Marketing and Sales teams dedicate many hours to tracking down their ideal customers, and until recently, business cards were the best clues they had. Those little slips of paper were like currency that represented the best way to learn about promising leads and connect to them.

However, an "ideal customer" is actually a collection of ideal customers who can take many shapes and forms. Ideal customers won't necessarily resemble each other on the surface or look how you might expect.

Moreover, knowing someone's title, company, function, and contact information is not enough. They do not provide context for that person's day-to-day responsibilities, expertise, or business needs.

With the wealth of data and analytical tools available today, far more opportunities exist to help you understand what your best customers look like and how to find them. Identifying the prospects who are most likely to convert and generate value over the long-term requires thinking beyond the business card.

When defining your best customers, there are three factors to consider:

1. Behavior

Your best customers may not all look alike, but they will exhibit certain behavioral clues.

For one thing, they will show interest in what you do. People who have visited your website multiple times and/or spent time browsing around are already engaging with your brand. And if they download a whitepaper or attend a webinar, they clearly are trying to gather information and improve upon whatever your company promises to improve.

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image of Doug Bewsher

Doug Bewsher is CEO at Leadspace, the first B2B audience management platform. A seasoned marketer, Doug has previously held positions as CMO at Salesforce and Skype.

LinkedIn: Doug Bewsher

Twitter: @dougino