November 3, 2022, Comment off
What Is Ideal Customer Profile? How to Build One?
Imagine having a high-quality customer base that doesn’t churn. They want more of your product or service because it sits in perfect harmony with their pain points. Sounds amazing, right? There’s no shortage of such customers but you need to put in the effort to find them. This is where building an ideal customer profile (ICP) will come in handy.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Ideal Customer Profile?
- Building an Ideal Customer Profile: B2B Guide
- Identify Your Best Customers
- Find Their Common Attributes
- Fill In the ICP Template
- Define Your Ideal Customer Profile
- To Conclude
What Is an Ideal Customer Profile?
An ideal customer profile is a hypothetical business that benefits the most from your offerings. It is loyal to your brand, sees your value proposition, and doesn’t churn. Your ICP offers a framework to your sales and marketing teams, helping them target companies that are the best fit for your solution.
Some firmographic parameters that you can use to describe your ICP include company size, location, industry, funding status, etc.
Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona
Many marketers tend to confuse ICP and buyer persona. But while they have some similarities, they’re not the same. While ICP is widely used by B2B marketers, the buyer persona is used by marketers in both B2B and B2C. An ideal customer profile describes the target company that is the perfect fit for your solutions. It includes all the qualities and features that make a company your ideal audience, enabling your sales and marketing teams to channel their time and resources in the right direction. To create an ideal customer profile, B2B marketers focus on more quantitative details like budget, number of employees, size of the company, etc.
While you focus on the company to create your ICP, the buyer persona comprises the key decision-maker in your target company. It focuses on more qualitative details like pain points, goals, demographics, their role in the buying process, etc.
Building an Ideal Customer Profile: B2B Guide
Creating an ideal customer profile is not as complicated as you may think. It requires you to communicate with your customers and look at your brand from their perspective. Follow these steps to define the ICP for your company-
1. Identify Your Best Customers
The first step to creating your ICP is to evaluate your existing clientele. Identify and list down the companies that have derived the maximum benefit from your solutions. You can refer to feedback from customers and the NPS score to differentiate between average and best clients. Remember, your goal is to create an ideal customer profile, not an average one.
Try to list down 10 of your happiest and most successful customers. Look for companies that you enjoy working with, that bring you the highest revenue, or the ones with the shortest sales cycle.
2. Find Their Common Attributes
Your list of the best customers will have some common characteristics. Identifying them will help you determine the desired features in your ICP. You can use multiple sources to gather data about your existing customers. Some of them are-
You can use your CRM software to acquire firmographic data like location, company size, revenue, number of sales, etc., and sub-industry data like different software that the company uses.
You can conduct surveys or interviews with your top clientele to understand their feedback. Ask them questions about their buying process, how your solution solves their pain points, who are the major stakeholders of the company, how did they learn about your brand, what feature they like the most about your solution, etc.
- Social Media
Identify the social media platforms that your customers are most active on. This will help you reach your target audience on their preferred channel. For example, if most of your customers are super active on LinkedIn, you can run ads on the platform. Similarly, if they frequent a certain website, you can try posting a guest post on their blog.
3. Fill In the ICP Template
After gathering all information about your top 10 customers, fill it out in a spreadsheet. Some standard parameters include-
- Firmographics and geography- Your customer’s location, company size, branches, information about relevant departments, etc.
- Field of business- Their sub-industry, niche, distribution channels, etc.
- Financial data- Their budget and revenue
- Elements in the decision-making process- Key decision makers, influencing factors, challenges, etc.
- Other vital information- business objectives, pain points, strategic goals, etc.
You can also add other fields depending on your industry. For example, if you’re a SaaS company, you may be interested in external expertise or a martech stack.
4. Define Your Ideal Customer Profile
After gathering the data, combine them based on features and patterns to define your ICP.
- Evaluate the spreadsheet containing the data of your 10 best customers
- Group profiles that share similar attributes into ICP entry points
- Take note of the repeated data points
- Use the ideal customer profile for sales and marketing improvement
After creating your ICP, you can use it to optimize marketing expenses and boost revenue generation. It takes away the guesswork and allows your team to channel their efforts in the right direction. But make sure you revisit your ICP from time to time to maintain its relevance and accuracy.