Interested in expanding your business internationally and learning more about targeting international clients? Pick up a copy of my latest book, Business Beyond Borders: Take Your Company Global.
In previous posts, we talked about two key aspects of understanding your international ideal clients: market segmentation and market research. Now it’s time to put those things together and create your ideal international client avatar.
So why is creating an ideal client avatar important?
“You can’t hit a target you haven’t set”. It’s as true in international business as it is elsewhere, and that’s why it’s so important to have a clearly defined international client persona.
It’s easier to spend time dreaming up avatars of people you’d like to sell to, rather than doing the hard work to figure out who you have been selling to, who you are likely to be able to sell to and what the people you might sell to really want and expect from their product.
However, as I’ve alluded to several times in this chapter, an effective avatar must be based on real information – qualitative and quantitative – in order to be useful. A clearly defined customer avatar will help you:
How do I create an ideal international client avatar?
The best way to create your Ideal International Client Avatar is to combine the data sourced during the segmentation exercise around demographics, behaviour, psychography and geography, with the information gathered from clients and potential clients around their goals, challenges and desires. If you run your research in enough depth, these two sources will give you the information that you need to build a nuanced picture of the person, or persons to whom you should be targeting your offering.
What about a B2B client avatar?
In the B2C space, targeting your product is all about facilitating ease: what problem is your buyer facing that your product or service fixes? How can you ease their mind or bring overall ease to their lives? The good news is that translating the buyer persona to the B2B world is also fairly easy to do.
In the B2B world, an effective client avatar maps two things:
For B2B companies, the buyer’s context is the company. By looking at your most profitable and engaged customers, you’ll quickly see patterns that will help you understand the context.
It’s also worth expanding your universe to look at customers that surprised you (i.e., responded well to your product or got a lot of value from it) and your aspirational customers (i.e., your dream client) when developing data files. What you want to understand about them is:
I want to focus on the idea of change for a minute, because it’s central to understanding the B2B buyer. Businesses rarely innovate for innovation’s sake. The decision to buy a new accounting system is driven by something such as: growth in revenues that an old system can’t keep up with, a lack of features that are adequate to the demands of public reporting prior to an IPO, or changes in technology that allow more flexible mobile reporting.
Whatever the situation is, something has happened that makes this urgent or important enough to focus resources on now.
Here are some questions that you can ask to better understand what’s changing for your B2B client.
The second area that you need to profile encompasses your decision maker and influencers. In effect, this change in the bigger corporate context has created a change for your buyer’s job.
You have to understand that ripple effect and capture that critical data in your profile. Answering the question, “How does this corporate change affect your buyer?” will get you sales.
At the decision maker and influencer level, you need to understand who is involved and be able to answer the following:
It’s less important that your B2B buyer in Singapore is Jenny, a 35-year-old office manager who manages two administrative assistants. It’s more important to know that Jenny needs to find a way to report her team’s productivity to her boss, who sees administrative support as a cost center and is under increasing pressure to manage his P&L.
Once you’ve created an avatar for your ideal international client or clients, you’ll be in a strong position to map their goals, challenges and desires against your offering. To find out how, pick up a copy of my new book, Business Beyond Borders: Take Your Company Global.