Start your targeting journey by learning who your ideal prospect is. Having a clear picture of their needs helps to inform your strategy.
- The other day I answered the phone from an unknown number expecting what I usually experience, the spray and pray. If you've never heard that term before, it's basically when sales people call anyone and everyone with the hope that the person on the other end of the phone just happens to be a good fit for their product or service. It turned out that I had the opposite experience and was pleasantly surprised. Talking to the sales rep on the other end of the phone it was clear they had done their homework. Not just on me and my company. As we talked, it was like she was reading my mind.
She was very familiar with the challenges someone like me, in my role, company, and industry faced, and had some great ideas on how to solve them with her product, of course. She knew who her ideal prospect was, and I was that perfect match. I got off that call feeling uplifted, energized, and excited with the hope that the product could solve some problems that had been plaguing my organization for months. This was a good lesson in doing your research and highlights the power of honing in on your ideal prospect.
A key aspect of social selling is having a clear understanding of who your ideal prospect is and engaging that prospect in a personalized way. If you do that, the experience will be much more positive for you as the seller, and most importantly, for the buyer. While you'll spend more time narrowing down your target list in the beginning, when you engage with that ideal prospect, social selling will save both you and the buyer a huge amount of time. Finding the right buyer and truly engaging them is the key to success in sales, as we all know.
Social selling helps you do that from the first interaction. The wealth of data available on the Internet and social networks has made it even easier than ever before to figure out who your ideal prospect is. However, like all aspects of sales, there's still work for us to do. So here are two steps to figuring out who your ideal prospect is. The first step is to gather data from a variety of sources. If you talk to colleagues in sales or marketing, they probably already have a hypothesis on who is your ideal prospect.
Don't just ask, "Who's our ideal prospect?" and walk away. Follow up with questions like what industries are most common, what stage of career is most common for those who have success with our products and services, what other factors do you look at when predicting a customer's success? After that I recommend talking to colleagues in your organization who are spending a lot of time with existing customers. This could be your engineering team, your support team, or even your customer success team. Don't be surprised if you get a wide variety of unexpected responses.
For example, in going through this process recently, I learned that professional sports teams were having wild success with the products that I sell. This is not something I would have thought, but now as I work with my team, we have targeted professional and semiprofessional sports teams with much success. Now that you have a notebook full of notes from your conversations, it's time to look for patterns as your second step to identifying your ideal customer. Does anything pop out to you? Beyond the basics like company size or industry, did anything surprise you? As an example, a few jobs ago I sold to marketers.
When I went through this exercise, I realized that we had almost zero luck trying to sell into prospects who did not have at least seven marketers with one of them being a full-time content marketer. This made it easy to prioritize my efforts and put companies that did not meet that criteria at the bottom of my list. Remember though that as your business and products grow your ideal prospect can change, so it may not just be a one-time event. Also, if you want to get a very robust view it can be helpful for several team members to complete the same exercise and compare notes.
As a last step for this section with what you've learned so far, I want you to take a piece of paper and write down 10 attributes of your ideal prospect. If 10 was too easy, go to 20, but try to push yourself to make the list as detailed as possible.
- Crafting a customer-centric profile
- Creating a professional brand that expands your reach
- Identifying your ideal prospects
- Understanding what your buyer values
- Knowing when a prospect is ready to buy
- Engaging with personalized outreach
- Asking for an introduction
- Measuring social selling success