MSP customer profiles are structured documents that help managed service providers collect, record, and organize important customer information. They enable MSPs to develop an overview of their target clients’ characteristics, behaviors, and preferences. With this information, MSPs understand their leads much better and can align their marketing and sales strategies to better serve them.
How an MSP Customer Profile Works
MSP customer profiles provide data-driven insights about your ideal customer. These insights will help you gain a competitive advantage and identify good-fit leads that are most likely to convert. You’ll also use your resources more efficiently since you know who your customer is and what efforts to target them. MSP customer profiles contain elements like demographics, firmographics, geographics, technographics, psychographics, and behavioral data.
- Demographics: Data such as age, gender, education level, and role, illustrating who decides to use your services.
- Firmographics: The business equivalent of demographics, including data like company size, revenue, and industry.
- Geographics: Your ideal client’s location, their number of operational sites, and the regions or markets they serve.
- Technographics: Info about a client’s current technology stack, including their hardware, software, and network setup.
- Psychographics: Data that covers the attitudes, values, and personality traits of your best-fit clients.
- Behavioral Data: Insight into the client’s behaviors and interactions with your services or your competitors.
There’s a general customer profile template that you can modify according to your business to help you get started with organizing user information. Once you have a template, there are steps you can use to build a customer profile and a few situation-specific examples to assist you in filling it out and getting the best view of your ideal client.
Best Free MSP Customer Profile Template
We developed a free MSP customer profile template so you can collect, record, and organize vital customer data. The template includes all key elements that help you capture information about your clients — demographics, firmographics, geographics, technographics, psychographics, and behavioral data. Check out our MSP customer profile templates article to get the general template plus situation-specific ones for various types of managed service providers.
8 Steps to Build an MSP Customer Profile
To create your own MSP customer profile, identify the customers you want to profile and select your elements. Then collect demographic, firmographic, geographic, technographic, psychographic, and/or behavioral data from your chosen customers. Depending on your use case, feel free to swap out any elements for those that are a better fit.
1. Gather Customers You Want to Profile
First identify a group of clients to profile — this could be your current, potential, or past users. You can do this by analyzing your client base and identifying common characteristics, trends, or behaviors. Consider the customers who you’ve worked with the longest, the ones who have spent the most money with your business, those who have expressed satisfaction or increased their commitment with you over the years, or another relevant segment.
2. Choose Your Elements
The next step is to determine which elements you want to include in your customer profile. The elements you choose should give you a complete view of your ideal client. Your choice of elements will depend on the nature of your MSP business and the specific needs and characteristics of your customers.
The fields you choose to include under each element allow you to maximize the scope of each element. For example, if you’re an MSP specializing in cybersecurity, you should focus your behavioral and technographic data on defining security culture and recording security history. Should you decide to incorporate all elements from our free template, the rest of the steps explain how to find data for each.
3. Collect Demographic Data
To collect demographic data, you can use a combination of surveys, interviews, and data from your CRM system. Consider using survey tools like SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics to conduct surveys online. In your interviews, whether in person, over the phone, or online, ask questions that give you answers related to age, gender, education level, job role, and income level. Then analyze the data to find commonalities you’ll use to fill the blanks below.
Your CRM system can provide valuable data on the job roles of the people you interact with most frequently. CRMs like Salesforce or Zoho allow you to track and record a wide range of client information from which you can extract demographic data. For instance, with Salesforce you can create custom fields for these demographic parameters in your contact records; you can then run reports to extract this data and use it to fill in your profile.
Here’s an example of a filled-out demographics section using our free template:
4. Gather Firmographic Data
You can get firmographic information from a variety of sources, like online databases, industry reports, and your CRM system. Expect to at least get data about the company name and size, industry, revenue, and growth rate. Additionally, similar to demographics, you can conduct surveys or interviews with your clients to get more detailed information about their businesses.
You can gather common firmographic data using online databases like LinkedIn, Crunchbase, and ZoomInfo. Industry reports often contain firmographic data. Look for reports published by reputable research firms like Gartner, Forrester, and IDC. Using one or a combination of these approaches will put you in a great position to fill in your firmographics section as we’ve done in the example below.
5. Get Geographic Data
Geographic data can be easily obtained from your CRM system or the clients directly. This data includes the clients’ location, the number of operational sites they have, and the regions or markets they serve. Using online tools like Google Analytics can provide data about where your website visitors are located, and social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can give analytics that offers you insights into the geographic distribution of your followers.
Public records, business directories, and databases are also good sources of geographic data. Identify directories such as Yellow Pages or industry-specific directories and databases like Dun & Bradstreet or PrivCo, and search for your clients. Then extract and fill in the most common geographic data in your customer profile.
6. Collect Technographic Data
Surveys, interviews, and specialized software that tracks technology usage are all means you can use to collect technographic data. However, surveys and interviews remain to be very effective, and the approach remains similar to the previous elements. Ask questions about the client’s current technology stack, including their hardware, software, and network setup. Also, inquire about their technology needs, budget, and preferred vendors.
Technology tracking tools include BuiltWith and Datanyze, which will help you see what technologies a company is using and give you a good idea of its overall technology stack. Choose the method that works for you, and use it to analyze technographic data. Then fill in your technographic section as shown in our example.
7. Collect Psychographic Data
Psychographic data can be a bit more challenging to collect as it involves understanding the attitudes, values, and personalities of your clients. To get the most useful psychographic data, you can use surveys and interviews that structure questions around the decision-making process, risk tolerance, preferred communication method, and attitude toward innovation and change.
Also analyze the online behavior of a group of clients using tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, or HubSpot to track the websites they visit, the content they engage with, and the reviews or comments they leave online. Plus, social media platforms are a gold mine of psychographic data. Use them to analyze posts, likes, shares, and comments to understand client interests, opinions, and lifestyles.
8. Gather Behavioral Data
A great source of behavioral data is your CRM system, though surveys and analytics tools also prove to be very useful. Gather information about the clients’ interactions with your services or services from competitors, their buying process, past purchases, responses to past marketing campaigns, previous feedback, and service requests.
Usage data can tell you how a group of customers are using your services, including what features they use most, how frequently they use your services, and more. This can be gathered through software and hardware monitoring tools. You can also use service tickets to track service requests, complaints, and the nature of any problems or issues as these tickets provide a wealth of behavioral data. Analyze the key data, and then integrate it into your customer profile.
Creating an MSP customer profile involves systematically determining the customers you want to profile and the elements you want to include, then generating useful data through the steps above. To build upon these steps, we have a few examples of complete MSP customer profile templates for different types of MSPs.
Top 4 MSP Customer Profile Examples
Depending on your specific use case or the services you offer, you can expect your completed customer profile to be unique from that of other MSPs. We completed the following examples from managed software, hardware, on-site, and security customer profile templates. Notice how the four templates and responses, although similar, vary depending on the use case.
Managed Software Services Customer Profile Example
If you provide managed software services, you’ll want to capture the software usage habits of your clients. The technographic and demographic data elements are crucial to the template and profile. You’ll want to understand the software needs, current software stack, preferred software types, software challenges, and software budget of your clients. Demographics will also help you understand who makes the decisions.
Managed Hardware Services Customer Profile Example
Here’s a hypothetical customer type in the IT industry that requires managed hardware services. The technographics tell us all we need to know about the customer’s hardware needs. The main difference between this profile and the previous one is the shift from software to hardware in technographics. Firmographic data is also key as it gives us context about the business’s environment. Factors like company size help you better assess the hardware needs.
Managed On-Site Services Customer Profile Example
As managed on-site services are for businesses that need a physical presence from their MSP, geographic data is a key component of this template. In the filled-out example below, we focus on the primary location, the number of locations, and the accessibility of the client’s locations services for on-site services. These inform how feasible it is to provide a client with on-site services.
Managed Security Services Customer Profile Example
You have to understand the security habits, patterns, needs, and history of your clients to meet their cybersecurity needs. Behavioral data should at least portray the history and frequency of security incidents. Also, ensure that you understand the compliance requirements associated with your subscribers.
From the four examples, you can see that each customer profile requires you to approach the elements you choose differently. This should give you a clear idea of how to fill out your profile. Remember, these are just examples, and the elements and fields you should choose are the ones that’ll give you the most relevant information about your clients.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What’s an MSP Customer Profile vs. a Buyer Persona?
An MSP customer profile is a data-driven representation of your ideal customer that gives insight into a group of customers within your target market. But an MSP buyer persona delves further into the individual buyer to create a fictional character who has the traits and characteristics of your ideal customer — these include their motivations, goals, challenges, and purchasing behaviors.
You’ll typically create your customer profile first, then use it to create your buyer persona. Additionally, a customer profile might indicate an income range, for example $50,000–$70,000 annually, but a buyer persona might be more specific, saying that Willow, a persona, earns $65,000 per year as a project manager, which affects her spending decisions.
Bottom Line: MSP Customer Profile
Creating the right MSP customer profile will better your customer relationships and improve your lead generation and qualification efforts. By taking advantage of the free template we’ve provided and following the steps we’ve outlined to build your customer profile, you’ll generate valuable insights about your ideal client. Ultimately, be sure to share the data you collect with your marketing and sales teams so they can use it to generate and qualify great leads.