At the end of the month, quarter or year we’d all prefer to have several new customers or clients who match the profile for our ideal customer. This is much better for business than a rag-back of misfits, wouldn’t you agree?
- Who are your best customers now?
- What characteristics do they share?
- What does your Ideal Customer look like?
When you’ve worked out who you want to target you can be really focused in the way you use LinkedIn to find, contact and create sales relationships.
Before you spend time searching LinkedIn, building lists, joining groups, creating content, updating your company page or personal profile – STOP!
Read and follow the tips below, to save yourself a stack of time later on, and the frustration that comes from poor results.
Quick start tips
With access to 467m people on LinkedIn the world is your oyster, literally. So what characteristics do your best or ideal customers share?
- What is the job title of the decision-maker, and if someone else does the initial research or is involved in the decision what is/are their job title(s)?
- Identify what industry sectors, locations and sizes of companies you are targeting
- Are there specific interests they share, such as use of a specific product, (eg. Microsoft, Google, SAP or equivalent in your field)
Rather than lump multiple types into a group try to separate them into discrete audiences, then research further, evaluate and prioritise.
Developing a one page profile (persona) for each target audience would be a valuable exercise, if you can invest a few hours for this.
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Tips for using LinkedIn to identify your Ideal Customer
Building on the Quick Tips above to develop personas and assess market potential follow these tips
1. Researching Industry Sectors and Companies within LinkedIn
With 9m + company pages on LinkedIn there’s a good representation of large, medium and small businesses for research and list building purposes:
- In the Company Search area slice and dice the parameters available for location, sector and size (if you have access as this may be a premium feature)
- Look at which Industry Sectors your customers categorise themselves under, to expand your horizons
- Be critical about some criteria (eg. size or location or sector) to identify market segments. For your business, a campaign or a prospecting session what will you focus on?
- Select the 1st connection filter to see how many of those companies you have contacts in, and the opportunity to make contact with those where you don’t
An objective to build a list of 50-100 companies is more aligned with Social Selling and targeted social prospecting and close sales relationships. If your goal is 500+ then this is more aligned with mass marketing lead generation.
2. Researching People by Job Titles
Business purchases are rarely made by just one person. There’s value in considering who else is involved in the decision, for example:
- The Sponsor – the business leader or C-level executive or department head who has initiated investigation and allocated time to formulate requirements
- The Researcher – someone who is visualising what might be, collating requirements, identifying options, approaching potential suppliers and writing internal reports
- The Technician – someone who needs to support the project from an implementation perspective, looking at impact and fit with existing processes, systems, apps etc.
- The Financier – who is looking at the numbers, the payback potential, the costs (external and internal), accountability for delivery
Having identified the buying team and likely job titles (which you can search for in LinkedIn) you could consider personality types. Consider people in these roles from a DISC profile perspective or similar, to build up personas and profiles.
3. Other criteria you could consider
For research about buyers, to inform your content, and to prepare a ‘go-to-market’ plan, there are other ways you could drill into LinkedIn
- Do your ideal customers share an interest in a topic, a technology, their profession, their peer group etc. in which case explore LinkedIn Groups for signs
- Are there educational or professional qualifications, professional / trade associations, conferences, technologies that unite them, that you can identify through Linkedin
- Are there conferences, seminars, thought-leaders etc who gather a following, in which case can you identify them through search and within LinkedIn Pulse and Posts.
These criteria could help you identify some of the issues, triggers, aspirations as well as the influences and influencers that your Ideal Customer may be paying attention to.
Download our Pocket Guide to Social Selling
If you haven’t already done so get a copy of our guide, which covers more LinkedIn Tips and introduces the Social Selling Matrix.