All prospects are NOT equal, so targeting the right ones is imperative.
But, for the sake of illustration, let me tell you a story about someone who didn’t quite get this concept.
I was in Las Vegas for a convention and I was walking down the street on the way to the event when I witnessed a guy frantically handing out cards (promoting a service) to EVERY person walking by. He was literally forcing people to take a card while simultaneously saying “check it out… check it out… check it out”.
The area where he was doing this was littered with thousands of cards dropped by the people who didn’t want the card and were not interested… which was pretty much everyone.
Talk about ongoing rejection.
Here’s my problem with this approach: the guy might as well have been promoting a meat lover’s pizza deal to attendees of a vegetarian convention as they walked by.
News Flash! Not everyone wants what you offer (no matter how great it is).
Sadly, this is how many companies market their products or services. They keep telling themselves “it’s a numbers game” and expend an enormous amount of time, money and effort to get their message in front of as many warm bodies as possible. Think crop dusting.
The reality is the vast majority of their efforts are wasted. Unless you have unlimited time and the deepest pockets possible (um, that would be none of us), it makes sense to use your fishing lures only on the fish that are interested in your bait.
To use the old adage, you need to go after the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right message. In this article, I’m going to show you 3 smarter ways to identify the right people who are actually interested in your product or service—proven to be effective in a B2B context.
1. Create a detailed profile of the right people.
In marketing circles, we call these profiles “buyer personas.” Each profile describes a fictitious person who possesses certain qualities that are typically found in someone who is a great fit for your product or service.
A buyer persona can help you walk in the shoes of your ideal prospects and better understand what motivates them (or turns them off) about your type of product/service. The more you understand your prospects, the easier it is to sell to them (by giving them exactly what they want).
Also keep in mind that what drives your best prospects to consider your product/service changes during the buyer’s journey.
In other words, what is important to them in the early exploratory stages (“it might be good to have something like X”) is often very different than in the later stages (“of the 3 potential solutions I have decided to choose from, the most important feature or benefit that will decide which one I go with is…”).
There is much that can be said about how to create buyer personas that reflect the different stages of the buyer’s journey. Below are 3 good resources that can help you create effective personas.
- Buyer Personas 101: A Down & Dirty Approach
- Here's the Last Article You'll Ever Need on Buyer Personas
- How to Quickly & Easily Create a Buyer Persona
2. Use the search engines to connect with the right people.
Every day, millions of people go to the Google or Bing search engines to find answers and solutions to problems they have. With the right keywords, you can connect with the exact people who are looking for what you offer.
In fact, because it is a pay-per-click model, you only pay when someone using the right keywords clicks on your ad and in effect ‘rings your doorbell’ to learn more about what you offer.
How good is that?
For example, remember the guy in the opening story handing out cards promoting a service? Instead of handing out information to every living, breathing person near him, he could serve an ad to people actively looking for the exact type of service he was promoting.
Think of it as a matchmaker service… connecting people with a specific itch (who are eager for relief) to people who specifically scratch that itch.
3. Qualify prospects to find the right people.
There may be people who seem like the right people (they seem interested in what I offer!)… until you ask a few more questions.
One of the best ways to determine the right people is to use the BANT model. BANT stands for:
- Budget – Do they have the budget to afford what you offer?
- Authority – Do they have the decision making authority to buy what you offer?
- Need – Do they have the need (and want) for what you offer?
- Timing – Are they ready to buy now (or very soon)?
There is nothing worse than wasting your time trying to sell to someone who can't afford your product or service, doesn't influence the decision making process, doesn't really need your product or service, or has no motivation to buy any time soon.
None of these people are the “right” people, so be more selective in who you try to sell to.
Want to learn more about how to effectively use BANT, including the best questions to ask that don’t put prospects on the defensive? Enjoy the following free resource: How to Use BANT to Qualify Prospects in 2019.
It's not easy these days to promote and sell your solutions in the marketplace. But, if you use a smarter, targeted approach to determine the right people to pursue, you will save time, energy and money… and get more of the prospects who have a higher likelihood of becoming your customer
Need to learn more about finding the right people in the right place? Here are 3 excellent places to find the precise prospect you are looking for.