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Sales Strategy
Dec 15, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

No one has time to chase leads that aren’t going anywhere. That’s why figuring out the profile of your ideal customer is critical to prospecting and feeding your sales pipeline. Knowing your ideal customer is also important for social selling when you need to ascertain the types of content to share to appeal to potential buyers. But what is an ideal customer profile anyway?

Essentially, a profile of your ideal customer is a fictional company or persona that you have created to serve as an amalgamation of the qualities and characteristics that businesses who would be interested in your product or service share. Creating a fictitious profile doesn’t just help marketing create advertising and content, it helps salespeople quickly figure out which businesses are a good fit for your solutions and which aren’t.

In short, creating a profile of your ideal customer is important for sales because:

  1. It provides a filter for your pipeline;
  2. It helps you focus your attention on leads that will buy;
  3. It helps you develop resources and content ahead of time;
  4. It can help you solicit referrals and recommendations;
  5. It can provide you with valuable insights about real opportunities;
  6. It helps you choose the right tactics and strategies when approaching decision makers.

Here’s a Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Profile of Your Ideal Customer

Step One: Make a List of Your 10 Best Customers

  • Best doesn’t just mean that they spend the most money (though this is part of it).
  • Best also means that the customer see great value in your product or service;
  • And it also takes into account those who are loyal and recurring.

Step Two: Find Common Attributes

  • Look at your list of customers and ask these questions to find common attributes. Try creating a spreadsheet to tabulate your results:
    1. Size of organisation (think revenue, # of customers, # of employees)?
    2. Industry?
    3. Age of organisation?
    4. Location?
    5. Job titles used within the organisation?
    6. Organisational values?
    7. What problem are you helping them solve?
    8. Why is your solution appealing to them over others?
    9. What’s their buying process like?
    10. How do they position themselves in the market?
  • The list could go on and on. But use these questions as a starting point to help you find commonalities.
  • Use this list to help you create a profile of your ideal customer e.g.

10 to 20 staff

$500,000 to $1,000,000 revenue

Tier 2 manufacturer

Less that 10 years old
1 or 2 locations
Located in Ontario

Step Three: Create Buyer Personas

  • Now you have an idea of the business you are selling to, you need to create buyer personas, because remember, you sell to people, not businesses. A buyer persona is another fictional creation; this time representing someone who would be a decision maker working for your ideal business customer. Give them names like CEO Carla, Marketing Manager Michael, or Project Manager Pam, to really help you envisage them.
  • These personas help you empathise and get into the head of your customers, to understand their pain points, motivations, and purchasing decisions. They help you choose the right move and tactics.
  • To create each persona, use the information from your previous list and ask yourself:
    1. What are their specific goals/motivations?
    2. What challenges/pain points do they face?
    3. Where do they find out information about products/services?
    4. What are the best ways to engage and communicate with them?
    5. Do they make purchases by impulse?
    6. Can they make the decision alone or do they need approval by committee?
  • Using all the data you’ve collected, you can start to create your buyer personas. E.g. CEO Carla’s goal is to bring stability to her business, she’s been facing uncertain times. Because of that, she doesn’t want risky propositions and will take time to come to a buying decision. Your solution will appeal because of its proven track record and high standing in the industry - it’s a safe bet. She finds her information online and in print and is not active on social media. The best way to communicate with her is email and phone. She has the power to make her own decisions but feels more confident when she has buy-in from her senior team or a referral.

By following this process of creating a profile of your ideal customer, you’ll not only create efficiencies in prospecting and lead generation, you’ll also have much better insights into the real people to whom you are selling. In this way, you can use the information to make better communication choices.

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