending customers. In order to do this, you need to look at the following areas.
This is particularly important when selling B2C where you're wanting to profile your customers by characteristics such as age, gender, education and socioeconomic status. You'll also want to take into consideration other factors such as their values and beliefs, tastes, leisure habits and lifestyles.
Where you operate B2B you need to be clear about who has the money, authority and need to purchase your products or services and what their job title is. What is their role and responsibilities? What does a typical day look like to them? What typically are the challenges, issues and pain points that they experience during the course of doing their job?
If you're selling online to customers, where they're based is less important, but if you're wanting to build relationships with people and provide a service face to face, then it makes sense to concentrate on businesses that are relatively nearby and in doing so avoiding the time and expense involved in travelling to them. One could argue that it's more productive to concentrate your efforts in the local area where awareness of your business and reputation can be built more quickly and referrals are more likely. But you need to balance this with bigger, more lucrative opportunities further afield where the profit potential may be greater.
What types of businesses are going to be most receptive to your approaches? Consider the industry and market sectors that they operate in. What size of business are they? Are they pre-starts, startups or established businesses and are they growing, static or declining?
Whether you're operating B2C or B2B it's really helpful to know how people are developing their knowledge and skills, whether it be improving their understanding of fashion trends or becoming better at managing business operations, increasing efficiency and improving regulatory compliance. What events, whether face to face or online, might they attend to develop themselves? What magazines might they read? What websites might they regularly visit? What professional bodies might they belong to where they can meet with like-minded people and learn from leading industry thought leaders?
How are people engaging with others and growing their personal and business networks? You should try to identify what the most popular social media platforms are and what online groups your target audience belong to. For example, you'll have considerably more success generating leads with professional organisations via LinkedIn than you would through Instagram or Pinterest. What face to face networking are people doing to grow their contacts? Who are the people that they're influenced by?
It's helpful to understand what people are buying, how much they're spending and the frequency with which this happens. Are they fairly affluent or have bigger budgets? Are they driven more by quality than price? Are there any constraints on purchasing such as when companies are tied into a contract and are unable to renew for a particular time frame without substantial penalties? What is the procurement process? How does your target audience prefer to buy? Would they use a preferred supplier list or purchasing framework? Would they go through a formal tendering process to find a contractor? Do they generally buy online or look to have face to face contact at the point of sale? What other complimentary products or services might they be buying at the same time? People often buy based on recommendations and might approach accountants, solicitors, banks and other organisations for advice before making a decision. Who are your potential customers most likely to go to for advice?
Doing this profiling exercise will help you immeasurably in the planning of your marketing and promotional activities and ensure that you get the best possible return on your investment in time, money and effort. Would you like to grow your business more quickly and profitably? Please get in touch using the contact form here. We'd love to help you!
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