1. Develop the Ideal Customer Profile
A customer profile is what defines the target market for your business, which is why it’s important to start with this step first. Knowing exactly what kinds of companies are an ideal fit for your services will help make sure the rest of your strategy is steered in the right direction.
A customer profile sits at the company level, where you will identify any economic factors, geographic locations, legal standards, etc. that make a customer ideal or not ideal. If you are only trying to find customers that live within 20 miles of your business, then include that in your customer profile.
Note: For a B2C business, your ideal customer profile would be a category of people (e.g., car owners).
Choose only a few key points to use as a base for your customer profile: If you are too specific, the field of potential customers will drastically dwindle, but if you are overly broad, too many potential customers can increase the difficulty and time restraints of weeding out good and bad fits.
2. Create Buyer Personas
When you’ve established your customer profile (e.g., car dealerships with 5+ employees and an annual revenue between $100,000 - $500,000), create buyer personas within that profile.
While a customer profile represents an ideal company, a buyer persona represents a person within that company that you’d like to help. For marketing agencies, the typical buyer personas we target are the VP of marketing and the CEO, depending on the size of the company.
Note: For a B2C business, your buyer persona would be a specific type of person within that category (e.g., first-time car owners, car owners looking to upgrade).
Who are the buyer personas for the companies you are looking to work with? What are their behaviors? What makes them the right fit for your company?
Again, start off simple with a few key descriptions; as you begin to grow your business and identify more behaviors from your customers or clients, you can refine your personas and add more if necessary.
3. Identify Active Buyers and Passive Buyers
Once you’ve established who your targeted buyers are, you’ll have to identify active buyers from passive buyers.
Active buyers are leads who have already begun to identify a problem and are currently researching for possible solutions. They are more prepared to listen to your offer and choose you to help them with their challenge over a passive buyer whose not yet ready to buy. Active buyers who match your customer profile become your leads.
So, who are the active buyers that might be a good fit for your business? You can identify a lead as someone who:
- Calls your company or uses live chat on your website to talk to an employee.
- Reaches out on a social media platform, whether via post, comment, or direct message.
- Fills out a form on your website.
As you find “good fit” prospects, be sure to add buyer context. If you have a customer relationship management (CRM) suite, include information about the buyer’s demographics and interests so that you can have a better understanding of the buyer as the relationship continues.
4. Use Social Selling and Social Monitoring Techniques
Where are all these potential buyers hiding? While some active buyers might already be reaching out to your company for some insights and answers regarding their problem, others might have not yet reached out.
Social media is one of the biggest places your business should monitor for potential buyers who are aware of a problem and are looking for options. On social, you should be cognizant of:
- Users who are mentioning your company or a competitor.
- Users who are mentioning relevant keywords aligned with your products and services or value proposition.
You should also actively publish relevant content on social media so when buyers are beginning their research, your content is there for them.
This content should come directly from your blog so that prospects have a link to your site. The more relevant content you put out for your prospects and those active buyers, the more likely they’ll come back to you for more insight.
But don’t just stop there: Join the social conversation – whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Join the groups your prospects are in, follow industry leaders, and share their content as well.
Once you’ve properly identified the active buyers who are a good fit and defined the buyer persona they fit into, you’ll be prepared with buyer context to move onto the Connect phase of your inbound sales strategy.