How Sellers Use Ideal Customer Profiles to Find Promising Buyers on LinkedIn
June 20, 2018
Where would you be without customer profiles? It’s not a deep existential question. Your gut reaction is probably “not very far,” and that’s the right instinct. In fact, customer profiles are one of your most valuable tools for lead generation.
Where does LinkedIn come in on the journey? What information from customer profiles can you use when analyzing a LinkedIn profile?
The simple answer is a lot.
You can use the customer profiles you’ve already built to search LinkedIn effectively, find the right prospects, and generate sales.
Back to Basics: Creating a Customer Profile
A good starting point is to review your current customer profiles. If you are in a niche industry or have a singular sales focus, you may have one ideal persona that represents the perfect customer. Or, you may have multiple personas for different services, products, industries, or pain points. Whatever the case, it’s advantageous have personas that fit your needs, and it’s a good idea to also perform occasional reviews to ensure they are still accurate.
An interesting example of customer profiles comes from the book “The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results.” The authors analyzed customer stakeholders across hundreds of organizations and determined that those stakeholders fall into seven customer profiles. While this isn’t a definitive guide for what your customer types should be, it does offer an example of parsing through data to create personas, which is something every organization should do.
When pulling in your own data, consider what is most important to your organization, which may include:
- Organizational structure
- Company size
- Pain points
- Sales trends
- Renewal or customer retention
- Popular product or services
The key here is to leverage your own data to determine what works best for your organization and create concise, yet comprehensive, data-driven customer profiles.
How Do You Use Customer Profiles on LinkedIn?
You’re likely already using LinkedIn for prospecting, but are you using it efficiently?
Think of all the information on LinkedIn that overlaps with customer profile data. Let’s focus on four key areas that can be pulled from a LinkedIn profile and are also used in customer profiles: Location, industry, job title, and company size. Each of these attributes offer valuable insight you can match against your current customer profiles to find the right prospects.
We live in a digital world, which means it is easier to communicate with stakeholders around the world. But it’s not always efficient to work across languages, time zones, and cultures. Consider your own product or service and search LinkedIn by locations that make sense for you.
What industry are you looking to target? The answer may be obvious depending on your product. However, if you market across multiple industries, your customer profiles can help narrow down your search. Maybe you’ve found success with insurance brokers. Or medical device companies. Or pharmaceuticals. Whatever the case may be, narrowing the industry will help your results.
Who are you looking for? You can’t just pull up the CEO for a given company and fire off a message. Sure, they are an ultimate decision-maker, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the best prospect for your purposes. Leverage your past results to determine the right job title for your needs and search accordingly.
Fortune 500s and small businesses provide different challenges. The communication is different. The relationship is different. Most importantly, the ROI is different. LinkedIn makes it easy to search by company size, so use your past results to determine your own sweet spot.
Putting It All Together: Cross-reference for Success
Once you’ve determined your customer profiles and sharpened your LinkedIn searching skills, you are ready to take the next step. If you ignore your customer profiles when searching on LinkedIn, or don’t currently incorporate insights from your successes and failures into your process, you have opportunities to improve. In every instance, there is one key question to keep in mind:
Who are your existing high-value clients, and how do you use your knowledge of them to find prospects most likely to buy?
You already have the data to inform your prospecting, you just need to use it correctly. Outside research can help you grow as a salesperson but knowing your own customers will help you find the right prospects. Instead of casting a wide net, use the personas you already know to find higher quality leads and close more sales.
For more tips on how to use LinkedIn for lead generation, check out our guide, Read Me If You Want to Uncover Relevant Sales Insights on LinkedIn.