We think we are clear about our ideal client – but are we?

We think we are clear about our ideal client – but are we?

Value PropositionThis week I reviewed several competed Remarkable Index assessments (an online assessment to reveal the truth about where you stand in relation to the 10 traits that define a remarkable software business). It struck me how easily we believe we are ‘clear’ about our ideal client – while various signs tell us we’re not.

It’s so easy to give yourself a 4 or 5-star score, but is it the truth? If it were the truth, you would also expect similarly high scores some other questions. For example, ‘What is your current average win-rate? ‘What’s your ability to turn customers into fans?’ ‘Your confidence level your customer will think twice to cancel their contract with you?’ Or ‘Your ability to hit the right nerve with key decision-makers?’ But too often, that’s not the case. And that’s an opportunity.

Shooting for all the stars in the universe

A common pitfall I see is that we stop our segmentation efforts at naming the demographic data such as: vertical target market, the company size, and possibly the region. Fact is – that’s far too wide. Factually it might be true – but it only spells out ‘where you’ll be searching for customers.’ And that’s like scanning the universe and check out each star we spot. No one has the capacity to drive all the marketing effort, nor the budget to do that. So something is missing in the picture.

The art of being specific

I typically start to change the conversation by asking the fundamental question: ‘How many deals do you need this year to be proud?’ And then naturally, a very moderate number follows. 30, 50, 20, 80 – whatever the number. But in all cases, that number is just a tiny (almost irrelevant) portion of the ‘total addressable market’ that we think we need to be aiming for. ‘A drip on a hot plate’ as they say.

And that’s an opportunity – an opportunity to get much more specific. So specific that you can start to create your blue ocean within it. So specific that your ideal prospect will begin to find you. That instead of the 500 leads, you are hunting right now, you only need 50 in your sales pipeline to score +40 deals because your sales team will be able to grow your average win-rate to +80% and shorten the sales cycle.

Energy gainers or drainers

And one very effective way to get the clarity you want is not to answer the obvious question ‘who are you for’ – but the counter-intuitive question: “Who are you not for?” Think about the types of customers that drain your energy, the customers who will never become 100% happy. The ones that will always keep complaining. The ones that always want it different. Think about those customers that would be way better of buying from the competition.

Once you get to this level of clarity, your marketing team can articulate much better who your ideal customer is – the type of customers where you deliver the most impact and who gives you the most energy. The customers where you instantly feel there is a natural click. These customers will become your loyal customers, your best advocates. They will not only come back again and again – but also spread your value by word of mouth and bring their peers towards you. With that, you’ve made the first step to close the gap on trait #1 of a remarkable software business: They realize they cannot please everyone.

So, over to you – what blind spots do you see when you rank yourself on the 5-star Remarkable Index scale? What if you’d not only complete the assessment yourself but also have your leadership team complete it to see how aligned you are. That’s a fantastic opportunity to create alignment and leverage.