I've recently finished reverse engineering my process I use to develop an ideal customer profile. This exact process helped me recently to:
- Improve one of my client's positioning, so they were perceived as a niche industry experts by their customers.
- Create a hyper-targeted list of B2B prospects that are the excellent fit for their service
- Generate $200k in sales opportunities after ABM campaign we ran
This client operates in highly-competitive space (software development) where they used to be a "one size fits all" vendor for many years.
Here are the 7 steps I use.
#1 – Select a specific market segment
ICP is the impersonation of your key customers from a specific market segment.
Lots of B2B companies miss this step and make the same mistake. They export all the data from the CRM and create a universal customer avatar.
As a result, they move to the "one-size-fits-all" approach and spray their efforts instead of focusing on specific segments. Keep in mind that for every market segment, you need to create a standalone ICP.
#2 – Choose 10 key customers from that market segment
All clients weren't created equal.
The Pareto Principle tells that 4% of customers might generate 64% of your revenue. Our goal is to find this 4 % and add them to the ICP template.
As a rule of thumb, I suggest selecting 10 best clients from a particular segment.
If you don't have this amount of customers, add as many as you have. It's always better to work with some data than just brainstorming.
#3 – Fill in the ideal client profile template
The next step is filling the ICP template (here is a screenshot: https://monosnap.com/file/aBmAuNYebkJYcT6ZfuerZjxm8zRLAM).
You'll need to analyze your accounts, their buying committee structure, and run in-depth customer interviews.
You can collect from your CRM the available data as sub-industry (e.g., software development or marketing automation software), location, revenue, our revenue (the total volume of sales to this customer), and team size.
#4 – Define the buying committee members and collect public info about them
Our next step is to define the buying committee. There are several ways how we can do it.
The first step is to analyze CRM and talk to sales.
In CRM, check who was in the email thread. Look for replies and CC. The sales team might provide you more insights. Ask them:
- Did the Champions or Decision-makers mention anybody from their team whom they want to talk to?
- Did anybody else from the client's team join the calls/meetings?
Once you'll figure out these people, open LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and find them. If you don't see them on LinkedIn, search on Facebook and Twitter.
Once you finally find the buying committee members, copy to the ideal customer template their job roles, approximate age, and social media activity (do they post anything? How often?).
As well, I recommend checking what websites content do they share in their profile, what influencers content do they engage with or follow, what communities are they in.
#5 – Analyze the buying process
#6 – Enrich Ideal Customer Profile with in-depth customer interviews
In the previous steps, we collected the available public information about your key customers, defined the buying committee, and interviewed sales. Only this process should provide you great insights about your ideal customers.
Now let's enrich your ideal customer profile by interviewing your best customers.
The insights you'll gain not only will help you to develop a better ICP but amplify your value proposition, polish the company's positioning, and improve the efficiency of all marketing programs you are running.
#7 – Define ideal customer profile from existing data
The last step is the easiest one.
It's to analyze all the data you've collected from your best customers from the specific market segment and create an ideal customer profile. As you get it, ICP is a combination of patterns, features, and information about your best customers.
Sometimes you might be perplexed with what you should put in the ICP template. When you have concerns or doubts, take a look at the customers with the most significant share in revenue, and put the data you've collected about them into the template.
Hope this process will help you also to define the ideal customer profile and improve prospecting.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
If you'd like to get more details, you can read about the entire process here: https://getleado.com/ideal-customer-profile
How to Stand Out As a Solopreneur by @DONNAAMOS
by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor
Building a business as a solopreneur can be fun, yet overwhelming. The most important job you have is working to stand out among the competition. This requires the right amount of focus so that you are continuously working toward more leads and sales inside your business. Here are tips that will help you build a larger business year over year.
Stick to the plan you’ve laid out for your business. Get ready for being challenged on your journey and understand that a business owner’s path is never a continuous upward climb. You’ll encounter difficulties and challenges on your way to the top. There will be times when it feels as though nothing is working. That’s when you need to be consistent in your effort to identify what works and what doesn’t. Course correct and continue onward from there.
Develop New Skills
Work hard to develop new skills that help build your business. For example, you need to become good at the following skills as a business owner:
- Content creation
You’ll discover that your business profits will increase the more you broaden your skillset.
Attend Networking Events
When things return to somewhat normal then get back out there. Attend local events to meet and network with future customers. Use your Chamber of Commerce to find out about the various events happening in your local area. Many virtual events are available now. Check out Meetups and begin building your network. Practice your what you do dialogue and get it down to 30 seconds: who do you help, what is the problem you help them with and what are the results after working with you.
Would you rather build your business entirely online? Try the hundreds of Twitter chats that occur each day. As your Twitter account grows, start your own chat and get conversations going that eventually end up with bringing new customers on board.
Use Testimonials Effectively
Nothing stands out better to potential customers than seeing what your current customers say about you. Testimonials are social proof in a world where people need to see that others are happy with your product or service. Get creative in the beginning by capturing screenshots of nice comments customers have made on Facebook or Instagram. Ask those people if you can show their headshot and comment as a testimonial to others.
Join Facebook or LinkedIn Groups
Take the time to build a reputation as an expert inside LinkedIn or Facebook groups. Don’t overtly promote and sell in these groups. Instead, offer tips and expertise that show that you’re there to help others. Do the following inside these groups:
- Contribute to the threads
- Answer questions
- Engage with other members
You’ll soon be an expert authority in that community. Opportunities to do business will arise when others in need of your help start reaching out to you personally.
Stay In Contact With Customers
Use snail mail or email to stay in contact with former and existing customers. Nothing stands out more in today’s world than a simple thank you. Thank them for being a customer and ask how you might help going forward. Mention any special offers you have at this time, as well.
Consider a quick video message using a tool such as Loom. Send a thank you note in the mail. Anything you do to personally connect with customers will go a long way in gaining their business again and again.
Create a Facebook Business Page
Create a Facebook page and become active on it. You can get comments, reviews and messages from leads and customers on your page. Use various forms of content to connect with prospects, such as:
Use Facebook Live to periodically get yourself in front of followers. More people will show up for these sessions as your number of followers grows because Facebook notifies them when you start a new Live session. Use your Facebook Live sessions to:
- Provide helpful tips
- Inform leads about sales and promotions
- Use it as a selling webinar
Use Instagram Effectively
Stand out on Instagram by using images effectively. Make sure your profile is completely filled out with a link back to your most important URL. Use a high-quality profile picture and research hashtags that are relevant for your business.
Use stories to engage with your fans. Post excellent images on a daily basis with the correct hashtags so your core target market can find you. Convert your account to a business profile after reaching 10,000 followers so that you can add links to the stories that you post. This will increase the amount of traffic over to your email opt-in landing pages.
Stand Out With YouTube Marketing
People are increasingly consuming video content online. Start a YouTube channel and publish weekly video content to it. This is one of the most effective ways to stand out as a solopreneur if you work at your channel consistently. Your subscriber base will grow steadily if you post great tips and ideas and encourage viewers to subscribe.
YouTube videos will help your website search engine rankings improve as well. The reason is that you can embed your videos on your site’s pages. As your visitors watch these videos, Google notices that they’re on your site for a longer amount of time. This is one of the metrics that helps improve your overall search rankings.
Don’t forget to optimize your videos for quality rankings in the YouTube search engine. Optimize by using:
- An attractive video thumbnail
- Detailed descriptions
- Linking to other relevant resources
Stand Out With Your Website
One of the best ways to gain customers inside your small business is getting good at attracting prospects who are further along the buying cycle. Some people are online searching for general information around your topic and niche. Others have done their research already and are now just about ready to buy.
You want to create content on your website that attracts both types of people. However, the more you can attract the people who are ready to buy, the more effective your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts will become.
Your website will stand out well if you focus on putting out excellent content that informs and educates. Do keyword research and find keywords that have the following words in them:
These terms indicate that your visitor is looking for the best company to buy from. If your content gets found in the search engines for those types of terms, then you will notice an increase in the quality of your site’s visitors from a purchasing standpoint.
Don’t forget to also create “how-to” content to capture visitors just starting down their research path. You’ll have the ability to capture them as leads and nurture them into buying from you later.
Use Email Marketing Intelligently
Your ultimate goal to stand out as a business owner should be to build an email marketing list. An email list allows you to market to your prospects over time until they trust you enough to buy your products or services. Work hard to place strategic ways for people to become email subscribers on your website and social media channels.
Send out weekly or bi-weekly newsletters that provide helpful content for your subscribers. Educate them and help make their lives better. Link them to your new blog articles or social media posts. Send them to your latest YouTube video. Ask yourself how you can best nurture them along so they come to trust you enough to buy from you.
If you take the time to build a large email newsletter list over time, then you will discover that you can often create revenue on demand by sending out the right offer or discount at the appropriate time.
Standing out as a solopreneur isn’t as difficult as you might think it is. Yes, the marketing world is a noisy one with many business owners trying to get their messages out. Your job is to use the above tips in a way that resonates well with your target market. Teach them something valuable first. They will notice that you’re different from your competitors and will buy from you.
A Bigger Truth About Restaurant Food Delivery
I was listening to Dan Primack’s podcast on Pro Rata and he was interviewing Senator Klobucher who is now publicly and vocally speaking out against Uber purchasing Grubhub and has tried to mobilize against this.
Her argument is that if Uber buys Grubhub (which itself once merged with Seamless) it would mean that Uber Eats / Grubhub would control half the market and that with DoorDash the two together would control 90% of the market. I think that’s a largely flawed fight to be picking and of all the uses of Senator Klobuchar’s I could think of some much more productive fights to be having.
For starters Uber itself has had to lay off 27% of its workforce due to the pandemic and has been severely impacted financially from the crisis with no immediate respite in sight. Its core business was already struggling to become profitable, so having tertiary businesses like food delivery that can deliver needed profits would be welcome to their financial stability. And the market would still have DoorDash and PostMates duking it out as well as the potential that players like Instacart broaden their business one day or Amazon gets into food delivery.
Even more likely is eventual technology disruption where drones deliver foods and make it hard for existing car delivery services to compete. It won’t happen right away but I’ve seen some innovative companies doing exactly this in places like Australia where they are taking a more liberal approach to allowing drone deliveries. Therein lies the advantages of free markets and competition and if we really believed it were that easy to buy off your largest competitor and be a monopolist we’d all be surfing on AOL TimeWarner portals.
But the broader issue that hasn’t garnered much press attention is how the restaurant industry itself is being transformed and what tools a modern restaurant will need to compete. What is the Shopify of the restaurant industry? I have some compelling data that suggests it may just become ChowNow.
We know that the restaurant business already operates on thin margins and many struggle to survive. So when delivery services came along many were willing to pay the fee to try and increase business. It was only about 10–15% of their actual total revenue per month so for many it wasn’t a battle worth fighting — they just put up with the food delivery company fees. Customers were happy and restaurants focused on their in-store business.
The problem for the restaurants is that the more successful the “aggregators” of customer demand become over time, the less power the restaurants themselves have individually. This will largely be true whether you have 2 strong competitors or 5 because unless a delivery company can make a profit it won’t continue to stay in business.
The delivery companies own the customer relationship and can drive traffic to the most profitable restaurants for them. Obviously if you have a great restaurant brand with differentiated food people search for you by name but for many people looking for pizza, sushi, Mexican food, Thai food, whatever, you might go with the choice put in front of you if it’s being recommended or delivered more quickly. The delivery companies also own many of the assets like the photography so they can make certain options look much more attractive.
So just like when Groupon came out many small merchants welcomed the uptick in traffic, without owning the customer you lose the most valuable asset — the ability to re-market to your customer base and encourage them to become more loyal and more frequent customers. You lose the ability to up-sell and cross-sell products. And just like with Groupon the small businesses ended up having many unprofitable customers.
At Upfront we always took the approach that we wanted to back startups that enabled merchants to own the customer relationship and to increase profits by becoming excellent at marketing and serving ones most loyal customers.
So several years ago we backed a company called ChowNow that enables restaurants to offer self-service ordering for pick-up or delivery and the restaurant owns all of the customer information and relationship — ChowNow is simply a SaaS enablement product.
The company has done well over the past several year but never really captured the same press mindshare as the food delivery companies because when a company shows up at your house you get to know that brand rather than the tech that enables restaurants.
Covid-19 has changed all of that. Whereas pickup & delivery may have been 10–15% of a restaurant’s business before it’s currently 100% and when it’s your entire business the thought of paying huge commissions to a third-party delivery service becomes much less attractive. So while many restaurants knew they eventually needed to invest in better order management software, many had been putting it off.
But just as many product or apparel companies were happy selling at Amazon, Walmart or Nordstrom in the past and have lately realized the importance of Shopify and serving customers directly — so, too, are restaurants. Enter ChowNow.
What data do I have to make the case?
- ChowNow now has 17,000 restaurants using its SaaS platform for take-out and delivery and is adding more than 2,000 / month right now (and trending up)
- 10 million diners now use the ChowNow ordering platform vs. 24 million for GrubHub, so like Shopify while they built the customer base slowly and with capital efficiency they are now rivaling the bigger players in footprint
- Last year they were serving 50,000 customers / day through their platform and did approximately $500 million in GMV (the value of the orders placed), this year they are on track to do $3 billion (with a B) and expect to end the year at a revenue run rate that may top $100 million (yes, I asked for permission to publish these numbers).
If you want to see a short spot that outlines the importance of the restaurant industry arming itself with better software tools to serve and market to their customers you may enjoy this 60-second video that makes it clear why it matters. It speaks volumes to why we all love our local restauranteurs and want to see them survive …
Or if you want to see the argument laid out clearly by a customer, look no further than Motorino Pizza in NYC who posted this note that appears before you enter their website:
How to Maximize the Contributions of 4 Diverse Work Styles
Contributed by Justin M. Deonarine, an industrial organizational psychologist with Psychometrics Canada, which provides psychometric assessments to help businesses hire the right individuals and develop teams and leaders. We asked Deonarine about the benefits of diversity to an organization. Here’s what he shared.
The business case for diversity is undisputed. However, age, gender and ethnicity aren’t the only areas in which you can create diversity in your organization. Differences in your employees’ work styles can also bring diverse perspectives that benefit and elevate your organization.
To learn why differing work styles might be an invisible amplifier to your company’s diversity efforts, check out Deonarine’s article on EO’s Inc. channel.
A Framework to Understand People
You might be asking, “How can I identify and understand the differences between people, without having years of training?” Don’t worry, I’m asked this question a lot.
I find that it’s easiest to start with a framework, such as the one below. To use it, consider two key features of yourself:
- What do you focus on more—tasks or people?
- Do you make plans before taking action, or do you jump in and figure things out as you go?
Characteristics from these two questions are plotted below on the vertical and horizontal axes, creating four distinct work styles.
What Are the Characteristics of Each Work Style?
Now that you’ve identified your basic approach, match it with the characteristics in the chart below. Does it describe you?
+ Organize and structure work, resources, and people to achieve goals.
+ Make decisions quickly and take quick action to implement them.
+ Take clear positions—people know where you stand.
– May decide too quickly and move to action before others are ready.
– May not see the impacts of decisions on others.
+ Seek out, analyze, and organize vast amounts of information.
+ Use a hands-off leadership approach, empowering others to act.
+ Flexible and tolerant of a diversity of workstyles and ideas.
– May not give others enough direction.
– May put off decisions for too long.
+ Strive for consensus and harmony.
+ Motivated by a vision that is based on values and the group’s mission.
+ Solicit information and ideas from others, and include them in decision-making.
– May focus on relationships to the detriment of task completion.
– May put off tough decisions and avoid confronting difficult people.
+ Coach, encourage, involve and energize others.
+ Seek out and gather lots of information.
+ Stay flexible and respond quickly to changing environments.
– May change direction so quickly that they appear inconsistent.
– May resist structure and not appreciate others’ need for systems and processes
Management Techniques to Get the Best From Each Work Style
Not only will you, as a leader, have these individual style preferences, but your employees will also have them. This means that you must adapt to a variety of styles that do not match your own.
You may not understand your employee’s behaviors or choices, and your employees may not understand yours. However, you will need to be able to adapt and lead accordingly.
Below, I’ve outlined some behaviors to be mindful of when engaging with your employees, as well as ways to help them stay engaged with their roles.
As an industrial organizational psychologist, Justin M. Deonarine is engaged in data-driven research to develop custom solutions that help individuals and organizations optimize performance. He works with Psychometrics Canada, an EO member–owned company.
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