Have you ever planned something out so that it would make accomplishing an end goal easier?
Maybe you make a to-do list of chores for the day or map out specific tasks in order to complete a project?
Building out ideal client profiles is the same idea — creating something in the short term that will help you market and sell to your audience in the long term.
Ideal client profiles are crucial for any account based marketing (ABM) strategy, and are important for understanding your customers better.
But how do you determine which existing clients are good, and which ones were just too difficult to secure? It all comes down to building out client profiles.
What Is An Ideal Client Profile (and why you need them)
An ideal client profile should inform teams about potential clients that would make good prospects, as well as which ones aren’t.
While your ideal client profiles are fictional characters, they should be based on reality. That is, they should be determined using interviews, case studies, and research on past and current clients.
Similar to your ideal customer profiles (ICPs), ideal client profiles allow you to construct marketing materials and content that are highly relevant to top-of-funnel clients. Client profile information can tell you who to go after, as well as how to go after them.
Basically, it’s like ICPs but on a larger scale.
Below are some of the key benefits of using ideal client profiles in your sales and marketing strategies:
- Personalization: Everyone’s favorite buzzword. Once you know what your client base looks like, you can personalize everything from blog posts to your actual website to fit their specific needs and interests.
- Segmentation: Understanding commonalities within your client base allows you to segment lists. Once you’ve segmented your list of clients (i.e grouped them into categories based on similar traits), you can develop different, and more personalized, campaigns across channels.
- SEO and Keyword Research: Coupled with intent and behavioral data, you can begin to incorporate the specific keywords and phrases your ideal clients are searching for into published content.
- Improved Sales and Marketing Alignment: Instead of requiring prospects to cater to your sales and marketing processes, you can start to mold your strategies around prospective customers. Once you know who your ideal customer base is, sales and marketing can sync on their strategies to make sure these prospects are receiving cohesive content and communication.
Template for Building An Ideal Client Profile
As we said earlier, ideal client profiles are fictional representations of your best clients. But just like buyer personas, they should be based on real data. But what kind of data should you be focusing on? What information is relevant to the client/agency relationship?
Below are some actionable steps you can take towards creating your ideal client profile.
1. Client Data Collection
As with most things we write about,the first step is turning to the data.
So, the first step here is going to be collecting information about your pre-existing top-tier clients. You might be thinking: okay, what should I be looking for in a “top-tier client?” What does that even mean? Some questions to ask yourself when figuring this out are:
- What are your biggest/most profitable accounts?
- Which clients had the shortest sales cycle?
- Do you like working with the client?
Those three questions can help you easily distinguish the great from the not-so-good.
2. Client Interviews
Interviews and case studies are a great way to build rapport with clients in addition to providing you with both qualitative and quantitative information. Data gathered from interviews balances out the number-heavy information, and allows you to paint a more holistic picture of the client.
If interviews aren’t doable, you could also gleam information from customer surveys. The key with any survey or interview is to keep the focus on the client experience related to you and your business/product/service. Here are some good questions to ask:
- How have you benefited from our product?
- What would you say to others who are on the fence about buying our product?What would you change about our platform?
3. Look at Competitor Reviews
Depending on what business you’re in, competitor reviews can be quite valuable. When you can see where the competition missed the mark, you can make sure your company can fill that void.
You can also partner with complimentary businesses who target the same audience to compare notes and information about client bases. If you choose the right partner, you can potentially identify blindspots in your strategies or even find new segments you weren’t previously considering.
4. Compile Information and Create Your Ideal Client Profile
The time has finally come to start building out a picture of your ideal client profile! While this process may look different for different companies, a general template to follow looks like this:
- Client background information
- Client demographics
- Client communication practices
- Client goals
- Challenges faced
- Client objections to the product/service
- Sales cycle
Of course, you can add categories to suit the needs of your company. Additionally, sales and marketing departments should collaborate during this process to ensure alignment and synchronization of strategies.
While similar to buyer personas, your ideal client profiles are on a larger scale and focus more on accounts rather than individual buyers. The best way to start building out your client profiles is simply by getting to know your most successful current clients. When you have a feel for who your client base actually is now, it makes it easier to plan for future ones.
If you’re starting from scratch, start by looking at your buyer personas, and then figure out which larger accounts they are coming from. Ultimately, ideal client profiles are a feature of account based marketing (ABM) that is sure to pay off in the long run.