With the evolution of the business processes in modern companies, the sales process is not left untouched. It’s not just about acquiring more customers in a spree anymore; you have to be equally conscious about the brand reputation. And until you find the right customer, it is hard to build such a reputation.
If you are in a red ocean, meaning, you have a dearth of customers in your industry then your real ethical values come to the test. Do you sell to the customers just to reach your short-term targets? Are you in the business only with a survival mindset or a long-term growth mindset? How invested you are in forming a brand that your customers love and trust?
These are a few of the questions that you must ask yourself when you are thinking of finding the right customers. Let’s dive deep to understand the nuances of this concept.
Who is the right customer?
A right customer is someone whose needs are in alignment with the solution a company offers. In a complex business world, often the customer needs are evolving at a rapid pace.
Especially in a B2B market, where customer challenges are so contextual, it often gets hard to find the right solution out of all the available options. They might come near but not exactly the way it is required for a customer.
And the hard fact is they don’t know until they try. Hence, a customer with an expectation of meeting their needs, buys the product only to find later that it was not meant for them. Such is a case of a bad-fit customer. Where you can’t do anything about it than to just let them go.
What are the benefits of having the right customer?
Apart from the obvious advantage of more revenue generation, which any customer can bring, there are few specific points here.
Retaining the customers for long-term, especially if you are into subscription-based business, is a must for business sustainability. With a customer whose needs are in alignment with your solutions, it becomes much easier for them to continue their relationship with you.
When you have above average customer retention rate, your brand starts acquiring fame through your loyal customers. Companies with a high customer attrition rate find it hard to stay competitive in their niche.
When you have a targeted group for marketing you save dollars from being spent on irrelevant audiences. Your marketing campaigns can target a smaller segment that can produce better results. It is also cheaper and more effective to provide customer service to the right customers.
How to find the right customer?
Customers can either break or make your business. Hence, choosing the right customer base is essential in building your brand. Here are the ten steps you can take towards the same.
- Define customer personas
- Study customer behavior
- Find your most efficient lead generation channel
- Customer segmentation
- Use automated tools
- Unearth their past experiences
- Set right expectations
- Learn from your past clients
- Stand your ground
- Association with other businesses
Define customer personas
Understanding your ideal customer comes first before you set out for a hunt. You must understand their pain-points, challenges, needs and expectations before you approach them for your solution.
By defining customer personas, you can set the right profile for your customer base. This must include their net worth, their challenges and the business value they would gain through your solution.
Study customer behavior
Once you have their profiles in place, you must study their online behavior. Which sites are they interested in? Where do they hang-out in non-business hours? Which groups have they joined in social media platforms?
You must make sure that you become an active contributor of all these online spaces where you can interact with them.
Find your most efficient lead generation channel
There could be multiple channels for your lead generation e.g. Google ads, social media campaigns, content marketing, etc. Find the one that brings you the most qualified leads. Mostly it is through customer education you find the right leads, which means through your business or product blogs. By finding the right channel, you can scale your investment and efforts on it to meet your needs.
For all the different types of customers, you must run different marketing approaches. Running marketing campaigns for everyone would waste your money as well as fetch bad fit customers. Hence, for each customer segment, design a marketing strategy that specifically targets their pain-points and needs.
Use automated tools
Using a CRM would help you know your sales pipeline more thoroughly. You would know where they come from, what business potential they possess and how you can convert them effectively. You can optimize your sales cost and upgrade your sales competency by dealing with different categories of customers.
Unearth their past experiences
You must hold strategic discussions with your potential clients in the initial phase. It is advisable to pull your customer success team for such discussions. Following this, you must learn about their past experiences for the similar solution they are seeking from you.
What outcomes could they not discover earlier? What made them switch? Or if they are new then how their need has evolved to consider your solution?
Set right expectations
In your attempt to gain a deeper understanding of your customer, you must also reciprocate the same for them. They must also know clearly what they can expect from you and what they can’t. It is important to draw a clear picture of your solution that would bring both the parties on the same page. Remember, your aim is to sell the right product to right customer.
Learn from your past clients
In any business, customer churn is inevitable. But a churned customer leaves many important lessons for the vendors for their future use. You must do a proper churn analysis, or the root cause analysis that made them leave you. These learnings must then be leveraged for giving better service to the new clients as well as in their selection criteria.
Stand your ground
You must stay firm in your offerings. Sales team must refrain from bad-selling through over-promises or even worse, selling with a lack of complete knowledge of the product. You must know your product in and out so that you can state its solutions clearly to your customers. For the cases where it doesn’t suit their needs, you must inform them of its lack straightaway.
Association with other businesses
When you don’t find the right fit of solution for any prospect, then don’t stop yourself from referring them to another vendor. Make associations with vendors offering relevant solutions in your niche. When you direct your prospects to them, they would reciprocate the same for you.
Doing the right business with the right set of people, including customers, is a must for long-term sustainability. This will bolster your many customer success metrics which is important to succeed in a business. E.g. through right customers, your average customer lifetime value would be higher. Investors keep a keen eye on such metrics to measure the health of your business.
In a world, where customer-centricity and customer success are becoming differentiating competitive advantages, it is important to get your basics right. The relationship you are going to nurture with your customer would have immense value to your business. Hence, you might as well choose the right customers, to begin with.