How To Improve Sales Performance In Professional Services: Identifying Your Core Client
When professional services businesses ask us how to improve sales performance, we start from the ground up: identifying your core customer. By identifying your ideal group of dedicated buyers, you can take a data-driven approach to service development, marketing, and client success. This, in turn, leads to improved conversion during the sales process; in turn generating increased profitability and overall business growth. In this article, we delve into the importance of defining your ideal client and show you exactly how to improve sales performance as a Professional Services company.
Your Target Audience
Defining your most desirable client profile as part of your growth strategy framework ensures you can target your sales, marketing, and delivery efforts towards that specific group. This means that your resources are used more effectively and your results are more impactful. Generic messages fall on deaf ears; but to have a specific message, you need a targeted audience.
This strategy is also critical for informing your service offerings as you grow and allows you to focus on your niche and target clients, rather than trying to make everyone happy. That way, you can build a strong reputation and increase repeat business, which are both essential for long-term revenue and profitability.
Define Your Niche
Some professional services firms wondering how to improve sales performance are reluctant to establish a niche, instead responding to customers who come to them. This is often due to a fear of giving up potential business, which is perceived as a greater risk than working with a broader group of clients. You might believe that by trying to serve everyone, you can increase your customer base and improve your bottom line. What we find more often, though is that a lack of focus leads to scattered efforts and a lower overall return on investment.
Instead, focus in on that one client profile, so you can provide tailored services, solution packages and experiences to meet specific needs. As a side benefit, you’ll increase client satisfaction and loyalty, drive repeat business and generate more referrals.
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How To Improve Sales Performance by Finding Your Ideal Client
Step 1: Clearly Define Your Sandbox
To define your primary client, you need to first clearly define your sandbox. This includes answering the following questions:
What problems do you solve for your customers?
Identify the problems and challenges that your ideal clients face that your business can solve. This works to better position your services to meet the needs of your target market and create value for your clients. Keep in mind to mention how your solutions can benefit this group. This could include things like deep industry knowledge, cost savings, time savings, increased efficiency, improved quality of life, or any other tangible benefits they will experience as a result of using your services.
What sets your brand apart from the competition?
What sets your brand apart could include unique service offerings, industry specialization, exceptional customer service, innovative technology, or a strong brand reputation. By knowing what sets your brand apart, you can better communicate these differences to potential clientele and differentiate yourself from the competition. By doing so, you can create a compelling and unique value proposition for your target market.
What will you sell?
Be clear on the services and solutions you will offer. This includes defining what specific service or service bundles you will offer, as well as how they will be packaged and priced. By being clear on what you are selling, you can ensure that your solutions are aligned with the needs and wants of your target market.
To whom do you sell?
Identify your target market, which should be a specific group of people with specific wants and needs. This is not an industry, but a person with specific characteristics, such as age, income, location, and interests.
How will you sell?
Determine the channels you will use to generating leads that are your ideal client. For example:
· Outbound sales and prospecting by phone, email and LinkedIn
· Hyper-targeted SEO and digital marketing
· Digital ads through Google and LinkedIn
· Participating in Peer Groups and attending industry-relevant trade shows where your target clients are
· Networking with companies that offer non-competitive services to your target client
· Thought-leadership content, such as books that lead your target clients to your company.
Where will you sell?
In what geographies will you sell your services? This could include specific countries, regions, or cities.
Each of these questions can help you develop a clear understanding of what your business does, who it serves, and how it operates.
1. A technology implementation company that sells Salesforce or Microsoft implementations to CFOs, primarily to telecommunications companies, through a partnership model on the West Coast.
2. An engineering company that works with Product Leads at automotive manufacturers to solve research and product development challenges in the Midwest that sources leads from car shows and automotive trade shows.
3. A cybersecurity firm that works with the Chief Technology Officer of fortune 500 companies might sell by creating thought leadership that outbound salespeople use to generate new conversations and opportunities with potential leads.
Step 2: Define Your Primary Client:
As Robert Bloom shared in his book, The Inside Advantage, an ideal client is not an account or industry, it is a person with unique, identifiable needs.
Once you have a clear understanding of your sandbox, you can move on to defining who this person is. Consider the following:
1. Demographic information, such as age, gender, income, and location
2. Psychographic information, such as values, interests, and lifestyle
3. Behavioral information, such as buying habits and product usage
By considering these factors, you can build a comprehensive profile of your primary client and use this information to make informed decisions about solution development, marketing strategies, and client service.
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Your Ideal Client
The core customer is a person or group of people who purchase your services in a way that generates optimal profitability for your business. They should be present within your existing base, and not just a hypothetical entity. They should be characterized by their unique wants, needs, and fears, as opposed to simply being a company or organization.
Moreover, it should be a pleasure to do business with this person, as they pay on time, exhibit loyalty, and actively refer others to your firm. By identifying and focusing on your primary client, you can create a mutually beneficial relationship that drives the success of your business.
Segmenting your customers is an important step in defining your core market, as it helps you to understand where they fit within your base.
· "A" (Amazing) Clients: They bring significant value to your business and contribute to your overall profitability. They are ideal customers and should be a focus for your growth and marketing efforts.
· "B" (Basic) Clients: They may not be as valuable as your "A" customers, but they still contribute positively to your business.
· "C" (Can't Stand) Clients: They can be more trouble than they're worth. They may require a lot of time and resources, but bring little to no return on investment.
· "D" (Drainer) Clients: They actively drain your business and should be evaluated for termination. They may consistently cause problems and negatively impact your overall profitability.
It is important to coach or cut your "C" and "D" customers, and focus your efforts on your "A" and "B" customers. This will allow you to optimize your business operations and maximize your profitability.
Profiling Your Customer
The process of identifying your ideal primary client involves segmenting your base into different categories and analyzing each person's behavior and preferences. To identify an A-grade client, it is recommended to list 5 decision makers by name and describe why they were chosen. You can also use DISC personality profiling to identify their personality characteristics and primary needs.
Identify their primary need:
· D = to win
· I = to be appreciated
· S = to be safe & loved
· C = to be correct
Additionally, you should look for common traits among these consumers, such as being outgoing or reserved, task-oriented or people-focused, and so on. Once you have identified them, it is easier to tailor your sales, marketing, and delivery strategies to meet their specific needs and preferences. This in turn leads to increased efficiency, improved satisfaction, and increased profitability.
An ambitious business owner aged 30–55 years (high D-need to win) in the South Plains region who understands the importance of staying ahead of the competition. They are driven, motivated, and always looking for new opportunities to grow and succeed. And with a business revenue ranging from $250k to $10 million, they're well on their way to achieving their goals.
However, even the most successful businesses face challenges and vulnerabilities. They may be struggling to find new opportunities for growth, or looking for ways to mitigate potential risks. That's where you come in.
Maximizing Business Success
Defining your ideal client is essential to improving sales performance and increasing profitability. Start exploring and profiling your current clients to see which ones shine as your ideal client so you can define a more intentional strategy.
Join Forces With ALTA Consulting
ALTA Consulting is a leading provider of strategic business solutions and consultancy services. Our team of experts is dedicated to delivering high-quality, tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of each of our clients. Whether you're wondering how to improve sales performance, looking to improve your operations, increase your efficiency, or simply better understand your industry and market, ALTA Consulting is here to help. You can read more about how we help professional services firms boost their maturity consistently to maximize their profits here, as well as more information about practical steps for account growth strategy here. We also have a wealth of information on this topic on our regularly updated blog.
So if you're ready to take your business to the next level, we invite you to get in touch with us today. Our team is ready to work with you to develop a customized plan that will help you achieve your goals and reach new heights of success. Let's work together to make your vision a reality. Don't wait, take action now!