You have seven seconds to make clients want to do business with you. What will you say to grab their attention?

Few things are more pressure-packed than the initial sales contact. Competition is high; creating the right first impression can make or break the opportunity. Fortunately, organizations have a powerful impression-crafting tool at their disposal ‘ the data-driven actionable customer profile.

Finding data for customer profiles is rarely a problem. Businesses have loads of stuff, usually stored in huge databases. But prospect lists are growing so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. Clients expect a personalized approach at every stage, from the introduction down through the 100th interaction. Sales teams want a more efficient way to provide this individualized experience. And that’s where actionable customer profiles shine.

What Are Actionable Profiles?

Actionable profiles paint a picture of who the customer is and what they like. These profiles have two key features:

  • Identifiable customer characteristics
  • Clear sales guidance regarding product preference and intent to buy

Actionable customer profiles are created by consolidating customer data and using a predictive analytics engine to draw out insights from the patterns it finds.

While actionable profiles must be uniquely personalized, they don’t always have to be for specific persons. An actionable profile can be a company, an individual contact, or both.

For example, an actionable profile for ‘Mid-sized Technology Companies’ would show the following:

  • In the Northeast, these businesses have been growing at a 10% rate over the last two years.
  • They typically purchase products A, B, and C.
  • They may also be interested in product D.
  • They have an average repeat purchase cycle of two months, and the average sales process lasts two months.

On the other hand, an actionable profile of a ‘Decision-Maker for Product X’ would tell you:

  • This person is likely a Vice President or Director.
  • They typically respond faster to emails than to calls.
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to make contact.

This information helps the sales person create a great impression, both from the company perspective and from the standpoint of each unique contact.

Actionable Customer Profiles and Your Very First Impression

When a new lead comes in, we don’t know a lot of the details. We have no purchase history to peruse, no patterns to look at, no established rapport between rep and contact. What we do have is a pressing need to make a great opening pitch. The first impression, in this case, is also the last impression they’ll have of us (at least for now). How can actionable customer profiles help?

Even in a new-contact situation, we have information about the company and the individual. We know their industry, company size, organization and industry growth rates, geographic area, etc. On a personal level, we know the job title of the contact. So what we can do in this situation is tag each new lead to an existing actionable profile in our database. We do this by matching up the information we have for the newcomer with a similar profile.

Let’s see how actionable profiles might work in a new-contact situation.

How Actionable Profiles Work

Suppose you’re already doing business with some mid-sized technology companies. You have an entire purchase history that stretches back for years. You’ve used data from your accounts to build a profile for this type of company.

Now you approach a new mid-sized tech company. You don’t have a purchase history for them. You don’t really have a clear view of their preferences. But what you do have is industry knowledge. You know their competition, and you know what and when similar companies tend to buy. You have a pretty good idea of what drives these decisions. In other words, you know what the new contact’s potential challenges are and how your products can help.

So when you go into the sales meeting with the new contact, you’re not going in cold. You can personalize based on the industry and on what you’ve learned from similar companies. You can use the insights provided by actionable customer profiles. Most importantly, you can personalize your pitch. This kind of guidance puts you and your sales team well on the way to creating that perfect first impression.

Authored by Rajat Narang, Associate Director at Absolutdata and Snigdha Bhardwaj, Analyst at Absolutdata


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