One of my colleagues, Mark Hunter, wrote a great blog about “You Can’t Turn a Wal-Mart Shopper into a Nordstrom Customer.” What Hunter is really talking about is knowing your ideal customer. Not having that knowledge has salespeople along with SMBs working a whole heck of a lot harder and with far less money in the bank.
The problem for all this wasted sales and marketing activity returns to the lack of planning. During the last 18 years, I can attest well over 90% of SMBs and sales professionals have not engaged in strategic planning nor have written action plans for marketing and for sales. The only plan is some dollar figure they want to achieve or a certain level of cash flow.
For some SMBs their ideal customers remain the same while for others they change, they evolve. Right now my ideal customer is an executive, SMB owner or sales professional who is forward thinking and experiencing rapid growth.
This ideal customer profile emerged from my strategic plan where I invested time and continue to invest time. By investing the time to construct my ideal customer profile I gain greater clarity where to prospect and when to recognize a poor fit.
Download this FREE Ideal-Customer-Profile-Template
The other aspect within Hunter’s blog posting goes to value creation. Sales people cannot create value if the customer is a Wal-Mart shopper and they are selling upper end products. The reverse is also true. Those who buy branded items like a “Polo” shirt probably will not buy a generic shirt.
Value is unique to each buyer.
I realize this statement could be construed as hearsay and is contrary to many of the sales experts and marketing experts, but then I never considered myself to be an expect.
What I know to be true and what Hunter also knows to be true is salespeople including SMB owners must have clarity as to who are their buyers. Without this knowledge, there are a lot of Captain Wing Its out there spraying their actions all over the place then praying something will stick as well as far too many sales people using an elephant gun to kill a fly (increase sales).
P.S. Check out Triage Business Action Planning (my answer to strategic planning for SMBs or sales professionals) and receive one hour of executive coaching via the telephone at no charge to you.
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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.