Creating a profile of your ideal customer is not a new principal – it’s been used for decades. But in our recent experiences developing profiles of OnStrategy’s own customers, we found that basing attributes of an ideal profile on individual buying influences is telling only half the story.
OnStrategy’s ideal customers are often members of larger organizations, and we couldn’t create an effective strategy until we were positioned to sell to both the individual and organization. The plight of the B2B organization; we needed to create an Ideal Customer Profile and an Ideal Organizational Profile.
How could we miss that?
A web search for the term Ideal Organizational Profile indicates we’re not alone. The term doesn’t rank in search results.
How could it not? Multiple people influence purchasing decisions in organizations, so why not profile the organization they work for? Organizations have the same attributes people do – they have wants, needs, behaviors, and goals. Creating them is easier than you think. Take the same approach you do when creating data-driven Ideal Customer Profiles.
Start with basic demographic attributes. These readily available measures are best if data driven, but can be developed from a sample of your best clients’ organizations. Ask yourself questions like:
- What industry are they in? – Different industries have different traits and attitudes. Construction and Software industries have very different attitudes, so you would obviously profile those organizations differently.
- How long have they been in business? Someone who has been in business 100 years has different needs than a starving start-up. Think about how you can position yourself to serve the needs of your customers based upon where they are in their business stage.
- What is their geographic location? – A company based in L.A. isn’t necessarily worried about the massive snow storm hitting the mid-west. Geographic location plays into organizations’ seasonality, market size, and business structure, so you should understand how you can use this to your advantage when developing your strategy.
Next, look at the psychographics of our ideal organizations. Although harder to measure, psychographic play a huge role in understanding why organizations have the behaviors, attitudes, and values they do. These attributes are from the customer’s perspective, not yours. A few examples may include:
- What’s the company’s culture? – Understanding how a business hires, fires, and articulates company culture is a great way to make sure you understand their business attitude and the people who work for them. If you understand how the company “lives and breathes”, you can develop strategy to reflect that.
- What role does technology play in their business? – Understanding the role of technology in your ideal organizational customer gives you a deeper understanding of their day-to-day operations.
- What’s their marketing strategy?- You can learn a lot from a company’s marketing strategy, including problems they want to solve, who they try to sell to, and how they view and present themselves.
Getting real personal.
It doesn’t always need to be business blah blah marketing blah blah sales. It all boils down to people, relationships, and interactions; consider putting a personality to the organizational profiles you create. And even better, use that to give your strategy some personality too!
Ideal Organizational Profiles used in tandem with Ideal Customer Profiles gives your strategy the data driven backbone it needs to stand. They’re powerful tools to bring consensus and alignment to help you create great strategy for your organization.
Strategy Check: Do you have an Ideal Organizational Profile?