What does your ideal customer look like? It’s probably someone receptive to emails and phone calls, right? In fact, they’re always happy to hear from you. When you introduce new products and services, they’re quite interested. This person does their due diligence and then makes a fast but well-informed buying decision. They don’t buy from you just once, either, but again and again. They even refer friends, family, and colleagues to you, driving new business.
That defines how your ideal customer looks like, but the real customers you have don’t always fit that mold. In fact, your customers come in all shapes and sizes, with a varied history of responsiveness, receptivity, engagement, and buying behavior.
While it may seem like your customers all run the gamut, they’re probably more alike than you realize. They’re similar enough that should you create some sort of audience profile, you could probably fit most of your customers into a handful of different profiles.
If you’ve never used a target customer profile before, you’re not going to want to miss this ultra informative guide. In it, we will clearly define what this means of customer profiling is and how it can benefit your sales. We’ll also share examples and client profile templates and tell you how to use our social CRM at EngageBay to make your own profiles today.
What Is a Customer Profile?
Let’s begin with a customer profile definition. Some people refer to them as avatars or personas, but no matter the name, these profiles are like a blueprint into your customer’s mannerisms and behavior. You take your real customers, aggregate their most standout traits, and then use those traits to create a profile.
This profile assists both your sales and marketing teams. Your salespeople will know the kind of personality they’re working with before they ever pick up the phone or click the “send” button on an email. With that handy information, they can plan which sales approach to take and which ones to avoid. For instance, if the profile says this person hates talking on the phone, then the salesperson would probably email instead of call. They’d also avoid cold calling.
These profiles help marketers as well. By understanding things like a customer’s life stage, shopping behaviors, and more, the marketing team can sit down, figure out the smartest methods for reaching this audience segment, and then plan their marketing approach.
Okay, so you understand that making these customer avatars or profiles involves you dividing your audience into personality groups or segments. There are two categories you can use to this end: market research categories and more basic categories. Let’s start with the categories for market research first.
First, we’ve got the ACORN classification. This has five subcategories that go from A to Q. As a means of segmenting by geodemographics, ACORN takes its information from taxonomy and census data.
The five categories are as follows:
- Category 1, the Wealthy Achievers: A, Wealthy Executives; B, Affluent Grays; and C, Flourishing Families
- Category 2, Urban Prosperity: D, Prosperous Professionals; E, Educated Urbanites; and F, Aspiring Singles
- Category 3, Comfortably Off: G, Starting Out; H, Secure Families; I, Settled Suburbia; and J, Prudent Pensioners
- Category 4, Moderate Means: K, Asian Communities; L, Post Industrial Families; and M, Blue-Collar Roots
- Category 5, Hard Pressed: N, Struggling Families; O, Burdened Singles; P, High Rise Hardship; and Q, Inner City Adversary
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Life Stage Groups
Much more simply, you can split your audience by their stage in life. There are only four categories here:
- No family/pre-family, which includes non-parents 45 or younger
- Family, which includes families with children 16 or younger
- The third age, or those 45 to 64 years old who have children 16 or younger
- Retired, those 65 and older who are empty nesters
When categorizing by ABC1, you’re seeking the decision-maker in the company. The reason this means of segmenting is called ABC1 is that it refers to a means of taxonomic dividing. In other words:
- A is the professional, administrative, or higher managerial senior
- B is the professional, administrative, or intermediate managerial head
- C1 is the professional, administrative, junior managerial, clerical, or supervisory person
- C2 are those skilled manual workers
- D are unskilled or semiskilled manual workers
- E are the disabled, elderly, unemployed, and/or chronically ill
Other, less complex categories for segmenting your audience include:
- Benefits sought or dividing your audience according to the shopping benefits that are the most important to them
- Geodemographics, a combination of demographics and geography
- Geography, or where a person lives
- Generation, or the generation a person comes from (like Generation Y, millennials, etc.)
- Psychographics, which relate to a person’s voting behavior, opinions, attitudes, personality, life stage, and lifestyle
- Product usage or brand affinity, aka those brands they prefer most
- Socioeconomics, or a person’s association memberships, neighborhood, occupation, education, and income
- Demographics, which include a person’s ethnicity, race, gender, and age
How Making Customer Profiles Can Boost Sales
You have several ways of segmenting your audience in the form of customer profiling now, but you may wonder, why do it? Sure, it seems like it can help your sales and marketing teams to a point. These types of profiles also seem like a lot of work, though. Can’t you just skip it?
Absolutely not, at least not if you want your sales and marketing campaigns to succeed. Here are some convincing reasons you’re going to want profiles of your customers to further your business.
Understanding Your Customers Means Understanding Their Pain Points, Too
Think of your closest friends. At one point, they were strangers to you. Through getting to know them, the two of you became closer. It’s sort of the same thing with each new customer that comes through your sales pipeline. You have to get to know them so you can ascertain what their problems or pain points are and how you can help them with your products/services.
It’s one thing if you’re getting to know three people as friends in a social setting. It’s a whole different ball game when it’s hundreds of new customers coming in at one time.
With customer profiling, you have neat groups into which you can assign these new customers. Each profile has its own set of pain points you can review. These more universal pain points have easy solutions thanks to your products.
Understanding a customer’s pain points is key to creating a long-term business relationship. It’s also crucial if you want to make a sale and even repeat sales.
You Waste Less Time on Unsuccessful Tactics, Driving More Sales Faster
Most marketers and salespeople don’t like cold calling because of the uncertainty of it all. Well, when dealing with a new potential customer for the first time, there’s still uncertainty. At least if you don’t have a profile in which to work off.
After all, with no profile, you don’t have much if any info about this person. Are they a careful, conscientious shopper or someone who knows what they want and goes for it? Do they like to email or phone calls better? Do sales pitches work on them or do they require a more humanistic approach?
If you don’t know, then you’re going to throw a bunch of things at the wall and see what sticks. This wastes time. Imagine you went into an interaction with a new customer and you knew mostly what they liked and what they didn’t already. You can discard tactics that don’t work and close the deal faster. When you’re guessing in the dark, sales come at a much slower rate. Even when you find something that works with one person, there’s no guarantee the next customer would react the same.
That’s why making profiles for your customers helps so much. It cuts out a lot of guessing busy work.
Forging a Solid Professional Relationship Could Lead to Repeat Business
Imagine yourself as a consumer for a moment. Which type of salesperson would you prefer: one who is confident in what they know about you or one who’s clearly guessing around and wavers? It’s the former, right? Of course, it is.
When you speak with a new customer and you’re confident you can solve their problems, you have a chance to forge what could become a strong working relationship. Compare that with being uncertain about what the customer wants. The customer will play off your energy. If it’s contagious and positive, they’ll feel positive as well. If you’re not even convinced you can sell to this customer, they won’t be convinced to buy.
Then, through nurturing and engaging the relationship, your customer could continue buying from your company for a long time to come. As we said in the intro, this happy customer may refer you to others in their life who could become your customers as well.
Ideal Customer Profile Examples
All this talk about customer profiles has you eager to see some yourself. No problem, as that’s what this next section is for. We’ll share some ideal profile examples for your perusal. When combined with the next two sections, you’ll be raring to start making your own profiles soon! You’ll also have all the tools for doing so.
The Demographic-Based Buyer Persona
Image courtesy of AeroLeads
This Sample Sally profile has a lot of useful information all packed into one. We get such handy demographics as her neighborhood, income, age, and gender. We also learn that she’s married, has children, works in HR, and has been in the same field for about a decade. Through the profile, we can get glimpses into her personality as well. Sample Sally likes printed and mailed collateral. She more than likely works with an assistant who screens her calls. If you can talk to her, she’s quite calm.
Image courtesy of Fit Small Business
If you work in a specific industry, such as weddings, then your profiles would be less general than Sample Sally. For example, there’s this profile for a wedding cake shop. The theoretical customer here, Becky, is in her early 30s and described as “a young professional.” She likes to be reached on social media (Pinterest, Facebook) and through email, no phone calls. Becky also wants a memorable cake with a “unique flavor,” but she doesn’t want this part of planning her wedding to be a hassle.
Shopping Behavior-Based Profile
Image courtesy of Template Business
Next, we’ve got a profile that’s based on their shopping behavior. It’s Pamela Power Shopper. She’s a 32-year-old woman who’s married and has two children. Based in Austin, she’s a stay-at-home wife whose husband makes a lot of money. Pamela Power Shopper has a college education.
She’s considered an “expert level shopper” who does most of her shopping online, including gifts for loved ones and household items for the family. Pamela loves event reminders, trending, and popular items, solid recommendations, and product inspirations. She does not like going out to shop or dealing with high taxes and delivery charges.
Business Executive-Based Profile
Image courtesy of Pinterest
Our last example involves a profile for a high-power business executive. His name is Steve and he’s nearly in his 50s. Steve is a CEO for a very big, wealthy company and has a decade of experience in his role. He’s described as innovative and communicative, using social media and email.
The pain points for this customer persona include lack of competitive pricing, other people making buying decisions, and a service team’s size. Steve also hates excessively large fees.
Customer Profile Template
Now that you’ve seen an ideal profile or two, it’s time to work on your very own. This can seem daunting if you don’t have the experience, but don’t let yourself be deterred. We’re happy to present our very own handy, dandy, trusted template for you. It has four steps and a lot of questions you can ask yourself as you build the profiles of your customer segments. Let’s get right into it.
Step 1: Reviewing External Attributes
The first phase of creating your template is reviewing the external attributes of your company’s products and services. External attributes relate to a product’s external features and properties. These attributes may include how well-maintained a product is or its reliability.
As you seek to assess the external attributes within your company, you can begin to template out your customer profiling by asking yourself the following questions:
- What market does your product best serve? To answer this question, look at the product itself and what it does. Also, think of the price. Is it something only affluent users can afford or is priced for middle or even lower-class consumers?
- What specific vertical do they operate in? Business verticals can include industries like media, financial services, travel, retail, and more. Certain verticals are more profitable than others, so think carefully on this point.
- How many employees do they have? To be considered a small business, you must have 100 employees or less. Mid-sized or medium enterprises may have up to 1,000 employees. A large company then is any with 1,000 employees or more. Fortune 500s may have thousands and thousands of employees.
- Where are these companies located? Often, the size of a company will determine if it has more than one location. If it doesn’t, then that can limit a company’s reach. Bigger companies with multiple headquarters, including those outside of the United States, have the most expansive reach.
Step 2: Studying Contextual Details
Next, you want to move on to the contextual information in your customer profiling plan. This information, as the name tells you, provides context to your goal. These questions include:
- How big is their team? The larger a team, the more members on it. A comprehensive team can include salespeople, marketers, and customer service representatives. On a smaller scale, a team might have just one salesperson and one marketer. The duties these respective jobs call for can be a lot for one or two people to juggle, which can limit success.
- What are the biggest challenges they face? Now it’s time to get into pain points. As you saw in the last section, pain points will vary from industry to industry and person to person. Challenges can also change as our lifestyles and the technology around us continues to evolve.
- What technologies are they using? Speaking of technology, it’s important to assess this as well. Some people are more old-school and only use email. Others embrace all elements of today’s tech, including social media, smart technology, even virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
- What are their goals for the next three months? Short-term goals like those in a span of three months are good to know. You could have an opportunity to align your products/services as a solution in the short-term. Then you can prove they’re a long-term solution as well.
- What are their goals for the next year? Whether striving for a new position, a career shift, or something in that vein, knowing the long-term goals of your customers will also allow you to design your profiles more accurately.
- How do they assess problems? What one person views as a problem is not always the same as another. How seriously they perceive a problem clues you in on which of your products or services this person would be the most receptive to.
- What does a perfect world look like to them? Is it one in which they have all the money in the world? Perhaps they don’t have to work anymore. A perfect world could be as simple as one in which they face no daily challenges. Whatever it is, tuck this information in the back of your mind for now.
- What impact does the specific problem have on the team? Do team problems restrict the number of leads or sales a company could achieve? Perhaps it limits the marketing reach of the company. If a problem is very severe, then there could be a stronger need for your products or services.
- How are they trying to solve the problem today? Of course, if a company has a sizable problem, they’re rarely going to let it sit and fester. What have they done thus far to try to fix the problem? Why hasn’t it worked? What, if anything, could they do better? Which products or services could benefit them in solving the problem? Does your company sell these products or services yourself?
Step 3: Developing Personas
Next, we’ve got the stage where you begin making the actual personas. Here are some little bonus questions that will help you tighten up your customer profile and make it that much more effective. Let’s go over these questions now:
- What titles do these people hold? Keep in mind that not everybody works. For example, earlier, we talked about Pamela Power Shopper. She’s a housewife. Whether someone holds a paid title will influence how much they shop. Their occupation and title also have a role in shopping behavior. Pamela Power Shopper does her shopping online because she’s at home taking care of the kids. An executive who works late might also favor online shopping because they lack the time to go to stores.
- What is their age range? A hip new product likely won’t appeal to the older audience set as much as it would those who are younger. Also, a younger demographic might not have as much money to spend as an older demographic would. They’d like online shopping more and might make more impulsive buying decisions than an older demographic. Those in this age range tend to do their research and may meditate on a decision before pulling the trigger.
- What is their education level? Although it’s not always true, those with more of education tend to hold higher job positions with a better income. They may also have more of an interest in certain products or services of yours over others.
- What is their average annual income? Having this information lets you sell to a customer accordingly. You wouldn’t market a pricy product towards someone making little money. They’re going to turn you down and you could end up losing their business for good due to such a gross mismatch.
- How will they use your product or service? Is this something that could really change their life for the better or is it a product/service they’ll only have a need for occasionally? Depending on the answer, the way you’d sell the product/service would be different. For instance, you could promote it as a high-urgency item or something with less urgency.
- On what marketing channels can you reach them? Will they pick up the phone if you call them or do they prefer email only? Do they use social media enough that they’re responsive to contact attempts on there? Do they like in-person meetings or do they shy away from them?
- What are the key responsibilities for their role? This information informs you where your product or service could fit into the daily lifestyle of your customer. For instance, if you sell coffee machines and this person works long hours, then you can position your coffeemaker as a great way to get the energy they need to start their day.
- What role do they play in the decision-making process? If this person doesn’t get any say in what decisions will or won’t get made, then they’re not the one you should be selling to. You want to target decision-makers or those who can influence decision-makers.
Step 4: Introducing Your Products/Services
In the last phase, you get a clear-cut picture of the alignment between your products/services and your customer. Here’s how:
- What value do you provide for these customers? Why should they use your product or service in the first place? You get money out of the deal, but the customer should get a high-quality, useful, valuable product that will last.
- Can you solve their key pain point? How? Now that you’ve identified their key pain point(s), it’s time to make an honest assessment. Are your products/services the right fit for this person? How?
- What features differentiate you from competitors? Is it a homegrown process? Is your product is homemade or of exceptional quality? Perhaps you have an ironclad warranty or even awesome customer service. Whatever it is, these become your biggest selling points. Focus on them and accentuate them as much as realistically possible.
- How does your solution fit into their short-term and long-term goals? We talked about this before, but you want yours to be a product or service that a customer would use for a long time, not just for a few weeks or months. Make sure your product/service aligns with a customer’s future goals.
How to Create a Customer Profile Using EngageBay
To create your own customer profile with EngageBay’s CRM today, follow these steps.
Step 1: Sign up with EngageBay
While you never need to pay for an account to use our free sales CRM here at EngageBay, all our other features do require a paid membership. Our plans are inexpensive, especially compared to other services like HubSpot. In fact, that’s how EngageBay began, as an affordable alternative to HubSpot. We offer an all-in-one suite for your sales and marketing needs, so why not sign up if you haven’t already?
Step 2: Add Contacts
In the Marketing section of our EngageBay software, click Contacts. All the contacts you create will be stored here. You can filter contacts and save a series of filters you can apply anytime. For instance, you can filter contacts by location, how they arrived to your site, and much, much more.
If you don’t yet have any contacts, make sure you add them in now. Type in their first name, last name, email address, phone number, and company name. The more info you have, the better!
Step 3: Filter Contacts
Create your own filters now. To do so, on the Contacts page, move over to the right side of the page where you see your filters. Then click + Add Filter. Next, choose the filter name. You can make filters by data like social media or website feed, the date you uploaded the contact, their status, role, star value, or lead score. Play around and see which filter category works best for you.
Step 4: Supercharge Your Marketing and Sales with Your Customer Profiles
Now that you have means of filtering your customers as needed, you can begin sending out offers to your audience profiles. The products and services you recommend to them will be extraordinarily targeted and thus more likely to earn you the sale!
Having a customer profile takes the guesswork out of selling. You know more about the customer’s background, their occupation, their location, their shopping behavior, and their pain points. You can then take all this useful data and put it towards nurturing and engaging with the customer and guiding them towards a sale.
With a CRM for small business like that offered at EngageBay, making and filtering your contacts list becomes easier than ever. If you’re not already creating profiles for your customers, you’ll find it’s easy and beneficial to start. What are you waiting for?