All Prospects are Not Equal: The Importance of Targeting Your Ideal Clients
A well-thought-out strategy is essential in any business that wants to grow. Where does one begin? I’ve found the best way to solve a strategic problem is to start with the end in mind. Who do we want as clients? And, conversely, who do we not want to have as clients going forward? Not all clients are created equally. You may say that your services are needed by all businesses, and you are “industry agnostic”. That may be a true statement, but your marketing can’t be so general to reach “anybody and everybody”. By narrowing in on your most desirable clients, it’s easier and more effective to market to them. As you may have experienced, getting the right message to the right targets is challenging enough with the amount of messages they receive every day. Being clear on who they are and what to say that will engage them will help you create the right connections to build your pipeline.
Who is The Right Who?
Your marketing strategy begins with understanding your Ideal Client: The Who. It may be true that many different types of prospects could use your services, but being all things to all people doesn’t work when trying to market to everyone. Rather, to engage with the right prospects, you’ll need to get specific about who your Ideal Clients are. The most desireable clients are profitable, bring in high revenues and are a good fit for your company.
As you consider your current and past clients – are they all the same? Which ones brought in the most revenue? Are those the same clients that were profitable, or did you have to price the engagement too low to get the deal? And what about fit factors – are they all the best clients for your business? Let’s look at each of these elements that drive the Ideal Client type.
Revenue is King
While every client brings in revenue, sometimes we won’t see a pattern arising if we’re taking on too many small projects or engagements that have lower revenue figures. Often we get tempted to say yes because we have a hot prospect but it’s not ideal. Money coming in is good, right? The challenge is the time we spend on the smaller clients and projects keeps us from targeting and nurturing the more ideal clients, particularly the ones with higher revenue.
Profitability is Critical
How often is a client engagement profitable for you? Did you have to price it lower than you normally would to fit the prospect’s budget? Or, we find out later that it is taking more time to work with a particular client, more hand-holding causing delays and investing more time than expected. It’s important to track past and current clients on both revenue AND profitability because you can have one without the other. We’re looking for both high revenue and high profitability to meet our Ideal Client criteria.
Fit Factors are Essential
As you think about your favorite clients, which factors come to mind? Were they respectful to you and your employees? Did they pay on time? Do they see your value and refer you to others? Identifying the clients you love to work with and want to replicate drive the fit factors for your Ideal Client targets. And, seeing clearly the clients you’ve had in the past that were not a good fit starts your list of “qualifying out” attributes to look for when you have your discovery calls. These are the prospects to respectfully say “I don’t believe we are a good fit”, and have a few referral sources you can send that prospect to that is a better fit for them.
Creating the Ideal Client Profiles
Once you have your Ideal Clients types identified, reflecting high revenue and profitability and strong fit factors, then you can look at additional demographic factors that complete the profiles. Consider tracking the following criteria:
- Decision Maker Title
- Age Group; Gender
- Company Size (revenues; number of employees)
- Referral Sources (both the individual person that made the introduction and networking group source)
We often work with three targeted Ideal Client targets based on the high ranking revenue, profitability and fit factors. Once we have the profiles complete, we know the “Who” we are looking to reach. And we know why they are ideal. Marketing will be more efficient now that we have focused in on the types of prospects we want to attract that become highly desirable clients.
Be sure to download my free guide “4 Must-Do Actions to Attract Your Ideal Clients”, a great worksheet to track your client history information that will lead you to your first step in your marketing strategy – Your Ideal Clients. Click here to access your free download.