Researching your target audience is one of the most important aspects of both sales and marketing. SaaS companies will develop in-depth profiles of their target audiences and spend hours researching their clients. This is called customer research.
Customer research involves pinpointing both your optimal as well as less suitable customer segments, delving into their motivations, behaviors, and unfulfilled requirements. With this information, you can identify opportunities for business expansion and allows you to create more effective pitches that are more likely to convert.
Three steps to better build your target audience
If you’re new to customer research, this guide will help you understand how to get to know the target audience better and develop a plan to reach them. When selling SaaS to SMBs, you could also find this article helpful.
Understand the organization chart
There are a few certainties in sales, one of them being that you will likely never speak to the CEO on your first call. You need to understand how the companies you’re pitching operates and let that dictate who you attempt to reach out to first and then ultimately sell to later. For example, to close a sale, you might have to pitch to the following people:
- The middle manager who learned about the product at a conference or at a previous company.
- The entry-level employee who will use the software day-to-day.
- Senior leadership members who needs to approve the cost of the software.
Each of these target audiences is important to win over during the sales process. If an entry-level employee doesn’t like your service, they can lobby against your product. Similarly, if you can’t get middle management’s buy-in, then they won’t be able to set up meetings with the company’s senior leadership.
This hierarchy isn’t just limited to enterprise clients. Many small businesses with only a few employees have different organizational charts and processes to handle software acquisition and use.
Know the budget and timeline for your SMBs
The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends companies spend 2 to 5 percent of their sales revenue on marketing. Trying to sell a SaaS marketing management tool worth six percent of a company’s sales revenue means you may struggle to get buy-in, wasting their time and yours.
The companies you pitch to might not be very forthcoming with their revenue and spending, but you can infer their sales numbers with contextual clues and research: know the market, the size of their team, and their growth over the past few years to give an educated and informed pitch.
Along with researching client budgets, take time to research their timelines. You don’t want to pitch your products in November and December during peak shopping seasons when these companies are busy with EoY reporting and holiday chaos. Conversely, some companies may be looking to spend leftover budget that they’ll otherwise lose. Researching this ahead of time will ensure your pitch is as effective as possible.
Consider any seasonal trends that might affect whether or not a prospect is willing to take your call. Even if a business isn’t seasonal, teams might be limited by their budgets based on their fiscal years.
Use tools to develop target personas
As you start to improve your persona research, you can begin to develop your ideal client and keep notes on what they like, want, and care about so you can pitch them most effectively. Fortunately, there are many tools that will offer templates and research tools you can use to develop your target personas.
- Hubspot offers buyer persona templates that you can use to keep notes on customers, their industries, and various features.
- Content Harmony curated templates for target personas to give you an idea what these on-sheets can look like. Find a template that you can tailor to your needs.
Target persona research requires a mixture of first, second, and third-party data. For example, you may know from research that your client’s industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic (third-party research). However, internal notes highlight how they have overcome those challenges and thrived (first-party conversations). Together, these details allow you to pitch most effectively.
Selling SaaS to SMBs
Practice makes perfect when it comes to adding client research to your sales process. The first few weeks might be labor-intensive and clunky. However, you can quickly get into a groove once you have the right tools, templates, and research processes in place.
Your clients will appreciate the effort you put in and your sales numbers will grow as a result.