The Secret to Supercharge Your Marketing: Create A “Prospect Profile”

Posted by Pat Henseler in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Insights, LinkedIn Marketing Insights

Ever find that you’re booking leads or appointments with prospects that just aren’t the right fit?

Or maybe you’re spending a lot of time creating and sharing content on your website, on social media, in a group you own or are a part of… but you’re not getting any traction from it?

It could be that your message and your positioning isn’t resonating because you're talking to the wrong prospects. This is a pretty common problem many small businesses face, but a really easy one to fix. If you don’t know who you’re aiming for, you’re bound to miss the target. The best part is, once you take the time to research and zero in on exactly who are the best prospects for your business you’ll start to see benefits like:

  • Finally getting traction from sharing content, even people telling you that you “read their minds”
  • Being contacted by people you’d love to work with
  • You come in contact with more people who are more open to starting business conversations with you
  • You become known as the go-to in your industry and you can be picky about who you work with
  • You get more and more leads that are actually a great fit for your business
  • Your lead generation efforts are more streamlined and effective because you know exactly what your ideal prospects need and want
  • And you close more clients who previously might never have given you the time of day, who can really move the needle forward for your business, and who can pay you what you’re worth (meaning you don’t have to go for the “low-hanging” fruit anymore and it’s easier to go after bigger accounts)

However, it’s more than just identifying who your prospects are if you want to start quality conversations with them. You need to gather as much data as you can so that you understand them. You need to know what makes them tick, why they make the decisions they do, what their daily life is like, what pressures they have and who they’re influenced by. It all starts when you create your Prospect Profile, essentially a simple “cheat sheet” compiling all the information you gather about your primary prospects. It’s a quick, visual representation you can fall back on everytime you embark on getting new leads to make sure you’re focused on the right target.

Will this limit your reach? No, it will help you hone in on the best prospects for your business, it will give you valuable insight on how to approach them, and it will help you develop more focused and effective campaigns. Finally, creating your Prospect Profile gives you the opportunity to gain a significant competitive advantage in your industry.

Let’s dive in!

Step One: Identify Your Ideal Prospects

A lot of people think about their clients and they say, well, I could work with anybody. That may be true, but do you want to? You need to take a look at your past clients and decide who are the BEST ones to work with, the ones you would love to work with.

That means you niche down on the clients you most enjoy working with, the clients to whom you can give the best service and deliver the best results, and the clients that give you a greater financial return. Finding that middle spot is the best and fastest way to accelerate your business.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What does your dream client look like? Brainstorm a list of everything that comes to mind.
  2. Look at your past clients.  Are there any common threads that run throughout?
  3. Look at your BEST clients. Why did you love working with them? What types of results did you help them achieve?

Remember, it’s one thing to just “find prospects” and it’s another thing entirely to attract the best prospects to your business. Doing so not only saves your business time and money in prospecting and selling, but targeting your RIGHT prospects moves your business forward.

But what if you’re just starting and you have no past clients?

Simply brainstorm and do some research, who would be the prospects that would fit in the middle spot the best? As you gain experience with more clients this may change.

And what if you have more than one ideal prospect?

Or what if you have more than one product and they’re each for different types of prospects? Simply focus on the main 1-3 prospects maximum for each product. More than that and your marketing and lead gen efforts won’t be as laser-focused or effective.

Finally, here's a tip:

Once you’ve narrowed down who you want to focus on, stop thinking of all your prospects as a group. Instead, put a name and a face to the description of your perfect prospect. This will help you talk to an actual person in your marketing, which makes your marketing message that much more powerful.

Step Two: Identify Relevant Demographics

The next step in the creation of your Prospect Profile includes relevant demographics that will help you find your prospects online or that will help you to understand their needs.

Personal Demographics

Personal demographics will help you understand what stage in life your prospects is in and potentially what kind of life they have. From the information you collect here, you’ll want to use it to understand their needs and pain points. Only collect the personal demographics that are relevant in helping you do this.

Relevant demographics may include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Location
  • Marital Status
  • Family Size
  • Occupation
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Or anything else you might find relevant to either help you find them online or understand them better.

Professional Demographics:

The professional demographics will tell you more about their day to day at work. These may include:

  • Industry
  • Company
  • Job title
  • Company size
  • Company revenue
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Or again, anything else you might find relevant to either help you find them online or understand them better.

Step 3: Identify Professional Attributes

Professional attributes dig deeper into the factors that go into your prospects’ purchasing decisions. This is very beneficial to know because that way you can address their pain points and overcome objections in a way that’s effective and relevant to them, even before you give any type of real sales presentation.

Some of the professional attributes you’ll want to look at are:

  • Goals and priorities
  • Pain points
  • Actions taken to relieve pain points
  • Any perceived barriers as to why they can’t solve these pain points
  • Who do they report to? Anyone else involved in the purchase decision?

You need to know their goals if you’re going to align your services with those goals. You also need to know the pain points they have. For example, do they have trouble measuring the effectiveness of their marketing? What does that mean for them on a daily basis and what have they done so far to try to alleviate that pain? Thinking this way gives you insight into how they’re feeling and what a solution would mean to them on a financial level but also on a personal level.

Now, if they report to someone else who will make the final decision, you'll want to make a prospect profile for that person as well. For example, if your prospect is a marketing director who has to run everything by the CEO, you’ll want to do this process for the CEO as well. How can you use this information to appeal to the CEO and make your business and your solution the one he or she chooses?

Get as detailed as possible a Prospect Profile as you can! And remember, you may have more than one prospect for different products, but don’t overdo it. Just focus on a few primary prospects and create a detailed prospect profile for them.

Another Tip:

As you identify these professional attributes, remember to write how your prospect speaks. If there are certain phrases common to the industry, use them. If they describe their pain points in a certain way, write down their exact words.

Avoid language that is too jargony to what you do. And instead focus on the simple way your prospects refer to what you provide.

If you aren’t sure of the best language, speak with your clients. Ask them about why they use your product or service and the big benefits they’ve received from your work. From there just listen to the terminology they are using and take note of any common phrases you hear coming up again and again.

Let’s Take a Look at Some Examples

Example #1: “Tim”

Let’s say you were targeting B2B small business owners – a segment we often work with. If this was your general target, we’d build out the information to round out the prospect profile with the information below.

Key demographics we’d use to find this person on LinkedIn:

Age: approx 35-55
Education: Bachelors or higher
Job Title: Business Owner, CEO, President, Founder
Location: North America, UK Australia
Company Size: 1-10, 11-50 employees

The personal information about Age and Education isn’t a requirement…but it’s a common thread we’ve seen among our clients. In this case though we don’t need to go on LinkedIn and try and build one search that includes each of those demographics. What’s most important to us in this case would be Job Title, Location and Company Size.

Key Attributes:

Goals: Increase sales and grow business, gain a steady flow of leads coming in on a regular basis
Pain Points: No consistency with lead volume. Lack of reliable new sales opportunities. Inconsistent cash flow.
Barriers: No lead gen system in place, lacking marketing skill or time
Actions taken: Cold calling, hired a lead generation company that only produced low-quality leads

From this prospect profile, we’d know that our prospect’s main frustration would be not having system to get leads consistently, which has a ripple effect into a number of other problems across the business.

Here are some other examples of prospect profiles you can draw from.

Example #2: “Jill”

In this example, Jill, a fictitious person, is a lawyer who owns her own law practice. Here’s a possible profile you might fill out for her.

Key demographics:

Age: approx 30-55
Education: Masters or higher
Job Title: Law Practice Owner, Senior Counsel, General Counsel
Location: United States
Company Size: 1-10, 11-50 employees

Key Attributes:

Goals: Grow the practice and get more paying clients
Pain Points: Trouble generating consistent leads
Barriers: Not a marketer, doesn’t know how to market the business
Actions taken: Ads, direct mail, referrals

If you used this prospect profile, you would know exactly what Jill is thinking, other options she’s been looking at and what she needs. This will help you to not only find her and people like her, but to understand her and see things from her point of view so that you can successfully build rapport and start a business conversation.

Example #3: “Kate”

In our last example, Kate is a fictitious CEO for a well-known travel company who needs better data, faster. Here’s what a relevant prospect profile about her might look like.

Key demographics:

Age: approx 35-60
Education: Masters or higher
Job Title: CEO
Location: North America, Europe
Company Size: 200-500, 500-1000 employees

Key Attributes:

Goals: Find a way to measure company data besides spreadsheets
Pain Points: Spreadsheets take too long to make and update and are often unreliable. Not sure that the information presented correlates with other parts of the company.
Barriers: Tried systems in the past but the learning curve for everyone in the company to get on board was too great.
Actions taken: Online research, interviews with individual company department heads, third party software tools

With this prospect profile, Kate represents any CEO in the travel industry who is frustrated with the amount of data they have to sort through before they can act on it. Kate wants a better and faster way, that’s easier for her and for her employees. If you provide a data solution, knowing this information, what she’s tried in the past, and exactly what kind of frustrations and headaches the problems causes, you can more successfully position yourself as the best solution to help fix those problems.

Your Turn: Create Your Own Prospect Profile

Now it’s your turn. Use this checklist to create your own prospect profile and apply what you learn to all of your communications, from your online social profiles, to your website, to your emails. Always remember that your prospect wants to know “W.I.I.F.M?” (What’s in it for me?). When you develop a detailed prospect profile, you can use that information to pinpoint ways to build rapport and connection. This will help you stand above your competition and deliver a better offer than anyone else.

If you’d like to learn more about how to develop your prospect profile, and, more importantly, how to incorporate it into your marketing and lead gen strategy, sign up for our top LinkedIn workshop to learn how to grow your business using LinkedIn.

You’ll learn:

  • The 8 lead generation strategies that are currently yielding major results for our clients, even just using a couple of these will bring major returns for your business
  • The 3 reasons MOST lead generation strategies fail and leave your business at risk of falling
  • How to incorporate these strategies and combine them in a way that’s realistic and doable for your day-to-day

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