Who are your people?

We have been talking about some of the core elements of creating a marketing plan. My goal is to get you thinking and planning for 2021 and beyond. Previously, we focused on making sure your prospects can pick you out of the crowd. The next step in putting together your marketing plan is deciding who you’d like to serve along the way.

If you’ve been in business for more than a week, you know there are clients we can delight and clients who suck the life out of your company. The better you know yourself, the better you will be at identifying and chasing after those sweet spot clients that you love to work for, your team is excited to bust a hump to please, and in return, the client appreciates all of your efforts.

The bad clients aren’t bad; they’re just a bad fit for you. Your goal is to recognize what makes someone a good or bad fit early in the sales process so you can either double down to earn their business or stop chasing them.

Ideally, you’re going to stop chasing or even talking to the prospects that don’t meet your profile of the ideal client. We all do better work for clients who are a better fit. The good news is – you’ve experienced that more than once in your organization’s history. We’re going to use that experience to replicate those great clients.

If I said to you – if you could clone any three customers and work for those clones as well – which customers would you choose? Who are your people? After you identify those customers, look for common traits that make them the right fit for you.

If you are a B2B company, think about tangible factors like the size of their organization, the industry, your point of contact’s years of experience, their decision-making process (individual or by committee), if they have internal resources or if they’re going to be relying on you to provide 100% of the support, and other factors that matter to your work.

On the B2C side, think about tangible elements like the customer’s role in their family, all the demographics like age, gender, and income. Where do they live? What kind of dwelling? Is there a similarity in the type of work they do or the hours they work? For each of you, this will be a little different based on what you sell.

In either case, don’t forget about the intangibles like communication and work style, how they react to issues or problems, and if they’ll be a good referral source. Are they comfortable with technology? Are they animal lovers? No factor is too obscure as you look for common threads. Think of yourself as a reporter and you are about to write a biographical piece on your best customers.

While these lists of traits are useful, they become invaluable when you use them to create customer personas. A customer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data about your existing customers. You can gather that data through observation, as I’ve been outlining. You can also add market research data to the mix if your budget allows for it. Put all this information to work and you’ll be able to be very clear on who your best prospects are, based on the clients you and your team love to serve.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Busines Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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