The idea of my dad finding me a date scares me to death. My dad is 70 and from the old country…Ireland. What he would view as a compatible spouse for me is completely different than what I would. Either way, bless his heart, he’s thinking of his daughter’s future. He recently told me that he had a guy in mind.
I started asking my dad some basic questions about Mr. X and although I wasn’t totally turned off, I wasn’t super excited. Apparently this guy is really nice, drives a nice car, likes to garden and cook and goes to Church. My dad met him at a gardening club that they both belong to and the guy is going to join a Church group my dad also belongs to. Not so sure I want to be dating anyone that’s spending that much time with my dad (cough cough). When I asked about his age my dad said, “He’s younger than me”. “Me” as in my dad. Um, I’m 35 and not really into guys double my age! My mom piped in and said she thinks he’s either in his 40’s or 50’s. Getting better.
We discuss this a bit more and I asked how they know he’s single. Well, you would have thought that the Pope was standing beside Mother Teresa and my parents had to decide which one they wanted to have dinner with. They looked confused, thought for a minute and then said they had no idea if he was single or not. They didn’t even know if he is married.
Besides telling you too much about me, there actually is a point to this little story. You have to know who your customers are. They could be a Fortune 10 company with a gazillion dollars in revenue, using every single product you have and meet all the requirements of your “perfect” customer but are they happy with your products? Do you feel comfortable putting them in front of prospects? Is there something you don’t know that you should?
Just as my dad left out a key component to playing match maker, it’s critical that you know your customers and your prospects. A customer might be a good fit for a particular opportunity, but not for all prospects.
When asked by Sales to find a customer to be a reference, I always ask a few key questions…
1- does the vertical matter?
2- are there specific products that the prospect is looking at?
3- are there specific functionalities that the prospect is interested in?
4- is there a certain deployment type the prospect is looking at?
5- what’s the deadline?
What to take from this? Know what your prospect is looking for because you always want to find the most appropriate customer for each opportunity. There’s no one great customer for all opportunities.
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