You found common characteristics between your best customers when you developed your ideal customer profile (or your zebra profile). Your best prospects have the same characteristics. But in order to have an improvement in your saas sales, you can’t stop there.

You need to dig deeper to find similar patterns among the reasons your customers bought from you in the first place. If you do, you will learn that the customers bought because you solved Power’s executive-level pain points, even if you didn’t know it at the time.

So, it may have been a bit of dumb luck, but now you can put together the tools and methods that help you succeed nearly every single time. You only need to go through this process once then update the information as your existing customer base, or new customers seem to need. Update it if you make significant upgrades or changes to your solution, too.

Identify All Ideal Customers In Your Customer Database

When you went through the process of developing your ideal customer profile and Z-score, as you tested your new approach against your best customers and lost opportunities, you only analyzed a portion of your customer base.

You need to go back and score all your customers using your ideal customer profile. Rank the scores high to low and use all with a preliminary Z-score of 22 or higher to create a foundation of research upon which to base future sales.

Even though you identified some pain points when developing your ideal customer profile, now you need to wade into the weeds to get a more precise picture.

How to Identify Customer Pain Points

Project documentation is your first step in researching pain points. Documentation is a treasure trove of information that tells you how your customer achieved project and purchase approval. Once you know their process, you can easily tweak your sales to match.

Contact your newly found ideal customers and ask to see any internal documentation used to get your deal approved. It should tell you why the money was approved for your project over a competitor’s solution or another project.

Look for the Capital Appropriation Process (CAP) to find the real decision-maker (Power) and the project’s internal financial goals. 

CAPs are typically used only for complex projects. A CAP evaluates alternative uses of a company’s available capital. In the course of business, every dollar spent is evaluated against other potential uses of the same dollar. A CAP includes the financial calculations used to help make comparisons between buying your solution and funding another project or buying from someone else. 

A CAP reveals goals for:

  • ROI
  • Economic value added
  • Internal rate of return
  • Payback period

The financial goals help you understand how your customers measure metrics against the project’s promises. 

If you aren’t familiar with financial terminology, educate yourself and your sales team until you all feel comfortable speaking Power’s language. Remember that the approved projects solved Power’s pain points, whether the solution was yours or someone else’s.

The more closely you can tie your solution to Power’s pain points, the more compelling your presentation is to prospects. 

Find These Three Pieces for Ideal Customer Development Using CAR Documentation

Find three pieces of information to help you continue your ideal customer profile development.

  • Who Power is for customers in your current base
  • What promises Power made internally that got the project approved
  • The value-based goals of the project

If you have yet to identify Power in your current ideal customers, this process will help.

Conduct Interviews

If members of your customer base don’t have CAR or other documentation to help you, an interview with Power is key to unlocking your ideal customer’s pain points. A Power interview usually uncovers more than documentation anyway, but for some companies, this may be the only way to find out what you need to know.

Once you identify Power, set up the interview and ask specific questions relating to why they chose your solution over another. 

Identify Power Pain Points from Lost Opportunities

You might have learned this from your initial ideal customer development, but you might discover other pain points that your product didn’t address. Add this knowledge to your ideal customer research and use it to help you identify the Zebras in the Savannah of your prospects.


You have several ways to learn more about Power and how your customers make purchase decisions. Look through your customers’ internal documentation and interview Power to learn more details about the selection process. 

Use information from lost opportunities, too, to help you steer in the right direction in the future.

Next post, we talk about researching prospect issues.


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