The series “How to Do B2B Lead Generation for Your SME” is created to help you understand the b2b lead generation structure and process and ultimately, to help you gain prospects for your business. We’ll kick-off the series with Part 1, where we talk about defining an Ideal Account Profile (IAP) for your business.
When you want to sell products as an SME, the worst thing that can happen is not having a steady flow of b2b leads. That means that your sales team will become devastated in its efforts. Every experienced salesperson knows that B2B lead generation is not a routine task. Businesses spend time and resources to get the b2b lead generation process right. Marketing and sales departments literally drain themselves to find the right contacts that can purchase a product.
Those situations can be disastrous for a business. Without a focus in the b2b lead generation process, it’s likely that you will not find the right target clients for your business. Often, entrepreneurs think that they can sell their product to everyone in the marketplace and often, as a result of that thinking, they fail to sell the product.
For that reason, we as a business consulting company will not allow SMEs to throw darts anymore without actually hitting their target clients. That’s one of the reasons why we created this blog series called How to Do B2B Lead Generation for Your SME to help you comprehend the b2b lead generation process and to help you get the right clients for your SME or startup.
The very first thing that you need to do to start your b2b lead generation process successfully is to define your Ideal Account Profile (IAP).
What is Ideal Account Profile (IAP)?
An Ideal Account Profile (IAP) is a person or a company that can get value out of your product or service and can provide value in return. An IAP is not everyone in your target market. You can’t just point out to a particular client and say “That’s my IAP”. You have to back that up with market research analysis and data first.
The IAP provides value for your SME by paying you money for your product or service. Ideally, these are companies and people that are happy with using your product and will become your ambassadors to other companies. This is your perfect target client and the sales process should be flawless here – that is if you’ve done your b2b lead generation right.
An IAP will give you money only if you can help the IAP to make money with your product or service. You have to help the IAP with your product to solve the problem that wants to be solved. An IAP must be convinced in your solution, and that’s the purchasing decision moment.
How to start developing an Ideal Account Profile (IAP)?
When developing an ideal target client for your SME, you should have at least 5 IAP’s in mind. Your IAP’s might be in your existing clients too. Ask them if they get the value that you’ve promised when you sold them the product. Conduct an interview with your best clients. You can ask them questions like:
- What is your position at the company?
- Do you use any particular tools to do your job?
- What does your typical day looks like?
- Work-process problems that occur?
Ask yourself, what do your best clients have in common? Collect the things that they have in common plus the things that you wish your IAP to have are the attributes that you need to keep an eye on when you develop your IAP. Here are some questions that will start the process for you:
- What is the size of their business?
- How large is their management department?
- What are the job titles in the management department?
- Do they have a specific niche?
- How long does the company exist?
- Why would they purchase your product?
- And why wouldn’t purchase it?
- What are the goals that they will achieve as a result of using your product/service?
- How are they trying to achieve their goals now?
- What does their buying process looks like?
- Which publications do they follow in the industry?
- Where is their company located?
- What kind of marketing strategies do they use to promote themselves?
- In which directories are they listed?
- From where do they source their materials or products?
- What are the distribution channels that they use?
These are just some of the questions that you need to answer if you want to develop an Ideal Account Profile (IAP) for your b2b lead generation purposes.
What are the benefits of developing an Ideal Account Profile (IAP)?
You can start creating personalized content (blog post, e-book) that is relevant to the IAP. This is a type of content that they can relate to and engage with online. You can unite this content with your IAP’s buying cycle and offer it when the prospect is at a certain buying stage.
Also, by comprehending your IAP, you can improve your sales process. When you know how your ideal clients create their purchasing decisions, it is much easier for your sales team to engage with them – that is if your product solves the problem.
To conclude, having a clear vision and definition of your Ideal Account Profile (IAP) is one of the most crucial things you can do for your SME or Startup. The IAP commands everything from the features of your product/service to the sales techniques and marketing content that you use to engage with leads in the b2b segment.
As a startup, you need to think long-term and acquire customers that will prove profitable over a lifetime. You need to position your business in the most profitable space on the market and create a huge demand for your product. Alone you’ll spend a huge amount of time on research, digital marketing, testing and content creation to reach the right leads. You got to ask yourself if you’re experienced enough to do it in your startup phase.