Who do you NOT want to sell to?

Mary from Magnify shares – More inspiration from attending Wellington’s ‘Kiwi Landing Pad’ Sales and Marketing Jam, organised by the amazing John Holt and Sian Simpson!

Today’s blog is inspired by Lauren Vaccarello, VP Marketing at Box.  A key building block to effective marketing – which leads to effective selling – is to define the Ideal Customer.  Think carefully and ask yourself:

  • How would you describe the ideal customer?
  • What attributes does this ideal account have? (size, vertical, revenue)
  • What are their key objectives?
  • What are the key buying triggers that drive them to take action?
  • What are the main reasons that accounts do not buy from us?

Lauren then made a very important point – ‘What constitutes an account you absolutely can’t sell to?  I.e. – Who do you NOT want to sell to?  Why?’

All businesses want to grow their sales and profits.  Growing sales does not mean that we should go after every potential client.  Some clients will exactly fit our ideal target customer persona, other will only meet some of the traits.  In our haste to grow sales, we can sometimes forget that not everyone is our customer, and that some opportunities are better than others.

Start-ups especially need to focus their energies.  How worthwhile is it to spend sales time with prospects who do not fit your ideal target customer?  Each business owner and salesperson has to answer that question for themselves.

Consider this – each of us only has so much time, and often finite sales resources.  Small and medium businesses need to think carefully about their sales and marketing expenses.  To maximise ROI, we need to do some good hard thinking.

It’s worth going after the best opportunities – the low-hanging fruit.

Spending your sales and marketing budget, and energy, where your ideal target customers are, means that new clients will:

  • Be excited by your solutions
  • Buy into your recommendations, thus achieving best possible results
  • Be able to pay your invoice
  • Be delighted with your service
  • Refer their friends and business contacts, who probably also meet your ideal target customer profile

Spending your sales and marketing budget with clients who miss some of your key criteria, means that new clients may:

  • Be challenging to keep happy
  • Resist buying into your recommendation, thus achieving lesser results
  • Be slow to pay, if they pay at all
  • Be happy, but probably not as delighted as ideal target customers
  • Have lower quality referrals, as their contacts are probably like them (lacking some your key criteria for your ideal target customer)

In short – if they’re not your ideal target customers, they’re probably going to be much harder work to win, to keep, to profit from and to enjoy partnering with.

Another great point Lauren highlighted is the importance of building ‘an integrated campaign that is everywhere your customer is’.  Specifically – your ideal target customer.  Think about these questions:

  • What social media are they following?
  • Which websites do they visit?
  • Who do you know who knows them?
  • What meet-ups/conferences do they go to?
  • What industry associations do they belong to?

When you know the answers to these questions, you can work out how to effectively communicate your key marketing and sales messages.

Targeted sales efforts are always the most well-rewarded.  Figure out who your ideal target is, where they are, what their ‘hair on fire’ customer problems are – then go after them!  You’ll have much more fun working with them, and they’ll be so pleased that you found them!