Sales strategy and planning are critical to executing business objectives and achieving sales quotas. A vital component of a sales strategy is a clear definition of an ideal client. Too many plans fail or underperform from failing to understand who your perfect client is.
When organizations get this right, they maximize their resource allocation, sales utilization, and potential. Here is where mapping software can transform your results. It enables, sales, sales operations, and marketing to see ideal client locations and spot opportunities to ensure you optimize field sales resources, align sales territories and optimize sales routing.
In this article, you'll learn:
- How to define your ideal client
- How to use mapping software to help you visualize ideal client locations and new sales opportunity hotspots
How to define your ideal client
Let's start with the basics that every business can apply. Below is a list of critical questions you can ask. Remember, you may not have industry research or detailed statistics available to answer all the questions. But if you have customers, you'll know how it feels to have those who value what you deliver and those that are low value, have no brand loyalty and focus on price, not results.
What pains do you address for customers?
How do you find this out? Ask and listen to customers. eSpatial engaged in extensive research to understand the triggers that prompted customers into action to look for a solution. We listened to over 200 sales discovery calls over a 3-month period. We transcribed the conversations, and it revealed insights that lead to us redefining our ideal client and value proposition.
What industries and organizations have those specific pains?
You need to avoid the "every industry" answer here. Research shows that, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses, niche positioning is more successful and profitable. Also, from a more human perspective, it is easier for your customers to understand that you are experts in making rockets (it is specific) than engineering experts (it is too general). So think about a perfect fit industry where you know you can address their specific pains.
Mapping software can help you see the "where." Its the key. By understanding your ideal customer locations, you can build sales plans to exploit that opportunity.
Below the map shows us our prospect locations:
Which industry and or group of organizations should you prioritize?
In this example, we will focus on the logistics industry.
What size are your ideal clients (revenue, employees, patients, beds, PCs)?
Are there enough of them in your region to justify your focus?
What personas own the pains?
It is common to focus on the decision-makers in your Sales Process, but it is also important to understand who "owns" the pain point. They may not sign off on the order form, but they have an important role, so they should be included in your ideal client definition.
For example, IT may own the pain point for data security yet have a low level of engagement in an organization's buying process.
If you map out all those affected by the problems you help solve, you can build a more robust Value proposition.
What personas own the impact/result if you solve their pains?
To illustrate this point, let's focus on an eSpatial use case. Our territory management software, eTerritory, is built for sales operations teams who want to design optimized and highly efficient sales territories. One persona (or stakeholder) who benefits is the sales rep. Better-designed sales territories are proven to generate higher revenue for reps, which means they hit quota more often.
Write out the list of personas impacted by your solution.
What will be their key drivers to enable them to say yes?
(Key Business Drivers such as sales growth, profitability, capital productivity, cost efficiency, operational effectiveness, competitiveness, customer satisfaction/experience, and sales/marketing excellence).
Often a buying process is triggered by an event or key business driver. You must have a deep understanding of the business drivers on your ideal client's priority list.
How do you differentiate your product or service from competitors?
You will be familiar with the concept of a unique selling point or differentiator, but have you identified that one key benefit that separates you from your competition?
A great exercise to help you is to write out the following:
- Tangible benefits of your product or service
- Intangible benefits of your product or service
Intangibles often carry more weight for your ideal clients. A sense of security is intangible, but if you can show that your product or service is a more secure investment choice, you will win a greater share of opportunities.
As you list your tangible and intangible benefits, cross out those that you share with competitors. You should end up with a smaller subset of benefits that can frame your differentiated Value proposition.
What specific pains are solved by your differentiator?
You have identified differentiators and now specify in detail how they solve problems or pains for your ideal clients.
Quantify the impact of addressing each pain point
You'll need to build a return on investment or business case for ideal clients. So how can you quantify the impact of solving their problems?
Take a look at this ROI calculator for our eRouting tool. As you'll see, a customer can generate value by using a route planning tool in multiple ways. Can you apply a similar approach in calculating your value to customers? Remember too to calculate the value of your intangibles.
What are the consequences to your ideal client if they do nothing?
Those of you with a sales and marketing background will understand how often deals are lost to “doing nothing” or the status quo. Doing nothing can work. But it is a little like waiting to buy a fire extinguisher after you have had the fire.
Spend some time analyzing how “doing nothing” could impact your ideal customer. As part of your Sales Process, you should discuss openly the impact of not changing.
For example, poorly aligned sales territories can still deliver results but will not deliver optimal results. So what is the cost of not optimizing your sales territories? On average, it ranges from 7% -12% in lost revenue.
When will they look for you?
You worked on this earlier when you outlined the key drivers for your ideal client, but also consider seasonality. Some businesses, like retailers, have strict “buying windows.”
Government departments often spend more near the end of their financial year.
What is the lead time involved?
The lead times can be 18 months or more for many Enterprise level sales. It is important that you understand the lead times involved for your ideal clients. One truism is that you cannot force your ideal client to fit your timeframe. You will need to adjust to their decision-making timeframes. So what are they?
Are they willing to pay for your product or service?
You may have the best product or service in the world, but you will always need ideal clients who can afford it. Be clear on "who" is willing to pay and what it is they value.
What level of competition will you face?
Here is where mapping software excels.