BlogPost 6328044643 What are 'ideal prospects' and why are they the only prospects that matter?

What are 'ideal prospects' and why are they the only prospects that matter?

 

It’s tempting when you’re seeking out new clients to try and reach everyone. After all, 30 prospects will always be better than 5 prospects, right?

Wrong.

It might sound like an obvious concept, but many marketers find themselves reaching out to everyone that they possibly can in order to bring in that all-important revenue.

The problem with this tactic, however, is that if you’re trying to reach everyone then you’re not targeting your ideal prospects.

But who are your ideal prospects?

These are the people that find solace from the services you offer; they want everything that you want to give them and they’re open to using you to solve the problems that your products and services are designed to solve.

Everyone else is just noise, getting in the way of those ideal prospects. Some of them might benefit from your services, but most of them aren’t looking for your help, or they’re looking, but your values and services just don’t align with their needs. They might well listen and take in what you have to say, but ultimately, you’re talking to a bunch of dead ends; wasting not just your time but theirs, too.

The problem in marketing, though, is that so many of us are spending all of our time and budget on this noise.

We get it. Turning away anyone that might be a potential customer is unnatural. It’s scary and it feels like a waste, but if they’re not an ideal customer then their lifetime value (or LTV) will be limited - if they even turn into a customer at all.

It costs more money to acquire new customers than it does to maintain existing customers, and so this so-called ‘revenue’ that you think you’re earning with this non-ideal customer will more than likely end up costing you money in the long run.

By appealing to everyone, there’s a high chance that you might alienate the prospects you actually want to reach - the ones who have a high LTV and will stick with you for a prolonged period of time. There’s a reason, “jack of all trades, master of of none” is such a common (and negative) phrase. Marketing experts want to see you as the thought leader in your field, but if you don’t have a field then you’re unlikely to resonate with anyone at all.

So what’s the solution?

Start putting all of your energy into your ideal prospect.

As B2B marketers, we’re all familiar with the concept of personas, and at some point you’ve probably created a document stating who you should be targeting.

What we don’t often consider when creating these personas, however, is who is most likely to invest in your service or product. And of those most likely to buy, who is most likely to be overjoyed with you once they have committed to the investment. You and the ideal prospect will fit together like two pieces of a puzzle - perfectly designed to work in unison.

So while the average persona will target a fairly good prospect, it’s taking it that little bit further that will see you attracting the ‘ideal prospect’.

To do this, you need to decide on:

  • A demographic. That is, the size of the company and the industry they work in.
  • Structure. In other words, their market position, growth strategy etc…
  • Behaviour. How they make decisions, their levels of innovation, their main areas of focus.
  • Situation. Have they recently seen a change in management or a plan to enter a new market? Have they recently struggled to implement a new lead-gen strategy?

By focusing on these aspects, the vagueness that usually surrounds a persona starts to come into focus, and suddenly you become accutely aware of exactly who you want to be selling to.

Once you’ve figured this out, it’s important to also hone in on the metrics you want to be measuring - the ones that really matter.

In all likelihood, you’ll find that by narrowing your target audience down to only your ideal customers, vanity metrics such as web traffic, social media likes, video views etc start to decrease.

This sounds like it could be an issue but in reality, it makes very little difference when it comes to converting your prospects.

The metrics that matter will all improve.

So what are the perfect metrics?

Click-through rates, positive reviews, open rates, time spent on each page, conversion rates, and email opt-ins are all worth measuring and they will all increase when you start to focus on your ideal prospects.

Sure, the number of marketing qualified leads may reduce, but that’s simply as a result of targeting fewer people, and the MQLs you’re left with, will all be such high quality and far more likely to convert, that your customer database will continue to increase. And of course, if your MQLs were all high quality to start with, then the number won’t reduce at all, proving how awesome you were in the first place.

So let’s break this down.

There are a number of benefits to greatly reducing the number of prospects you target:

  • You’re greatly increasing your chances of resonating with the people that you want to be your customers. Not prospects that you have to persuade but the prospects that believe in and need your help.
  • You’ll speed up your sales cycle. Since you don’t have to spend time persuading your ideal prospects that they need you, the time between reaching them and signing a contract with them will be greatly reduced. If you know that these prospects want what you have to offer, then you can answer honestly which will also catalyse the process.
  • Your number of sales will increase. Just because the people you’re reaching out to care about what you’re doing.
  • More sales means more evangalists - more people to rave about your services, and we all know that customer reviews are well trusted, with 88% of consumers claiming that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendation.

Of course, changing the way you market and who you market to will take time which can be a tedious job. You’ll need to first of all convince the bosses that this change is necessary before putting the wheels in motion and carrying out the research required to start targeting these new, ideal prospects.

The benefits of the final results well outweight this slightly annoying task, though. So although it looks like a mountain to climb, the view will be well worth the effort.

These advantages don’t end there either.

By focusing on the ideal prospect, it means that it is more likely that when they become customers that they will be pleased with what you have provided them with.

That means when it comes to reviews, there will no longer be a mish mash of positive and negative reviews, but a list of reviews that have a much higher positive to negative ratio.

As such, when you continue to target more ideal prospects, they will be more likely to invest as they see far more positive reviews from others just like them. Naturally, this will lead to a continued increase in your number of sales over time.

With these sales, you can also ask for feedback and continue to improve your product or service based on what your ideal customer has experienced. Remember: all of these people will have a lot in common in regards to what they want to get out of you and so they’ll likely have similar ideas on how you can improve, too!

Alienating people generally has negative connotations but in the case of targeted marketing, it’s quite the opposite.

You want to alienate the many to please the few.

If you’ve done your research, the few you do target will provide you with all of the sales you need.

Having a clear idea in your head of what you want to achieve and who you want to achieve it with will improve the quality of your content and the effectiveness of your overall marketing strategy.

Summary

In summary, it's time to stop trying to appeal to everyone because it will only lead to losing all prospects. Refine your target audience. I mean really refine them by following the advice above, and as soon as your whole team is on board in implementing this new strategy, you’ll soon be seeing results that blow your mind.