At Acadia, every single day, we’re in the business of finding new customers for our clients. We call this lead generation.
But first, we begin with research, research, research! You can’t find a new customer until you know really who you’re looking for. A good research strategy leads us to information, data and statistics that will help define who a good customer is. Because after all, you can’t go looking for diamonds if don’t have any idea what a diamond looks like.
We all collect so much data in our day-to-day operations, yet it’s rare that we use it to guide our sales and marketing processes. We shouldn’t be ignoring these hard facts that drive to the heart of what works and what doesn’t. And we should be using these facts to tell us who are best customers are and who to go looking for.
So, when this situation arises, it’s time to call in the CIA - the Client Identification Audit. We regularly perform a CIA, gathering forensic data to provide clues and eventually solve the mystery of who our best clients are.
Our CIA includes a good analysis of the following:
- Survey data. This provides insight into client likes, dislikes and perceptions. A well-written, well-executed survey is truly the Voice of the Customer. Information gathered here allows you to understand what your market really thinks.
- Sales data. How are customers voting with their wallets? This tells us buying habits, product strengths and relationship details, as well as your buyer’s organization types, sizes and industries. A good sales data analysis also helps inform our sales processes and pipelines.
- Accounting data. Who’s a profitable customer? Who pays on time and who’s a real financial drag? This is often overlooked when evaluating a good client, but it shouldn’t be. Revenue alone does not indicate a “good” client. If one customer is killing your cash flow due to bad terms, they may be costing you more than you realize.
- Quoting/proposal data. This should include all information on who, what and when we’re quoting. How long does it take to process a quote and which ones are turning into revenue? This is very important for engineering and manufacturing firms that spend a lot of time quoting technical products. Often, our clients are asked to quote simply because someone must obtain three quotes. Those someones never really intend to pick the client. What a time waster.
So, look at your data sources, figure out who your good clients are and list the criteria they share. You will be amazed at what you already have at your fingertips when you dive into this data.
Have you already performed a CIA? What data sources have you used and what did you find out? Let us know or leave a comment below.
Never done a CIA? Click below to download this free worksheet to help you get started!