How to Define Your Ideal Client: Developing a Client Profile (Template & Tips)
Do you struggle with attracting ideal clients?
Have you ever wondered why other agencies seem to win your dream accounts?
Let's be honest, growing a marketing agency is tougher than it seems.
There's likely not a day that goes by that you don't try and figure out how to get the right customers to notice your company, and what to say to win them over.
In this post, I'll show you how to do both.
You'll learn how to define your ideal clients. You will then use this information to improve your sales and marketing, and finally, how to attract and win your best accounts over.
Let's get started.
You Absolutely Must Have a Client Profile, Here's Why
Let's not beat around the bush here—most agencies struggle to find clients on a regular basis. And there's plenty of evidence to prove it.
For example, 60% of Hubspot's Agency's Growth report respondents named it as their agency's biggest pain point:
Similarly, The State of Inbound report by Hubspot, confirmed that lead generation remains the top marketing challenge for businesses:
Not to mention that many agencies complain about their struggles with positioning in the market regularly too. And if you ask me, the primary factor behind this is a lack of understanding who your ideal clients are.
Now, I admit that most agencies would have some idea about their target audience. It could be an industry they typically work with or company size, but such targeting is simply too broad and makes it difficult to grow.
For one, as research shows, only 1 out of 10 people in your target market would actually require your help. The remaining nine, although meeting the general target characteristics, are unlikely to need an agency's help.
Targeting a broad audience can often use a significant portion of your resources, but the question is: can it deliver any meaningful return?
It's doubtful—after all, if 90% of your marketing message is being ignored you'll be spending money and time reaching potential clients that will never convert.
And so, defining who that one lead who is most likely to become a client will help you:
Plan and launch more successful marketing campaigns.
Optimize your marketing communications, including the language you use and how you communicate relevance to your prospect's needs.
Reduce the marketing spend and the customer acquisition cost (CAC). Specifically, you'll be able to achieve this in two ways: one, by not wasting resources on audiences that will never convert; and two, by attracting ideal clients with whom you can build longer business relationships.
Improve your sales process and sales strategy. For your sales team, understanding your ideal client's pain points means knowing exactly what to say a prospect in order to win them over.
Create more relevant content. This way, every blog post or guide is targeted to only attract the most qualified visitors.
Boost lead generation and save time on low-quality leads and tire-kickers.
So how do you define them? You guessed it, by creating a profile for your ideal client.
You've probably heard of buyer personas or customer profiles. Creating a client profile isn't that different, it means simply focusing on specific characteristics that are important to the client & agency relationship.
So, let's get started on creating your client profile.
Creating the Ideal Client Profile: What Information to Include
#1. Professional Profile
A common business misconception says that when selling, you target companies.
The reality is, however, that every business is made up of people. They work in different positions, have various responsibilities, and so on. The key to your sales success is simply being able to connect and engage with these individuals—not the entire company.
That's why I always recommend starting with understanding who your target personas are. To uncover this information, define the following:
The person's role.
Skills they require to do their job.
Typical responsibilities and how is their work measured.
Who do they report to?
Who else might be involved in the decision to hire you?
For example, let's say I'm targeting VPs of Marketing at construction companies. Their professional profile would look like this:
Role: VP of Marketing
Skills: Planning, persuasion, writing, and diplomacy to help navigate through office politics.
Typical responsibilities: Developing and implementing a marketing plan, managing long-term goals for various teams, and so on.
Reports to: CEO and CFO
This information would then help design both the sales message, and the sales process to engage these prospects better.
#2. Problems, Challenges, and Pain Points
Remember, your goal is to learn enough about a person in order to engage with them more effectively. The next step is to understand their problems, challenges, and pain points that would drive your client to hire an agency.
Let's use the VP of Marketing in a large building company as an example again. The person would likely face several challenges, including:
Generating more inquiries that convert into sales-ready leads
Prioritizing marketing strategies
Measuring marketing effectiveness
Demonstrating the value of their work to the C-Suite
A managing partner in a small, ambitious law firm, however, would have different needs. They might want to increase the number of open cases without being actively involved in the process, or position the law firm as cutting edge in the industry.
You also don't need to limit these customer drivers to marketing goals. Keep in mind there are many other reasons that clients look for an agency.
Is your target client an entrepreneur running a business on their own? Their primary driver may be that they're simply too busy to manage all marketing tasks. When you understand this and pitch your services as a way to reduce their workload, it will resonate with the prospect much more.
Understanding their drivers is going to be crucial to how you pitch yourself to prospects. When you understand why specifically they are looking to hire you, you'll be able to align your services with their goals in the sales process.
#3. Personal Characteristics
There is an undeniable correlation between how well you connect with clients and the success of your agency.
Michael Port explains it this way in his amazing book, "Book Yourself Solid"
"When you work with the clients you love, you'll truly enjoy the work you're doing; you'll love every minute of it."
And for that reason alone, I believe, your client profile must include characteristics you value in people.
A few questions will help you gather the right information include:
What do you value in people in general?
What are the personal characteristics of your best clients?
What do you have in common with your best clients?
What makes you excited about the prospect of working with them again?
#4. Company Information
Finally, consider where your ideal clients work. Particularly, look for similarities that define a niche or specific business type to whom you deliver your best work.
For example, consider the following:
Is there one industry you deliver your best work in?
Common company sizes?
What is their typical sales process? This information will help you design a campaign aligned with their buying process.
How do they look for vendors and what process do you have to go to start working with them?
When defining the company information, this is the time to consider whether you are you going to be a niche or general marketing agency?
There are countless examples of SEO agencies that focus on a specific niche with enormous success.
When you work within a niche, it's easier to pitch yourself as a marketing expert in that industry.
You'll also know where to focus your attention. What Facebook groups or trade shows does your target client participate in? What type of events cater to this industry?
Of course, there are downsides to a niche agency too. That being said, use your client profile template as an opportunity to explore and define your industry.
Where to Find All This Information?
You have two sources at your disposal. One delivers unquestionably the most accurate insights, and the other requires you to assume a lot about your clients.
Nonetheless, let's discuss them both.
The most valuable data source for your client profile is, of course, your best clients—current and former.
If you want to attract people similar to them, it makes sense to mirror the client profile of the best clients you've ever had.
You have several ways to gather the information you need about them:
Interviews: Call these clients and ask them about their pain points and characteristics directly.
Email conversations: If you can't talk to them in person, review your emails, meeting notes, etc. to find answers to the questions above.
CRM data: You should be able to see a lot of insights about them in notes, deal comments and emails saved there too.
However, you might just be starting out. As a result, you don't have any client history to draw insights from. Or you want to shift your focus and attract completely different customers from now on. In that case, use Google to research and learn more about those people.
Although you may not find the most accurate insights, the following sources might help you learn more about your target audience:
Industry research or reports. Ideally, focus on documents published by industry associations and other professional bodies.
Customer discussions on online forums, industry communities, Q&A sites, etc.
Job sites. Reviewing relevant job descriptions will help you discover your ideal client's responsibilities, skill sets, and challenges.
Putting It All Together: The Client Profile Template
I know, creating a client profile—from collecting all the information and drawing necessary conclusions—can be challenging at first.
To make this essential task a little easier, we've created a client profile template to guide you through the process.
The document lists all the information you need to collect, and then, organizes it for you into relevant insights.
Give it a try, and start landing more of your ideal clients!
Written by Joe Kindness
Joe is the CEO of AgencyAnalytics, but often spends his day programming, designing or executing marketing tasks. And like most Canadians, he can be found playing or watching hockey!