Outlining your B2B customer profiles can be an effective and worthwhile process to help you understand your target audience and win business in your market. They can help you and your team to qualify leads and build better relationships with your prospects and customers.
What is a customer profile?
A customer profile represents a typical user of a product or service. It typically includes demographics, interests, pain points, and buying patterns to pinpoint a particular customer segment.
You can use them to discuss upcoming project approaches, or simply as a point of reference when communicating with any given customer.
Why is customer profiling helpful in the B2B space?
- A profitable product/service – Profiling lets you adapt and reshape your product or service to match the ever-changing needs of each customer type.
- Effective communication - The more you know about each of your audience segments, the better you'll be at developing a relevant message or proposition that grabs and holds their attention.
- Effective media use - Your choice of media will be much more effective if you know your specific audience segment uses it, trusts it, and responds to it.
- Profitable targeting - Pareto's principle argues that around 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. Profiling allows you to identify prospects who look most like your best customers and to target more effectively by recruiting more customers with profitable characteristics.
Seven steps to develop your B2B customer profile
1. What is their demographic profile?
To paint a picture of each audience segment, start with their demographics:
o What industry do they work in?
o What is their company turnover?
o How many employees do they have?
o Where are they based?
o Who is their target customer?
o How long have they been working in the business?
Examine each target individual that has a role/influence within the decision-making unit.
2. What is their job and level of seniority?
Is your persona at a managerial or director level, and well versed in the intricacies of your industry? If so, they'll need less education than someone at an introductory level, who may need to loop in other decision makers before making purchasing decisions.
Even working with C-level executives presents unique challenges. They might have shorter attention spans, spend less time learning and researching, and have different goals than a lower-level employee. Companies that take the time to understand their persona's career aspirations will likely have more effective communications.
3. What is their buying behaviour?
o What is their usage of products/services within your market?
o Why are they going to buy?
o What does their consumer journey look like?
o What is their purchase history?
4. What's their typical day like?
Think about their typical day. For example, are they buying/researching your service from work, at home, at the weekend? How much time do they have to do this? What other priorities do they have? What else are they doing?
5. What are their pain points?
o What problems do they have that are relevant to your business offering?
o What do they gain from using your products and services?
o How do they feel about the problem it solves?
o What motivates them to solve this problem?
o Do they have other viable ways to solve the problem?
o What are their pain points that your product manages?
6. Where do they go for information?
How do they consume information? Is it from the TV, radio, national news media, local press, blogs, social media, by reading newspapers and magazines? What are their touchpoints with your business likely to be? Which media do they trust the most?
7. What buying experience are they expecting?
The experience of buying your product should match their needs and expectations.
What kind of features do they expect your product you’re selling to have? What should their sales experience feel like? Is it consultative? How much time do they expect to spend with a salesperson?
Do they anticipate an in-person meeting, or would they rather conduct the sales process online or over the phone? The nature of your business and the personality and needs of your persona should define their buying experience.
How to connect with your customer profiles
Now you’ve created your customer profiles, you can start to adapt your approach to them. It’s important to act upon your profiles for them to support your business. This is also a good point to consider any assumptions you may have made about your customer during the process.
- Consider the messages on your website – do they address the factors you’ve identified within your profile?
- Do you need to create different versions of your sales materials to speak directly to each customer segment?
- What key touchpoints could you improve on in your communications? For example, would you customer prefer to hear from you earlier in the day? Are they more likely to see a post from you on LinkedIn than Facebook? Would they prefer to have meetings face to face?
- Could you improve your email marketing to build a better relationship with your client?
Taking the time to create and, more importantly, use customer profiles could make a significant difference to your business. Not only will it help you get to know your existing customers better, it could also help you broaden your client base. From attracting new customers to producing better communications, profiling your customers could pay dividends.