For an effective growth strategy, you need to have the right customers in the right sectors, locations and businesses.
This doesn’t just mean identifying people who need or could benefit from your service. It involves focusing on the people who will offer your business the greatest lifetime value.
But how do you find out if your current customer base is serving your business as well as it could?
Take these 4 customer strategy steps to ensure you have the right customers to position your business effectively for growth.
Use statistics to analyse the market
One really effective way you can analyse your current and prospective customer base is to carry out a statistical analysis of the market.
So, if you’re trying to sell your product or service to commercial buildings, you can use analysis to discover insightful information about all UK commercial premises .
For example, if you’re looking for a quick decision, you need to get to the decision-maker fast, rather than having to go through a gatekeeper. You might be better off focusing your efforts on owner-occupied properties. That way, you’ll cut out a large proportion of buildings, so you’re targeting a more focused group.
And that isn’t the only step you can take. You can also use analysis to break down your customers and potential customers by:
Size of business
This will enable you to gradually eliminate businesses that fall into categories that don’t meet your requirements, leaving you with a clear market segment where your efforts could potentially meet with success – and profitably.
Create a 'universe' of viable prospects for your business
All these statistics can be used to create the 'universe’, according to your business – it’s a pie chart market overview with the different segments of your target audience.
In creating your universe, you’ll see whether your current customer base is distributed proportionately, or whether there are gaps where you could be missing out on valuable business.
It’s also an exercise that is really useful in demonstrating how much resource you should be spending on each sector.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Define your ideal customer
Once you’re clear on the sectors where your efforts should be focused, you need to define an ideal customer for each. You can build up a picture of your ideal customer, which can be broken down into the following categories:
Location – The geographical location where you’re most likely to succeed, and the areas where you shouldn’t be wasting your efforts
Turnover – Your product or service might be best suited to a small or medium-sized business, or a blue chip organisation – or perhaps different turnovers in different sectors
Employees – Your ideal customer might have a large or a small number of employees; different sectors of your target audience could vary in size
Personas – You can identify which decision makers and influencers within these companies will be involved in the purchasing process, so you can target the best ones with the correct messages
Once you’ve incorporated your picture of your ideal customer into your business’ universe, you have an accurate picture of your target audience.
Implement a strategy to convert prospects from leads into customers
The next step is defining a strategy to ensure your ideal customers become your customers in reality. In doing so, you should focus on three areas:
Raising awareness and authority
So perhaps there was an area revealed as part of your universe in your market analysis – commercial buildings occupied by restaurants, for example – where you don’t currently have any customers. If that’s the case, the first step you need to take is to increase awareness in this sector with a targeted content, social media and PR strategy. Raising your profile will help you establish yourself as an authority in your field, so these businesses are more receptive to your sales approach.
You’ll also be able to start generating new leads, whether it’s through channels like your website, advertising, direct mail or email, or telesales.
Finally, you might have an established customer base in a number of areas. But that doesn’t mean your work is done. It’s crucial to maintain an effective retention strategy. You should also ensure that you’re able to cross- and up-sell effectively, targeting your customers with customised content and marketing, and rewarding loyalty where appropriate.
Don’t forget that all these areas should constantly be feeding into a database (customer relationship management software – CRM – ideally) – ensuring that you have an accurate, insightful and ever-growing picture of who your customers are, what they want and how you can provide them with it.
And the end result? You’ll soon see the rewards as you generate more leads and sales, and successfully grow your business.
by Lindsey Witcherley Apr 2, 2015
Director at Cognition. Over 20 years industry experience working across B2B and B2C markets. Specialises in digital marketing and HubSpot strategies across multiple sectors.