1. Define your target personas
Figure out what your ideal customer is. Have a think about your best current customers, they may not be the biggest names but they pay on time and are profitable. What characteristics do they have that neatly fits your business. What characteristics make some customers a ‘bad fit’ ie they’re never satisfied, too big or too small or just plain hard work. Narrow your target markets down to tightly defined customer segments. Identify common characteristics and reasons to purchase. Build personas of your ideal customers. Personas should include individual’s profile (age, background, educational, role), business as well as personal motivations, any specific challenges, how and where do they consume information and what the desired outcome will mean for them as well as their business. Define Your Target Personas and share with your team.
2. Document your customer journey
The most critical step is to get into the mind-set of your customer, their pain points and how they research potential solutions, narrow the field, gain buy-in to preferred solutions and justify the final selection. The initial step is probably something like problem recognition – they accept that there is an issue to be resolved. Without this crucial step, you’ll be selling a solution to a problem that might not exist. Following on from problem recognition, a potential customer might research potential solutions by speaking to colleagues or peers. They might investigate industry analysts or trade media to get a feel for potential solutions. This will be prior to narrowing down their potential options to specific solution providers, shortlisting and then engaging. Key for your business will be documenting your customer’s journey so that you can try to influence them along the way.
3. Generate compelling content
For each step of the customer journey, produce compelling content to help a customer through their purchasing process. At the earliest stage, a customer may need help recognising and defining the business problem to be solved, whereas at later stages of the journey a customer may need help to short list potential providers.
For any successful content plan it is critical to consider what is the customer looking for at different stages. For example, while researching potential solutions, an authoritative article describing the problem and a range of potential solutions is more likely to resonate than an overt sales pitch at this stage of the process. Once a customer has shortlisted potential solution providers, they may well be more interested in your product and how it fits their needs better than competitors.
Think through the types of content needed for each personas and each stage of the purchasing process. Create 1 piece of content for each persona and stage.
4. Automate your process
Distributing content efficiently and tracking responses is vital to any effective customer acquisition strategy. Sending out overt bulk sales emails to a loosely defined contact list is probably going to be un-successful for many businesses. However, a drip program of education and informative information aimed at helping the customer through their purchasing journey – without sales messaging. -is likely to be better received and lead to better results.
Streamline as much of your process as possible using tools such as Jeffrey AI alongside your CRM and marketing automation platforms. Automation not only delivers efficiencies to reduce costs and increase volumes, it releases your team to do higher value tasks and provides management with the data to continually optimize performance.
Email is just one channel. Most CRMs and Marketing automation now centre around the prospect or customer themselves. So you can segment your contact list into your personas and micro-vertical target groups, send them communications via a range of email, social, phone and other routes and monitor the effectiveness over time. Don’t rush. Customers will engage when they are ready and not before.
5. Review & refine
To get a continuous stream of highly qualified sales leads, management need to review and refine their process on an ongoing basis. Focus in on conversion metrics in order to identify how many leads are required for each customer. Monitor the time from initial contact through to closed sale to shorten sales cycles. Keep an eye the cost of each stage to improve customer acquisition costs and compare to customer profitability in order to grow your business predictably and profitability.
Take a look at how Jeffrey AI can optimize your lead qualification process.