In a previous blog, I highlighted the 9 steps of Revenue Performance Management.
Let’s look closer at step 1: FIND. You must find or get found by prospects! But first you must define the leads or prospects you will target!
What? Let’s back up. A prospect has, thanks to the internet, instant access to all the information they need to qualify a vendor without ever making direct contact. In other words, the buyer is in complete control of the early stages of the buying cycle. According to SiriusDecisions, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.
So, a potential buyer may have little or no contact with an actual person from your company until they’re nearly finished with their buyer’s journey! To find or be found by future clients, we as sales and marketing professionals must adapt to this change. But how? The internet can be a very complex, intimidating universe! But fear not - there is a way to adapt, and like any good plan, you must be strategic.
So you’re already engaging in social media, blogging, email marketing, website upgrades and search engine optimization (SEO) to get your brand out there. Are these efforts strategically targeted to the right audience? Without a strategy, each of these is just an uncoordinated, individual tactic. Imagine that you coach a football team. Your strategy consists of patting your players on the back and telling them to go “win one for the Gipper.” You may win a game or two, but you’ll probably lose most of the time. Your game plan is missing programmed plays, offensive and defensive schemes and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent. Most importantly, other than the numbers on the scoreboard (us businesspeople call that “revenue”), you’ve collected no statistics (yardage gained, passing attempts and completions, etc.). In other words, you can’t measure your success (or lack thereof).
We must realize that, like a football team, lack of strategy affects our business! To strategize, you need to know WHO your client is and HOW your message resonates. Understanding these important business parameters (and more) is critical to develop your digital (i.e., internet) strategy, and therefore to your sales success.
So where do we start? Let's begin by answering the first question.
WHO IS YOUR CUSTOMER?
I have worked with companies that do indeed understand their customer. However, when I ask an owner, for example, to define actual characteristics of the customer, I often find they just can’t do it. Sometimes the definition of an ideal client differs within the same organization! The business owner may have one idea, but sales and marketing may have different thoughts. Streamlining the definition of your ideal client is critical! It is even more critical to use this agreed-upon definition to create a true working description of your client.
We call this the buyer persona! If you don’t how who your clients are, how do you market to them?
So - have you already taken the time within your organization to truly define your ideal prospect? If you have, you’re ahead of the game! If not, start by answering the following questions, IN DETAIL. Get more than one person within your company to help.
Answer these questions with your FAVORITE (BEST) CLIENT in mind!
- The basics:
- Their industry
- Company size (use number of employees or annual revenue)
- Are they private/public/other?
- What makes them such a great client?
- What are the job levels and descriptions of the people you work with at this company?
- What are the typical challenges/pain points this person faces daily?
- How do these pain points affect them personally and professionally?
- What are the client’s stated goals in working with you?
- What is their company’s culture and/or mission (and how does it align with yours?)
- Where does your contact look for information?
- What are the most common questions or objections you face when engaging this ideal client?
Answer these questions, name your persona (e.g., VP Sales Insurance or Owner Oscar), and write it up! You’ll refer to this often! For more concrete examples of personas, and additional questions you can ask yourself when creating your personas, contact us!
SO, if you truly understand your buyers, (and you create buyer personas for them), you’ll truly understand the audience for your blogs, website, emails, etc.! You can then be sure you’re providing these audiences with compelling information. Then, as they find you, you can begin the process of nurturing them!
Stay tuned for another blog post on the value of nurturing via content and outreach.