Ideal Customer Profile Template
To help find the right target market for your business, our free downloadable ideal customer profile template is the perfect place to help you get started.
Ideal Customer Profile TemplateAugust 23, 2021
In order to successfully sell a product or a service, any business needs to have a good idea of who their target audience is and how to sell to them. You need to dedicate time and effort to get to know who your customers are, why they might want your services and how to reach them.
As a business, you need to spend as much time as possible on a lead generation strategy that will pay off, rather than waste time chasing people who are unlikely to convert into paying customers. Sadly, many businesses do end up wasting time and money on leads that just don't go anywhere. Marketers have found that 50% of their budget gets wasted on unqualified traffic and leads. The best way to counteract is to have an ideal customer profile.
However, it's hard to know where to start and how to do this in the most efficient way possible. Which customer traits do you need to record? And how will you store all this valuable information and make sure that the right people have access to it?
We've pulled together all the information you need to create your own ideal customer profiles. We've also created a handy free ideal customer profile template for you to download and fill out at your leisure.
What is an ideal customer profile?
An ideal customer profile is a detailed, fictional description of your perfect customer. It contains everything you need to know about those who you should be targeting as part of your marketing strategy.
Rather than include details about a specific, individual customer, an ideal customer profile paints a picture of the ideal client likely to buy your products or services. For B2B companies, the profile might include the details of individuals you'll need to talk to in the company to make a sale, such as their job title, age and gender, but generally speaking, you'll need data that will help you to focus on targeting specific companies, or accounts, in your marketing activities.
B2C companies typically focus on creating customer personas based on their best customers, creating an overview of what potential customers will be like based on their current customer base. Every company should have a target customer profile, and you can tailor yours and create multiple personas, depending on your business needs.
Why do I need a customer profile?
You may be wondering if it's worth putting in the effort into collecting and storing all this extra data, and the short answer is yes. By creating different customer profiles, you can be sure that your marketing efforts aren't wasted. Instead of chasing leads that are unlikely to convert into sales, by using a profile that details your ideal customer that is the best fit for your company, you can hone in on your target market and source the high-quality leads you need to boost your sales.
Running a generalised advertising campaign that will be seen by lots of people, but not necessarily the right people, is expensive and a waste of time. Instead, you want to run specific adverts on platforms that you know your customers engage with. This will ensure that your adverts have a good ROI (return on investment) and you don't waste time finding and nurturing leads that will never buy from you.
Whether you have a sales team that stretches across the globe, or you're the head of a small business of one, having a clear description of your ideal customer will help your company be more efficient and reduce customer acquisition costs.
Having an ideal customer profile template will also help you with product development and customer service. By having an accurate picture of who your customers are and their pain points, your product development team will be able to focus on how to improve your service for your existing customers and find new ways to delight them.
It will also help you reduce customer churn since you and your customer service team have a clear idea of who you are serving and how to help them. Keeping an existing customer is cheaper than acquiring a new one, so it makes sense to cut customer churn wherever you can.
Your ideal customer profiles could even help you to anticipate future problems for your customers and work on a solution. These profiles aren't just for your sales and marketing teams, they have the potential to boost performance across the company.
How do I create an ideal customer profile?
If you've never created an ideal customer profile before, then you may be unsure about where to start. Luckily, we've created a simple template that you can download which makes the whole process easy and stress-free.
We've also included a list of the data types that you should include in your ideal customer profile in this article. Use this list as your reference point in case you're worried that your customer profiles are missing any vital information.
Note that this isn't an exhaustive list. If you can think of any other pieces of information that you want to include in your ideal customer profile, then drop them in!
Here are the basics that your ideal customer profile should include:
Firmographics are characteristics that B2B (business to business) companies use to describe their ideal customers and categorise organisations. B2C (business to consumer) companies use demographics, which we'll go into more detail below.
Examples of firmographic data include:
- Company revenue. Do you want to target a large or small business in terms of revenue? A startup or a more established corporate?
- Company industry. What is the ideal industry for you to target?
- Budget. How much cash does the ideal customer need to pay for your service?
- The number of employees. How big is the company and how many people will be potentially using your product?
- Company location. Where is the company based, and do they have multiple locations?
- Organisation type. Is your ideal customer a not-for-profit? Or a public or private company?
Customer demographics are often used by B2C companies, and look at the individual person, rather than the customer as a company. You could also include them in a buyer persona (more on that later) to get a better idea of the individual that you'll be pitching to.
Demographics include data such as:
- Job title
You can include more, depending on the kind of service you offer and the data you need to know.
Psychographics are characteristics that help you understand people's purchasing decisions and why customers buy from you. These are psychological traits that reveal your customer's buying journey. These include things like:
- Lifestyle choices
On their own, psychographics might feel like "woolly" data which is of limited use. However, combined with demographic data, you can build a detailed picture of who your customer is and how to target them in your sales and marketing efforts.
Psychographics and demographics relate to an individual rather than a company or organisation, but they are helpful in getting to know your ideal buyer.
Customer pain points
What are the challenges and pain points that you want to solve for your customers? And how will you solve them with your product or service? When you know the answer to these questions then you can target people who will be a captive audience to your pitch, and you will be able to offer a superior customer experience to your existing customers.
When you understand a customer's challenges, you will be better able to empathise with them and tailor your marketing plans accordingly.
Where are your ideal customers based? Are you in a position to sell your services to clients on a global scale, or do you need to target more local customers? Where your customers are based will also affect how you interact with them, how you advertise to them and how you will support them once they convert into paying customers.
Face to face interaction is important for some, and this might mean that your ideal customer is based in a location that is local to you. However, recent times have shown us the power of video calls and remote working, so this has opened up possibilities for many businesses.
Location doesn't have to be limited to country. You could narrow it down to county, region or city.
Services they already use
Does the customer already use technology or services like the one you're selling? If so, you'll need to think about how you can turn them on to your service.
If their existing service is already a pain point, then this can be a good way for you to show how your offering is superior.
On the other hand, if they already use a service that is similar to yours, and are happy with it, then they are unlikely to convert into a sale and you don't want to waste time chasing this kind of lead.
How to reach this customer
How does your ideal customer like to be engaged with? Can you connect with them informally over social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Instagram? When it comes to B2B outreach, you're dealing with a company, not an individual, so your approach will need to be more conventional. Many companies prefer a more formal approach, and you'll need to remember this from the beginning or risk alienating them by the time you've sent your first email.
You should also consider how you would advertise to your ideal customer. This will prevent you from wasting valuable time, energy, and money on advertising and marketing campaigns that won't get noticed by your ideal customer.
How do I find data for my customer profile?
Now you have an idea of just what kind of data you need, and how much you have to gather, it's understandable if you're feeling a little overwhelmed. However, there are valuable data mines all around, if you know where to look.
If you have a sales team, talk to them. They will know your customers best and will have a wealth of information to share with you. If you don't have a sales team, there's nothing to stop you from talking to your customers yourself. Send out surveys with tailored questions to get the data you need.
Look at the data you have from current customers. If they have been with you for a long time, then they're clearly a success. What made them a success for you? And what characteristics would you like to see more of in your future customers?
If you have any customers that have referred you to others, then these could also be a good source of inspiration.
If you need more general information, then you could also use sources such as ONS or the census to gather data.
What to do with the data you have
Now that you have all this precious data, the last thing you want to do is lose it! You also need to keep it organised, or else it will be an unusable mess that makes no sense to anyone.
You should keep your data in a CRM. Make things easy on you and your sales and marketing team by keeping the data in a single, secure location so that the relevant people can access it, and find what they need quickly.
It's also important to remember that any data you collect should be stored securely, and you and your team should be clued up on the latest data protection legislation. Fines for breaking GDPR rules can be staggering, and you don't want to fall foul of these rules.
When should I create my ideal customer profile?
To prevent you from wasting time on leads that will never convert to customers, it's a good idea to create your ideal customer profile as soon as possible.
Your ideal customer profile can even be a part of your business plan. It will show potential investors that you have a clear idea of your market and who to target and give them more confidence in a return on their investment
Do you need a buyer persona as well?
Ideal customer profile and buyer persona are often used interchangeably. They are closely related, but not the same thing.
A buyer persona focuses on the individual, while an ideal customer profile looks at the ideal company that will buy from you.
Creating an ideal customer profile template will save you time and money when it comes to targeting and acquiring new customers. It will also help you further down the line in retaining new customers and reducing customer churn. They will evolve over the years but by spending a little time and effort collecting the data now, you will save yourself a great deal in the long run.
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