Targeting Your Ideal Customer

If you are going to successfully sell you products and services, you first must figure out who wants them. Sorry to say but not everyone is going to need or even want what you’re selling. So, rather than waste time trying to sell to everyone regardless of their needs it is much more efficient, not to mention smart, to figure out exactly who needs your product and then sell it to them.

It’s like the old Willie Sutton quote; when Willie was asked why he robbed banks he promptly answered, “Because that’s where the money is.” Simple, right? We need to do a little more than that to find our ideal customer.

The first thing we should do is to develop and implement what I call an ideal customer template or filter. This requires an honest evaluation of what you do. You should understand first exactly what it is you’re selling.

Then after that you must analyze who you’re selling to right now. Create a list of your best customers. And then further evaluate that list to determine who are your best customers and most importantly why they are your best customers. This list will usually contain your largest customers as well as the customers who have been doing business with the longest. Once you determine that, the next question to ask is why? What are the characteristics that make these companies, these customers, your best customers?

To help you with this endeavor, here is a tool that I use to evaluate and find a company’s ideal customer:

The Ideal customer profile

Purpose: The purpose of this customer profile is to specifically define the type of customers that you want to target. These qualifications are simply examples of the type of characteristics you should be looking at in your target ideal customers. It will be used as a “filter” to eliminate chasing after the wrong type of customers and thus saving you a great deal of time and energy. You should expect this effort of filtering will give you the following advantages:

  1. Cut down on the amount of quoting you do
  2. Focus on the right customers
  3. Let your sales people know what type customers you want and should be targeting.
  4. Allow you more time to service the right customers

Part one: Psycho Graphics:

Note this list was developed with a high-tech company in mind.

So, in this case the ideal customer:

  • Places a high value on what we do best
    • Quality products
    • Reliability
    • Quick turn capabilities
    • Wants to be a true partner
    • Respect and values what we do
    • Sees us as part of their future
    • Are in a good market
    • Are financially stable
    • Pay their bills on time
    • Are willing to pay for what they get
    • Are serious about buying a great board to go into their great products

Technology: Then in terms of technology and matching that customer’s technology needs with our capabilities:

This ideal customer needs:

  • Up to 18 layers (sweet spot 6-12 layers)
  • 4 mils line and spacing
  • FR-4 family/RF/ Hybrid/ Polyimide
  • IPC 6012 class 2 and 3
  • Mil-prf-55110
  • Heavy copper
  • B&B Vias
  • Military, medical, commercial, Space and Avionics
  • OEM’s preferred (we of course do work with CMs)
  • Check web site capabilities chart for a complete list of technical capabilities

Services: And finally, in terms of this company’s needs.

This company needs:

  • Quick turn
  • ITAR
  • Product development
  • Working with engineers and designers
  • Some R&D
  • JIT
  • SPC
  • Low to mid volume production
  • High Reliability
  • Traceability

Obviously, this ideal customer template can be varied to match your specific product offerings. But the important thing is that by developing and using this template you will not only develop a filter for selecting the right target customers for you to pursue but you will also be able to develop your actual sales strategy based on successfully pursuing and capturing this kind of customer.

From this template, you will develop a list of the right customers to go after

You will develop the right customer made strategy and tactics to win turn these right companies into the right customers.

Probably what is most beneficial in developing an Ideal customer template is that you don’t waste time going after the wrong customers but rather spend all your time, money and energy going after the right ones. In short you learn to go where the money is. Its only common sense.

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