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Are you one of those who still make the mistake of letting sales and marketing focus on customers who are not yet ready to take advantage of your offer or services? Creating an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) is an effective way to overcome this. Here we will explain what an ICP is and how it can help you get more quality leads.
ICP – what is it really?
ICP is also known as the Ideal Buyer Profile. Whatever you call it, ICP is all about determining which organizations or businesses can and cannot purchase your product or service. It is the ideal customer profile for you. You create it by creating a profile of a fictitious company that possesses all of the characteristics of your ideal customer. The goal of creating an ICP is to save your time and not waste it on customers who aren’t a good fit or aren’t in the right stage of the buying cycle. To summarize, it is counterproductive for your sales team to try to sell to companies that do not have the ability or opportunity to buy. Instead, you can focus on the customers who are interested in your service or product.
How to develop an ICP for the company
An ICP could, for example, be a raw materials company with 500-1000 employees and yearly revenue of more than 1.5 million. To be successful in producing these details, you must be transparent and work together to ask and answer various questions. An ICP is best created when the market and sales collaborate to determine which accounts to put a focus on. We understand that it can be difficult, but try to be as specific as possible.
Questions to answer when developing your Ideal Customer Profile:
- What is the company’s turnover?
- Do they have the opportunity to buy your product/service?
The size of the company
- How many people work for the company?
- How would your product/service facilitate their work?
- Which industries do you want to target?
- Which industries do you not want to target?
- Are there industries where you see potential that you are not working towards today?
- Which specific regions do you want to reach?
- Which countries/continents?
- Big cities and/or smaller towns?
- Are there specific regions you do not want or cannot sell to?
Restrictions on products and services
- Do you have SLA (Service Level Agreements) with your customers about certain response and delivery times?
- Do you have the opportunity to deliver faster if customers need it?
This is a good start to identify your ICP and see which customers qualify to be interested in your offer and want to buy. Do you have any customers who do not fit into your ICP? Then dare to let them go. Allow your sales team to spend their valuable time treating customers who actually fit the profile.
ICP and buyer persona – what’s the difference?
An ICP is not designed to identify the various people you will meet at the companies you choose to contact. It will appear in the following step when it is time to get to know your buyer persona. It is easy to mix up these concepts, but for example, within your ICP, you can have several different buyer personas. Your buyer personas could be the CTO, the sales manager, or the COO, for example. Your buyer persona is also fictitious, and it defines the various purchasing patterns within your ICP. Common to ICP and buyer persona, however, is that you should be able to get quality leads – and ultimately customers and returning customers.
An important part of ABM (Account-based Marketing)
You’ve probably heard of ABM (Account-based Marketing). ABM is a rapidly evolving strategy that is primarily aimed at those who run B2B businesses and want to do big business. It is possible to do marketing and sales activities aimed at larger companies by communicating and selling in the right way, with the right message and the right timing.
The creation of an ICP is a critical component of this type of strategy. You must understand which customers you want to work with in order to land the large companies and important accounts you’ve chosen to target, as well as which are active and passive buyers. If you already have an implemented strategy for ABM, it can also be important to continuously review and optimize your ICP.
Inbound Marketing or Account–based Marketing?
Through various types of value-creating content and the right actions at the right times, inbound marketing ensures that you can build a strong relationship with your customers. Do you prefer inbound marketing or account-based marketing? Don’t worry, you can do both.
There is no need to choose between inbound and account-based marketing because they are two sides of the same coin. Does that sound complicated? In one of our older articles, we discussed the differences and similarities between account-based marketing and inbound marketing.
ABM is the process of synchronizing market and sales in order to create a unified and personalized buying experience for your chosen prospects. You’re looking for a specific company – an “account” – that would be a good fit for your offer. To do so, you must first decide which accounts you will invest in for the future.
Inbound marketing is all about attracting and converting leads by producing high-quality, relevant content for the target audience. You define the individual you want to reach – your buyer persona – and map the needs of the target group. By adding value to all aspects of the purchase price by providing the right content at the right time, you can move a potential customer closer to conversion and, ultimately, purchase.
Once you’ve defined your ICP, you’re off to a great start! It’s important to recognize that nothing is permanent and like your business, it’s okay for these definitions to grow and change as you learn more about your buyer. Set a reminder to update and revise these definitions yearly, then update your teams internally with any changes that were made. It’s important to keep everyone informed and on the same page. Take the time needed to define your ICP and your buyer personas, because the effort you put in on the front-end can pay off in the long run when you are working with customers that are a great fit for what you have to offer!
Do you need some help with the stack? Schedule a meeting with Judy Shalom, our CEO, so she can analyze your company’s needs, brainstorm ideas, and identify the benefits that a qualitative ICP could provide for your company. Take advantage of the opportunity to sharpen your sales team, generate more leads, and land the customer you’ve always wanted in 2022.
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