#2 – Target Client Profiling (STSF Core Components)

By David Masover

I’m so glad that you are back for episode two!

If you are here, you probably listened to episode one which gave an overview of The Sales Team Success Formula and you are here now to start digging into the details – that’s excellent – let’s get into it!

In this episode, I’ll spend a few minutes telling you what to expect in these first 10 episodes – the detailed, guided tour of all of the pieces of the formula that I promised in episode one. These first 10 episodes together will give you a deep understanding of how the formula works and show you exactly how you can bring it and all of the benefits that come with it into your sales organization, big or small.

After that brief overview of upcoming episodes, we’ll focus this episode on the first big step in the formula – making sure that your salespeople are talking to the right people (i.e. building a Target Client Profile).

If you are not talking to the right people, it’s going to be practically impossible to get to the right place – so we’ll start here and build up into things like effective sales messaging, sales process, and so much more as we progress through the formula.

So thanks for joining me for The Sales Team Success Formula podcast!

Here’s to your success!

Transcription

Hi, thanks for being here for The Sales Team Success Formula Podcast, I’m David Masover host of the podcast and creator of The Sales Team Success Formula.

As a quick reminder, The Sales Team Success Formula is all about optimizing total sales team effectiveness for B2B sales teams by working on what reps do with prospects and customers, how tools and tech help with execution of those tasks, and how management can use clear insight and oversight of all of that to help the whole thing work better and to help the whole team grow over time.

Now this is a new podcast, and the first 10 episodes are going to be straight up teaching about what The Sales Team Success Formula is and how you can implement it in your sales organization with or without my help. If you missed the first episode you might want to check that out because it gives some back story and an overview of the formula.

Let me give you now a quick overview of what exactly we’ll cover in the first 10 episodes and then you can decide if you want to muscle through all of the episodes in order or if you want to pick and choose – but I should tell you that while each element of the formula is important in and of itself, and working on each element will have benefits for you and your team, the elements as I will present them in the context of the formula all integrate and build on each other so there is a lot of value in letting the story unfold from start to finish – but I am releasing all of the first 10 episodes at once front the start in case you want to skip around – it’s your call there.

So as I said, the first episode was an introduction to the formula including the back story and my best effort to map out a graphical representation of the formula for you to either imagine or that you could download from the episode notes from episode one in case you want to supplement your imagination with the actual graphic itself.

In the introduction, I explained how the formula can be thought of as a triangle – that’s the graphic – with each point of the triangle representing a major component of your front line sales organization – your salespeople on one corner, the tools and tech they use to execute front line sales work on another corner, and management efforts to support all of that on the third corner – and that is how we will present the formula in this podcast and how you should work through it with your team whether you do it with me or if you decide to go at it on your own.

So the first episodes of the podcast are set up that way too. We’ll start with what reps should be working on with prospects and customers and how to do that effectively. Not only is this critical because your business runs on revenue, but because this is the work that should guide that other work – the tools and the tech and the management work. Ultimately, we want to make the whole sales org effective with prospects and customers, so this is where it all starts.

Now your salespeople or reps need to do a few basic high level things when they work with prospects and customers. They need to:

  • Be sure they are talking to the right people, which in sales terms we call having the right Target Client Profile
  • Once they are talking to a prospect or customer, they need to say the right things the right way, which is about effective messaging or communication
  • Once this effective messaging takes hold and they have a prospect they are trying to sell something to, a salesperson should have a map for how to navigate the opportunity which provides structure and guidance while remaining flexible and without being restrictive   
  • And finally, in most cases a salesperson should have more than one opportunity happening at any given time, so they need to have a way to stay on top of all of their opportunities on an ongoing basis.

So this is what the next four episodes will be about – these four things that a salesperson needs to be doing to be effective with prospects and clients.

  • This episode, episode 2 will focus on Target Client Profile
  • Episode three will be about effective sales messaging and communication
  • Episode four will be about what I call The Four Level Sales process
  • And episode five will be about how salespeople can create a personal sales plan to keep them effective and also to act as a bridge to accountability with their front line sales manager.

After that, we’ll get into tools and tech and how to choose and deploy them based on what we’ve learned about how the salespeople should be doing their work and designed to support that work, and also how to capture real, high integrity and meaningful insights and analytics along the way, so episodes six and seven will be about KPIs, metrics, tools and tech.

Building from there, episodes eight and nine will be about the kinds of meetings that front line sales managers can have with reps  – leveraging the work that’s been done already in the formula – to make each rep and all of the reps – the entire team more effective in a measured and manageable amount of time and with maximum impact.

And finally, as a part of the introduction of the complete formula, episode 10 will be about how everything we’ve covered in this overview of The Sales Team Success Formula comes together to supercharge your sales organization with effectiveness, visibility, and a culture of effectiveness, growth and accountability.

So with all of that said, feel free to skip around to where you want to go in these first 10 episodes, but if you can I encourage you to walk the whole path with me start to finish. The real magic here is not any one piece of the puzzle, but rather how the whole puzzle comes together.

That said, let’s jump into the topic for todays episode, Target Client Profiles, and know that in future episodes I won’t spend so much time on set up and background since I’m hoping you’re all nice and oriented at this point.

So Target Client profiles, let’s get into that now…

Almost every book, podcast episode, webinar, LinkedIn article, etc. that talks about anything related to sales or marketing starts with the idea that you need to nail down your ideal or target client profile or persona before doing anything else.

Still, most sales organizations could use a bit more clarity here, sometimes more than just a bit.

Now here in the podcast episode I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds on this, but rather to take a more high level approach to why this matters and how to approach it for maximum impact without your organization

So with that said, what do we want to achieve as the point of departure for our Target Client Profile?

Let’s answer that question right at the front lines.

When your reps first get in front of a prospect, we want them to be thinking about these two questions:

  • Should I be talking to this person?
  • What problems do I think I might be able to solve for them?

Having even a basic but well defined Target Client Profile can help with this.

It helps to answer the first question of “should I be talking to this person” by giving the rep a list of criteria to see if the person/company they are talking to meets the criteria or not.

If the person or company meets the criteria, that’s great – then they can move on to considering the problems that they might expect this prospect to have to guide them in their engagement with the prospect.

If the prospect or company does NOT meet the profile, you can decide if that means terminate, nurture, or proceed with caution and awareness, to be discussed later, like in one of those call reviews or deal reviews with the front line sales manager that we’ll be discussing later in the program.

Maybe the profile needs to be updated, but entering an engagement knowing that this is something to be aware of and to be looking at as you go is much healthier and more deliberate that walking into an engagement without considering who it is you are talking to and what you might need to be aware of as you do.

Now as a sneak preview of one of the ways this is going to fit in down the road, in the next section on Messaging, we will be discussing the problems that your solution or solutions solves for prospects, and the problems might be different for different prospects, or different parts of your solution might be more or less important to different prospects. The Target Client Profile is the point of departure for that – so this exercise is useful in this respect as well.

But how do we create a target client profile?

To keep this basic as a point of departure, let’s consider the obvious demographic elements, things like:

  • Geography
  • Industry
  • Type of business
  • Number of employees
  • Revenue/Turnover
  • Job Titles/department
  • Or there might be some other categories that makes sense for you and your circumstances

So you’ll want to start by listing out all of the possibilities for those criteria.

Your offering may also lend itself to certain circumstance based elements of your target client, such as:

  • The prospects unique circumstances or goals
  • Trigger events like a hire or a round of funding
  • Technologies they use
  • Size of their customer base or deal size
  • Organizational maturity

There may also be some elements of the Target Client Profile that are specific to your situation, like licenses they need, things they sell, geographies they sell into, etc., so the way you develop your Target Client Profile is important. 

If you need help brainstorming categories for your Target Client profile, a few minutes on a Google search will give you thousands of articles with lists of other elements of Target Client Profiles and if you feel like something is missing from the lists I just shared with you that apply to you but you are not sure what it might be, this might be a good way to brainstorm for that.

Ultimately though, and once you have a first pass to use as a point of departure with your team, co-creation is the way to go here.

Co-Creating your Target Client Profile can be done by sitting down with your entire sales team and listing out the answers for each of the categories you’ve identified and then keep pushing by asking what else should be there until you just can’t squeeze anything more from your team. You may need to add more categories than what we have listed here, that’s awesome!

Then, go through each category and the elements of each category and ask of there are some that are more high value than others, or easier to find, or easier to close.

And then finally, ask if there are some specific configurations of these elements that compose specific prospect personas that are particularly good or bad for you, or that have unique challenges that you should recognize and focus on when developing messaging and engaging with these kinds of prospects.

Turn all of this into a document that you can share with the team and you are pretty much done with the first iteration.

As you move forward over time, you can start “thin slicing” this prospect persona – but a word of caution here.

Many who suggest working on buyer or prospect persona or target client profile or whatever names might be used for this will encourage you to do this work all at once, up front, in a conference room, once and for all.

I think that’s misguided.

In fact, I think that is a symptom of what is a fundamental problem with the way most sales improvement efforts are approached.

Too much of the sales improvement industry seems to think the point is getting it right in a meeting or a workshop, calling it done, and imposing these things on your team.

If you want to really succeed over time you need to shift your thinking to the idea of getting to the right starting line with something solid but not necessarily perfect, and then building and adjusting together with your team and as a team, from there, through deliberate and coordinated management engagement with the team.

This is what I mean when i use the term Co-Created Clarity over time, a phrase you will hear often in conjunction with The Sales Team Success Formula because how you get there is as important as what you come up with if you want to get clarity, agreement, cooperation and buy in from your team around any and all of these ideas. 

And I hope you do – the degree to which these efforts can be successful hangs in the balance here.

The process of Co-Created Clarity is a concept that applies to everything we will work on here and everything you should be doing in your sales organization.

When you set up the right communication infrastructure between reps and management then learning will happen as a part of the way you do your work as a sales organization.

Imagine what it would feel like in your sales organization if your Target Client Profile, and sales process, and messaging campaigns were not fixed documents, and imagine if your sales trainings were not “listen to this and do it” – but something else entirely.

Imagine instead that you co-created these things with your team, and both one-on-one and group meetings were places where things that work can be shared, and these documents were a reflection of a growing body of shared knowledge and effective best practices and optimal execution methodologies of the team – living documents that evolve over time from learnings in the field from individuals and collaboration around those learnings.

Doesn’t that sound like a much better approach to reaching for excellence, creating a healthy culture and esprit de corps, and growing together as a team over time?

So embrace that idea with Target Client Profiles and with everything we do here – Co-Created Clarity as an ongoing, best internal practice.

You can start this with your team by building out your core Target Client Profile as described above with a mind to modify, expand, re-prioritize, reformat, and thin slice it over time based on the external engagements your reps have out in the real world and the internal engagements that reps and management have within your newly minted highly effective sale team infrastructure.

Now you know what you need to know about Target Client Profiles for now – as a point of departure – and also how you will grow, expand, and refine if from there.

In other words, with respect to this and everything in the Sales Team Success Formula program and your sales organization as a whole – What you need to know is important…

…but it is what you with what you do with what know from there is what will set you up for success over time.

The same principle applies to all of the elements of what your salespeople should be doing, so I won’t repeat this in each section, but this is what I mean by Co-Created Clarity on an ongoing basis.

So this has been the first deep dive into one of the elements of the formula, the details of one part of one of the corners of the Sales Team Success Formula as represented by this triangle graphic.

In the next episode, we’ll get into effective messaging – or what your reps should be saying to these target clients, then onto sales process – how they should be executing deals, how they can manage multiple deals, and then into the management topics of tools, tech, KPIs, metrics, and how to effectively and efficiently support and hold reps accountable based on this infrastructure that we create as the core of The Sales Team Success Formula.

Understanding, clarifying, reaching agreement, integrating these ideas across your front line sales organizations, and building from there – that is the formula for ongoing B2B sales team success.

If you’d like to find out what the formula can do for you and your team, head over to my website at www dot sales team success formula dot com and sign up for a one-on-one consultation and assessment with me and let’s talk about whether this program is your best next move for B2B sales growth and scalability.

So that’s it for this episode, thanks again for being here, and I’m looking forward to having you at the rest of the episodes to finish building out the formula and learning how to apply it in your B2B sales organization.