Ideal Customer Profile: What Makes a Great Customer in B2B?

Ideal Customer Profile – What Makes a Great Customer in B2B?

© Control Alt Deceit: A Game of Lies, Betrayal and Questionable Business Strategies

Think of your ideal customers… What do they look like?

  • They found you organically. They cost next to nothing to acquire.
  • They have the problem you’re solving… When they land on your site, they go: “Oh, that’s for me.”.
  • They experience the value of your product right away; it gets them the business outcome they seek.
  • They barely use your support. Everything just makes sense for them.
  • They don’t churn. In fact, they want more of your product. More seats, more features, more usage. More, more, more.
  • They can’t help but talk about your product… with other companies, at conferences, on their blog. They’re happy to give insights into new opportunities.
  • Their business is growing. They don’t ever think your product is too expensive because it delivers on value.
  • They provide a never-ending stream of feedback. it motivates your team; your product can’t help but get better.

Sounds amazing, no?

Well, those customers exist. It’s your job to find them, and then, find more and more of them.

An Ideal Customer Profile Framework

Entrepreneur and consultant Lincoln Murphy talks about the 7 criteria that define an ‘ideal customer’ on his blog. He says of ideal customers:

  1. They’re ready
    They know they have the problem you’re solving. There’s a sense of urgency you can use to sell your product.
  2. They’re willing
    They’re ready to solve that problem. There’s a champion and a strong catalyst for change: a merger & acquisition, an investment, a request for proposal, etc.
  3. They’re able
    They have the money and authority to solve the problem. You want as few decision-makers as possible because the longer your sales cycle is, the more money you’ll need to raise.
  4. They can be made successful
    Your solution is not held back by technical limitations; it can solve the problem. Your Jury – the key decision-makers – personally stand to win. Someone might get promoted as a result of implementing your solution. There’s a clear ROI. Success can mean a lot of different things to organizations, but delivering value and making businesses successful is critical.
  5. It’s cost-effective to acquire them
    User acquisition is never an after-thought. You always need to know how you’re going to acquire customers. If you need to speak to the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to get a deal done, you won’t be able to ramp up as fast as if you sell a more transactional solution to the CEOs of SMBs. You want to make sure you’re able to reach the right decision-makers quickly.
  6. There’s ascension potential
    There’s an opportunity to Land-and-Expand to sell more seats, licenses, features, etc; upsell and cross-sell are possibilities. You don’t want to be locked-in with your initial deal.
  7. There’s potential for advocacy
    If made successful, customers can spread the word with their friends or colleagues, refer your business, write testimonies, or more. However, some industries are opaque, and word of mouth won’t work. It’s always better to know that ahead of time.

Ultimately, it’s your role to define your organization’s criteria for what makes a great customer.

To go fast, ask yourself: how can you have maximum impact with what your business currently has or could offer within the next 3 months?

Don’t look too far ahead. You’re looking for the lowest hanging fruit; the ideal customer for your current product.

Why Ideal Customer Profiles Matter

Signing 10 customers that fit your ideal customer profile will be more impactful than signing a large number of random customers.

Customers will always ask for product enhancements. These requests need to align with your vision of the future.

Customers provide references. It’s important that those references attract the right kinds of customers.

Define your ideal customer profile, use outbound to contact them, and focus. The more value your product provides, the faster you’ll grow within your target segment.

⚡⚡ Enjoyed this content? I go into way more detail on this subject in Lean B2B. It covers the ins and outs of finding traction in the market for B2B products. Check it out »

Ideal Customer Profile: What Makes a Great Customer in B2B? 1

Download the First 6 Chapters for Free

This sampler covers the differences between B2B and Business-to-Customer (B2C) product-market validation, shows you how to define your vision for success, find early adopters, select market opportunities and assess a venture's risk. Download The First 6 Chapters Today »