Customer profiles are detailed descriptions of each client of a business enterprise. Profiles of this type are sometimes developed prior to the establishment of a working relationship between the two entities, allowing sales personnel to identify and address specific needs and wants of the customer during the sales process. Once the client is formally a customer of the business, additional details are added to the customer profile, making it easier for the business to build a long and enduring relationship with each client.
A basic customer profile, as it relates to targeting a specific company as a client, will include essential information regarding the name of the business, the addresses and contact information for its corporate headquarters. A profile will also include the names of key officers and managers, as well as any other employees who are considered decision-makers. The profile will often include data regarding the industry type of the customer, and at least some data regarding the financial status of the business. All this information can be invaluable to salespeople as they seek to find ways to reach the right people within an organization, initiate contacts, cultivate interest, and ultimately earn the business of the prospective customer.
Once the basic relationship is established with the client, the customer profile is often expanded to include other data that is relevant to maintaining and enhancing the rapport between the two entities. The exact nature of the data will often depend on the type of industry that the customer is associated with, the structure of the business operation of the client, and the internal culture that the customer maintains. For example, the vendor may locate and retain information regarding the birthdays of each of the major contacts within the client company and add that data to the customer profile, making it possible to recognize those events in any manner that is deemed appropriate by the customer.
One of the best ways to ensure that a customer profile remains a valuable tool is to update the information on a regular basis. This means securing published information regarding the current financial status of the client, noting any changes regarding ownership, key officers, and main contacts, and staying abreast of any new projects, such as the launch of a new product line, that the customer is preparing to initiate. Data of this type increases the chances of anticipating client needs, cultivating rapport with new members of the organization in a timely manner, and possibly enhancing the overall relationship that already exists between client and supplier.