Identifying customers and the right ones, for that matter, is essential for businesses to drive results. And that’s why we are discussing this important topic on the “Marketing, Demystified” podcast.
At the end of the day, growth marketing works when companies connect to the right buyers. But how do they do that, and how can they scale that process?
Among other things, we discuss:
- Why it’s more important than ever for companies to identify the right buyers and do so quickly.
- What steps would you recommend for companies to take to identify their ideal customer profile?
- How do they know they have developed the right Ideal Customer Profile?
- Once we have that ICP, what strategies work best to get in front of them, build that relationship and stay connected?
- What are some common – but maybe not obvious – ways customers can identify those ready-to-buy customers?
Altogether, identifying customers for your company comes back to creating a win-win situation for the customer and for the company. What can the company do to help the buyer, and then in turn that leads to company success.
Trinity emphasizes that it’s critical to consider not just who you can close, but who will have the longest lifetime value and lowest churn risk. Trinity explains how to evolve your ICP criteria over time as you gain more data.
The discussion then turns to tactics for getting in front of your ICP once defined, such as account-based approaches and tailored ad campaigns. Trinity stresses the importance of nurturing relationships in a “human” way, not treating buyers transactionally. She shares creative strategies like leveraging job changes to stay top of mind.
Key highlights include:
- Why tighter budgets and more competition make ideal customer profiling and outreach so critical today
- Involving cross-functional teams like CS in defining ICPs to reduce churn
- Looking beyond just customer demographics to how they make money and problems solved
- Monitoring metrics like pipeline source to see if ICP resonates
- Personalized ad targeting and account-based approaches to reach ICPs
- Avoiding overly promotional outreach – focus on being human and helpful
- Tracking job changes and nurturing prospects over time as they move roles
Why Identifying Buyers is Harder Today
To kick off the discussion, Jenn asks Trinity why it’s more important than ever for companies to quickly identify their most likely buyers. Trinity highlights two key reasons:
1. Tighter budgets
With rising interest rates and a slowing economy, there is less money available, but companies still have aggressive revenue goals. Marketers have to do more with less.
2. More competition
In any market, there are new startups trying to disrupt with lower pricing. But also incumbents are expanding their offerings to retain share of wallet. More options for buyers to choose from increases competitiveness.
Trinity notes that tactics that worked before don’t necessarily translate today. The buying journey itself has changed as budget scrutiny intensifies. Identifying and targeting your ideal customers is critical to winning deals and efficient spending.
Steps for Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Next, Jenn asks about the steps Trinity recommends for identifying your ICP. She mentions a few standard approaches:
Analyzing current customer base
Look for common traits among your customers.
Considering lifetime value
Don’t just look at customers you’ve closed, but those with the longest retention and lowest churn. Involve customer success leaders.
Revisiting every 6 months to a year
Frequently reevaluate your ICP, particularly after major market changes.
Trinity notes that for UserGems, they look beyond just standard demographic filters to understand how prospects make money – whether they are sales led, product led, community led, etc. This provides more nuance to persona development.
She admits horizontal solutions that serve many roles are harder to define an ICP for. But stresses that choosing a niche ultimately wins out over trying to be everything to everyone.
Indicators You’ve Nailed Your ICP
When asked how you know when you’ve really nailed an effective ICP, Trinity acknowledges it’s an ongoing process of evolution, not perfection.
But some positive signals include:
Metrics staying consistent
From ad engagement to sales inquiries to SQLs, you want to see a consistent percentage breakdown by persona in your funnel. Dramatic drops may indicate messaging doesn’t resonate.
If you consistently win when selling to certain personas, it strengthens your ICP focus.
Organic positive feedback from users associated with a particular persona is another validation point.
Trinity emphasizes monitoring both leading indicators on the marketing side and lagging sales indicators to feel confident your ICP definition is working.
Getting In Front of Your ICPs
The discussion then moves to tactics for actually reaching your ideal customers once identified.
Trinity shares how UserGems takes an account-based approach to stay targeted. This includes:
Personalized ad campaigns
One to one ad messaging matched to individual accounts and contacts. More expensive but higher return.
Target account list foundation
A defined target account list in Salesforce to enable precise ad targeting beyond just platforms like LinkedIn.
Running ads to accounts with open opps to stay top of mind across the buying committee.
She also stresses the importance of an authentic, human touch in their outreach and nurturing sequences. Rather than aggressive selling, they aim to be helpful and add humor/personality where appropriate.
Buyer Nurturing Strategies
To wrap up the conversation, Jenn asks about some less obvious strategies for identifying and nurturing prospective buyers over time. Trinity shares two unconventional approaches they’ve found effective:
1. Tracking job changes
Monitoring buyers as they move to new companies and roles, then reaching out to congratulate and offer help. Many end up buying at the new org.
2. Engaging users
Connecting with and marketing to mid-level users that interact with your product, not just decision makers. They become advocates.
She also emphasizes not forgetting about past closed/lost prospects. Nurturing them even after a “no” can convert to wins when they move to new companies in the future.
The key is avoiding a transactional mindset and building authentic human relationships that maintain trust and goodwill over time. This ultimately pays off in revenue.
Identifying and connecting with your ideal buyers is a foundational marketing activity that drives growth. But it has become more challenging than ever in today’s economic climate.
By really understanding your best-fit customers, tailoring targeting and messaging to resonate with their needs, and nurturing relationships over time – you can ensure you’re spending smart. Avoid wasting resources pitching to the wrong prospects.