How to Define Your Ideal Client: Developing a Client Profile (Template & Tips)
Do you struggle with attracting ideal clients?
Wondering why other agencies always manage to snatch your dream accounts instead?
Let's be honest, growing a marketing agency is tougher than it seems.
I bet not a day goes by without you trying to 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 then, attract and win your best accounts over.
You Absolutely, Utterly and Unconditionally Must Have a Client Profile. Here's Why.
Let's not beat around the bush here. Most agencies struggle with finding clients.
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, also by Hubspot, confirmed that lead generation remains the top business challenge.
Not to mention that so many agencies complain about their struggles with positioning in the market regularly too.
And if you ask me, no other factor is behind this more than the 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 too broad and makes it difficult to grow.
For one, as research proves, 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 uses up your resources. But could it deliver any meaningful return?
I'd doubt it. After all, 90% of your marketing message would fall on deaf ears. You will be spending money and time reaching potential clients that will never convert.
And so, defining who that one lead who will become a client will help you:
Plan and launch more successful marketing campaigns.
Optimize your marketing communications. From the language, to how you communicate relevance to your prospects needs you'd quickly identify clients with whom you have a good fit.
Reduce the marketing spend and the cost of acquisition (CAC.) And you'd be able to achieve this in two ways. One, by not wasting resources on audiences that would never convert. And two, by attracting ideal clients with whom you could build a much longer business relationship.
Improve your sales process and sales strategy. For your sales team, understanding your ideal client's pain points would mean knowing exactly what to tell a prospect to win them over.
Create more relevant content. This way, your every blog post or guide would attract only the most qualified visitors.
Boost lead generation and save time on low-quality leads and tire-kickers.
But 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. This is simply focusing on specific characteristics important to a 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.
Think about it. Any business is, in fact, made up of people. They work on different positions, have various responsibilities and so on. And the key to your sales success is simply to be able to connect and engage with those individuals - not the entire company.
That's why, I always recommend starting with understanding who are your target personas.
To uncover this information, define the following:
The person's role.
Skills she requires to do her job.
Typical responsibilities and how is her work measured.
Who does she report to?
Who else might be involved in the decision to hire you?
For example, let's say I'm targeting VPs of Marketing in construction companies. Their professional profile would look like this:
Role -- VP of Marketing
Skills -- Planning, Persuasion, Writing. But also, diplomacy to help her navigate through office politics, and get buy-in for marketing.
Typical responsibilities: Developing and implementing a marketing plan,,anaging long-term goals for various teams, and so on.
Reports to: CEO and CFO
The above information would help me design both the sales message, and the sales process to engage these prospects better.
But of course, there is more.
#2. Customer Drivers
Remember, your goal is to learn enough about a person to engage with them better. The next step is to understand the 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, I believe, would face several challenges:
To generate more inquiries that can convert into sales-ready leads,
Prioritize marketing strategies,
Measure marketing effectiveness,
Demonstrate the value of her work to the C-Suite, and more.
A managing partner in a small, ambitious law firm, however, might have different needs. She might want to increase the number of open cases without being actively involved in the process. Or position her law firm as cutting edge in the industry.
And you don't need to limit the drivers to marketing goals. Keep in mind there are other reasons that clients look for an agency.
Is your target client an entrepreuner running a business solo? Their primary driver may be that they're too busy to manage all marketing tasks. That's their specific reason for hiring an agency. When you understand that and then pitch your services as way to reduce their workload, it will resonate.
Understanding their drivers is going to be crucial to how you pitch yourself to the clients. When you understand why specifically they are looking to hire you, you'll be able to relate to them better during 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.
Unfortunately, I cannot offer many examples in this section. The things that make you "click" with someone will be different than mine.
However, these questions should help you gather the right information:
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 would define a niche or specific business type to whom you deliver your best work.
Consider the following:
Is there one industry you deliver your best work in?
Common company sizes?
Their typical sales process -- How do they hire agencies. This information will help you design a campaign aligned with their buying process.
How do they look for vendors, what process do you have to go to start working with them?
When defining the company information, this is the time to consider - are you going to be a niche 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 partipate in? What type events cater to this industry?
Of course, there are the downsides to a niche agency too. But 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. The other requires you to assume a lot about your clients.
Nonetheless, let's discuss them both.
And the best data source for your client profile is...
...your best clients, current and former.
Think about it, you want to attract people similar to them. And so, it only makes sense to mirror your client profile on the best clients you've ever had.
You have many 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 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 the Internet to learn more about those people.
Although you might not find as accurate insight there, the following sources might tell you more about the people you target:
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 -- collecting all the information and drawing necessary conclusions -- seems hard.
So, to make the task a little easier, we've created a short client profile template to guide you through the process.
Download the Client Profile Template
The document lists all the information you need to collect, and then, organizes it for you into relevant insights.
Give it a try. Download the client profile template now.
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!