The SET Blog

Define Your Ideal Prospect

A healthy pipeline helps you meet your sales targets. So, will getting a crazy number of customers into your pipeline result in huge success for your team?

Well the answer is yes… and no. Sales teams need healthy pipelines to achieve growth but chasing anything that moves and stuffing anyone you speak to into your sales pipeline won’t make it healthy. Having a large number of customers who don’t fit your ideal customer criteria will just prevent your team from reaching their peak performance.

A huge number of poorly qualified prospects won’t turn anyone into that sales superstar. It will most certainly end up in pure frustration trying to sell to someone that isn’t looking to buy anytime soon. However, in an ideal world, if all the prospects sitting in your pipeline do fit the ideal customer criteria, then a crazy number of the perfect prospects might just turn your company into the next billion-pound business.

Remember these five facts about customers and we can assure you, you will have a healthier, more manageable pipeline.

– Customers should be at the core of your sales process.
– Not all customers are the same.
– The customer isn’t always right (yes, we said it).
– There will always be a wrong type of customer.
– Having more customers with the ideal criteria will result in more profit.

Now let’s join these facts together;

Start by determining the ideal customer then focus your company’s time, talent and more valuable resources to engage this type of prospect.

So what happens now?

– Conversion rates improve.
– The sales cycle speeds up.
– Customer attrition rates decrease.

How can SET help you understand what makes an ideal prospect?

People may have the need or want for your product but that doesn’t instantly qualify them as a customer. Many youngsters want a Ferrari and most of the time feel like they need one, but Ferrari as we know will ignore the enthusiastic consumer in favour of a highly niche market that they can do business with. However, some people and companies who are unaware your product or service even exists might eventually turn out to be long-term customers. It’s pretty obvious that successful businesses rarely sell to everyone. The larger your market, the greater the likelihood you’ll waste your valuable time with undesirable products or services.

You need to find, engage and nurture the best type of customers for your business. This way, you will be able to focus precious time and talent on areas that will generate the most value.

So how do you determine that ideal customer?

The ideal customer should be one who has the best strategic fit across the board. The ‘fit’ is the ‘sweet spot’ representing the following areas;

– The product meets your customer’s needs.
– Your teams sales cycle mirrors the customers buying behaviours.
– Your pricing model agrees with your customer’s budget.

At this point begin identifying your ideal customer criteria by reviewing any historical data, reviewing all metrics and answering lot’s of key questions with everyone on your team.

– Which type of customer results in the best conversion rate? What are the common attributes? (size, location, industry, ect).
– Which customer needs does your product or service suit best? What type of customers have this in common?
– Which type of customer delivers the highest amount of profit?
– How are buying decisions processed by customers that you are most successful at selling to? On average, how long does it take these customers to make a decision?

SET will help you answer these questions. If you are already using SET, one extremely useful feature you can use to map out your ideal customer is SET’s ability to track won and lost opportunities. Putting together a list of lost deals can help you identify the main reasons as to why you lose deals. Extracting won deals will show you a list of customers your team can profile and understand which vital steps were taken in closing that deal.

While sales is pretty much a numbers game, the statement ‘more is better’ is actually untrue. Ok so, having more prospects does generally mean you might close more deals but only when the prospect has been fully qualified. If not, a large number of unqualified leads can quite easily divert your company’s limited resources in the wrong direction.

Further reading...

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