The email inboxes of B2B executives are already filled with so much marketing clutter. Decision-makers are often only interested in sellers that know exactly who they are and what they want.
Yet the people who actually might be interested in buying your product or service also play a big role in your target market.
Although each prospect is unique, your target audience will have some traits in common, based on industry, location, company size, etc.
Creating customer profiles for these prospects is crucial for your marketing campaigns—and in the end, your sales. Focusing on segmented groups of potential customers not only saves time and resources but the marketing campaign as a whole.
Let’s take a look at what exactly B2B customer profiles are, how to create them, and how they can make or break your marketing campaign.
What is a Customer Profile?
A customer profile is a document that outlines specific characteristics of who is interested in purchasing your product or service. These detailed descriptors give a framework for marketers (and sales reps) to address specific challenges from prospects, attract them to your brand, and craft tailored messages.
Personalized marketing campaigns—built with these customer profiles in mind—guide marketers through the day-to-day needs and challenges of their prospects.
In a nutshell: Customer profiles give your marketing team a steadfast starting point to the buyer cycle.
How do they compare to buyer personas?
Although buyer personas are used interchangeably with customer profiles and have a similar function, they are a different kind of outline. Buyer personas are individualistic, fabricated descriptions of target customers created to personalize the connection between marketers and their audience pool.
Customer profiles are based on current and past customers, while buyer personas are built from various data sources.
A customer profile is: A C-level supply chain executive from an eastern Canadian mid-market manufacturing company, making around $10 million a year in revenue.
A buyer persona is: Marie from North America who often deals with delays in the supply chain due to tech stack incompatibility, while her procurement team spends $10,000 a year on supply chain software.
The Benefits of Creating Customer Profiles
Creating customer profiles benefits marketing teams who are suffering from low conversion rates, wasted product marketing resources, and low-quality leads.
More specifically, the following can happen when you apply customer profiles to your marketing campaigns:
Easier lead generation – You can find new leads that are fit for purchasing in a more effective way when you’re directly speaking to them instead of trying to reach a mass audience.
Streamlined lead qualification – Turning down leads won’t feel like such a hit since they don’t fit your ideal customer profile—higher conversion rates can mean less unqualified leads engaging with your brand.
Better customer loyalty – Customers who feel understood and personally catered to will stick around. In fact, more than three-fourths (77%) of B2B sales and marketing professionals believe personalized marketing experiences make for better customer relationships.
More attractive content – Content with broad topics might bring in more readers, but not more leads. Targeted content excites leads within your audience—sometimes enough to engage with one of your sales or marketing reps.
Cheaper advertising – It’s no secret—broad, popular search terms like “business software,” or “sales intelligence,” are expensive for ads. But more niche terms like, “mobile CRM software,” or, “competitive lead intelligence,” generally have a lower price tag and attract your segmented audiences.
What’s Included in a B2B Customer Profile?
In order for a customer profile to be effective, it’s essential to include in-depth buyer insights. They help you understand the whys and hows of making purchasing decisions, and what they experience in day-to-day operations.
This is done by gathering firmographic data which typically includes:
- Job title
- Current tech stack
- Location (headquarters and branches)
- Territory map(s)
- Employee size
- Sales cycle length
- Revenue (annually and quarterly)
- Seniority hierarchy
Executives and decision-makers are going to be the most important target prospects, but knowing who works under them. Targeting management position leads has possible success when they have access to those decision-makers.
5 Steps to the Customer Profiling Process
Here’s a sure way to mess up a customer profile—guessing.
What you think or perceive your ideal customer’s traits encompass could take you off the path to a successful buyer cycle. You might be surprised at what you find!
Even if you don’t have much to go off of current or past customers, there’s analytics to gather from such as website visitors, social media interactors, content downloaders, webinar attendees, and more.
So let’s get down to creating a customer profile with these five steps:
1. Identify your best customers
Customers stay in contracts because they’re satisfied with what you offer in product and in customer service. Let’s say your company sells accounting software that specializes in advanced finance analytics.
With your CRM, find out which customers have been with your company for the longest, paying the most, engaging with the most content (especially events and webinars), and left the best feedback.
And let’s say you pull 100 accounts with 25 of them overlapping in tenure, revenue contribution, and engagement.
2. Analyze customer analytics
All of this information on those 25 accounts is quantifiable—but it’s useless unless you organize them in important categories such as the firmographics mentioned (job title, location, etc).
Though you’ll find obvious common factors between these accounts, there may be things that have flown under the radar. Of course, these customers run financially-based organizations that need in-depth information on finances.
Lo and behold, your customers not only run financial companies, but they specifically cater to enterprise-level businesses in international headquarters. How did your marketing team not know?
3. Collaborate with your sales team
Your marketing team is convinced that data operations executives are the exact folks to target for your accounting software. But according to your account executives, it’s been the internationally-based procurement directors and VPs that have closed all of the deals.
Consider this: nearly 58% of sales and marketing teams that have aligned agreed that they’ve seen improvements in customer retention. Valuable insights can be gained from both sides of the funnel—what happens at the final stages with sales teams can look completely different from what marketers experience at the top.
4. Survey your best customers
Now that you know a little more about your customers, it’s time to send surveys to them for more three-dimensional insights—getting valuable information straight from the horse’s mouth.
Some important questions to ask in the survey include:
- What drew you to our product/service?
- Who is typically involved in purchasing decisions for your company?
- What solutions has our product or service solved for your company?
Now let’s say you get survey results from 10 of those 25 accounts and they collectively agree that your accounting software is great for international collaboration (compared to your competitors), their buyer groups are typically C-level executives based in their headquarters, and your software has helped streamline company-wide financial operations.
5. Fill out your new customer profile
Now all that is left is creating the actual customer profile—it’s time to cozy up to the drawing table and design that blueprint.
Your company’s ideal customer profile includes prospects that:
- Primarily deal with financial operations
- Are headquartered in international locations with multiple branches
- Serve enterprise-level customers
- Conduct business in the southern hemisphere
- Make purchasing decisions with C-level executive buyer groups
- Engage with accounting-related content
- Have a budget of $15,000-20,000 a year for financial software
Don’t forget to save everything (EVERYTHING) in your CRM!
Get the Best B2B Leads with a Solid Customer Profile
After creating your customer profiles, make sure to share them with executives, sales and marketing team leaders, and business partners. Customer profiles are also a great starter for creating buyer personas, which give a humanized touch to your potential prospects.
Although we’ve described customer profiles as blueprints, it’s also like a treasure map to the final trove—revenue.