How to Adapt Your Ideal Customer Profile During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Written by Alon Waks on November 3, 2020
What happens when there’s a tectonic shift in the way consumers think, act — and purchase? You may be tempted to throw out your current customer profiles and retool for “pandemic times”, but it isn’t in your best interest to eliminate months or even years of work building your ideal customer profile.
Keeping your current customer profile isn’t the right answer, either. If you ignore the shifts in the marketplace and consumer buying habits, then you are asking for disaster . . . and a significant slowdown in sales. Instead, look for new opportunities to fine-tune your ideal customer profile (ICP). Welcome to the age of the CCCP: the Current Coronavirus Customer Profile.
Retooling Your ICP for CCCP
In a time of uncertainty, the human reaction is to double-down on what you know. Drive more sales through traditional channels. Identify weak points in your current strategies and focus — focus — focus. Buying cycles may be significantly longer as companies attempt to redistribute workloads or consider their own budgets in a different light. When resources and budget are tight and there is uncertainty around buying decisions, now is the time to reconsider your target market, product and service offerings and create a CCCP that will help your company rise above competitors and provide true value to your buyers.
Forecast Challenges and Gaps
It’s inevitable that business shifts can leave your company with less-than-stellar sales. Being proactive and continually looking to future forecasts allows you to rethink your offerings and prospect base before you’re faced with a disaster recovery situation. When you’re looking across your various lines of business, it becomes easier to identify potential gaps and challenges that could derail your sales cycle. No one could have predicted the full extent of the coronavirus impact on businesses around the world. Companies that were unable to change their business model, product mix or ideal customer profile quickly withered away while companies that were nimble enough to shift continued to thrive.
This quick thinking helped fill in sales gaps and find new opportunities in the marketplace that helped companies sustain — or even grow dramatically as in the case of Zoom. Not every company is uniquely prepared to take advantage of this kind of growth opportunity; but there are often hidden opportunities that can be uncovered.
Define Sub-ICPs Around Use Cases
Creating value for your buyers is always a good marketing and sales tactic. That is particularly true of a time when buyers are scrambling to solve immediate problems for their business or attempting to shift their own business models. Buyers are simply humans who are trying to make good decisions for their company. Speaking directly to the needs of a buyer helps to present your solution in a light that feels trusted and valuable. This makes it a much easier buying decision. Defining sub-ICPs around specific use-cases or buyer personas allows you to create marketing and sales messages that will resonate with each group.
Shift Your Vertical
It can be devastating to discover that your target vertical is suddenly on a lockdown in terms of buying — particularly if you don’t have a secondary plan in place to replace that revenue. When this happens, you can often shift your vertical and discover new opportunities that were not as attractive or didn’t even exist. If your focus was on travel and leisure, are there ways that you can shift to focus on entertainment and eCommerce? It’s important to get creative when you’re considering how to shift your vertical.
Zero In On Specific Product Functionality
Key selling points for your product often revolve around a specific functionality or feature of your products. In time of uncertainty, you might want to rethink which aspect of your product leads in your go-to-market strategy. You might be surprised to find that your target audience is much more interested in “X” about your brand, when you’ve been focusing marketing efforts around “Y”. Targeting in on which functionality has the greatest appeal to your revised target audience helps you tailor messaging in a way that will resonate. Without having the right data structures in place, it can be difficult to determine how your audience is reacting to specific message points.
Rethink Your Target Persona
Building a business model around targeting specific customer personas is a great step, but what happens when you need to shift? Suddenly looking at a new group of buyers may mean you don’t have the right information to target your pitch. Delivering generic sales pitches rarely leads to success, and can ultimately frustrate your audience and lead to a negative perception of your brand. Studies show that 71% of companies that exceed their revenue goals have taken the time to document buyer personas and use them in their sales and marketing tactics.
Getting this right requires having enriched buyer personas in place, which requires a focused effort on getting the right data. Everything from automating your nurture campaigns to the blog and social media content that your marketing team produces can be tailored to the unique needs of your target personas — but only if you have the right information available in your database to accurately identify these leads.
Shifting Customer Profiles Can Highlight New Opportunities
If you asked a technology vendor who specializes in remote access technology if they thought schools and smaller universities were in their market a year ago, they likely would have laughed at you. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the US, these suddenly became key targets for IT vendors due to the confluence of:
- Need: Schools and universities suddenly needed to retool their service offerings for a socially-distanced world.
- Budget: Governments and school districts were well-funded, with grants available to quickly upfit their business models.
- Time: Schools had no choice. They had to deliver education to children on a tight timeline — virtually.
Smart IT companies took advantage of this opportunity and pitched workable virtual teaching and connection options to these schools and universities. While larger campuses and those colleges with remote learning already in place had the jump, millions of grade-school children were suddenly without access to education when the world “went virtual” in early 2020. Without the quick thinking and action of some technology companies, their competitors would have landed these lucrative accounts instead.
What’s important is that this “perfect fit” wasn’t about upselling something that the schools may or may not need. This was so successful because remote communication technology companies realized that there was a need and were able to retool their models and selling requirements to provide exactly what the target audience needed.
Finding the Right Opportunities for Your Business Requires Clean, Consistent Account Data
Instead of focusing on the wealth of sales opportunities, look for ways to zero in on the ones that are right for your business — at this moment and beyond. Putting a strategy into place is the first step, but then you must have the right information available to reach these ideal customers for your brand. That requires a clear focus on capturing, standardizing and using data from demographics to customer behavior. The RingLead platform was created to eliminate data duplication and clean your data, leaving you with the best and most actionable customer information for your brand.
This is particularly important for B2B businesses utilizing account-based marketing. It’s all too easy to over- or underestimate your market size if you’re incorrectly categorizing individuals to accounts. With a holistic view of prospect accounts that includes titles of individuals, size of the business and other key metrics, it becomes easier to target those companies matching your ideal customer profile. Learn more about RingLead and how to connect to your customer through better data when you request a demo online.