What Is An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?
In short, an ideal customer profile defines the perfect customer for what your organization offers. In other words, it’s the customer that is most likely to want to buy your services. Additionally, this customer is also most likely to remain loyal and recommend you to others. An ICP describes the ideal customer you should be targeting with your marketing and to whom you should offer your services.
Accordingly, ICP has all of the qualities that would make them the best fit for the solutions you provide. If done correctly, an ICP can help define the problems you’re solving. For instance, align your service capabilities with customers’ needs, and assist in future service updates. In other words, it will provide you with guidelines on how to find a perfect lead.
What Is The Difference Between Ideal Customer Profile & Buyer Persona?
Buyer persona and ideal customer profile (ICP) are distinct terms that represent different ideas. Although their essence and purpose are different, they both describe your buyers. The ideal customer profile explains what companies and titles to target. The buyer persona describes how to target them. Additionally, they both include a set of guidelines you can use to qualify leads. Thus, for your sales and marketing efforts to succeed, you will need both.
An ideal customer profile is a picture of the type of company you want to sell to. In short, it’s based on the metrics. On the other side, the buyer persona is about psychology. This means it focuses on the needs of the individual you’re targeting. It’s a hypothetical description of the type of people at those companies involved in the purchasing decision.
Ultimately, the firmographics of your ICP will likely inform your buyer personas. Accordingly, you can use the core concepts of ICP to build your buyer personas. However, the personas should be defined by demographics such as role, job title, function, seniority, and income. Most importantly, you should understand their pain points and challenges and how your service solves those challenges. Additionally, use both ICP and buyer persona to be able to understand and reach them individually.
Do You Need Both?
While your ICP and buyer personas are different, they work together. They ensure you are talking to quality leads, creating content for the right audience, and providing answers to their questions. ICPs define who to target, while buyer personas layout how to best communicate with the individual.
To start, you should use your ICP to help when qualifying leads. Afterward, use your buyer personas to determine how to sell to the individual. Finally, revisit these profiles occasionally for they will change as you learn more about your buyers.
Why Create An Ideal Customer Profile?
An ideal customer profile is a great tool to help you identify the strength of a prospect. If a new prospect is an exact match for your ICP, then you should invest an effort in selling to them. Companies which have a slightly weaker fit with this picture may still be worth selling to. However, their sales cycle may be longer, the chances of success lower, and you should target them later and with less effort. If you don’t have an ICP, you can end up focusing too much effort on too many different parts of the market. Ultimately, the more you know exactly who’s going to buy from you, the better.
How To Identify An Ideal Customer Profile?
To identify your ideal customer, figure out the basics before choosing your strategy:
- What customer type are your ideal customers?
- What are they buying?
- Where are they buying it?
- What are they spending?
- What other products might they be using?
Once you get a feel for these, you can use one of the following methods to find and identify your ideal customer.
How To Write An Ideal Customer Profile?
An ICP is highly customized to match the needs of your company for the highest benefits. Here are the crucial steps you should follow when creating the most effective customer personas for your ICP.
Research Your Target Market
To start, identify your best current clients then compile a list of the notable attributes they share. For instance, pick the ones that have stayed the longest with your company or settle for those that take the shortest time to convert. Whatever you choose, get as much information as possible on your existing clients to know the best ones. Once you’ve identified your company’s best customers, it’s time to work out why they’re such great customers. The simplest way is often to ask them.
Schedule a few interviews and demonstrate to them the value they will get from participating. Inform them in advance that the purpose is to improve the quality of service. During the interview, gather the answers to the following questions:
- What is the number one thing that can increase their satisfaction with your service?
- What makes them happy and sad about your service?
- Where are they based, geographically?
- What are the best and worst features?
- What do they do?
- How much cash do they have to allocate to services like yours?
- What do they want to achieve?
- What problem is your service solving for them?
The key thing you’re trying to figure out is what they all have in common. There are a million different ways you can approach them and look for similarities.
Identify The Common Attributes Of Your Ideal Customer
When evaluating your data, note the common traits of the perfect customers. Metrics that help you identify your ideal customer traits. Here are some metrics that might help you define your ICP:
- Shortest sales cycle
- Lowest customer acquisition cost
- Highest customer satisfaction
- The largest number of renewals
- Most up-sells and expansions
- Most referrals
Aim for 5-10 main attributes that define your ICP. After identifying the list of attributes, be specific and paint a picture of a perfect client. It is best to gather the characteristics from several sources. For instance, include tool-based analysis, surveys, etc. Create 2-3 ICPs at this point based on your current research.
Build A Behavioral Profile Of Your Ideal Customer
Once you are through with your research, combine the findings to create your customer profile examples. This profile should paint a detailed picture of the exact client for whom you are making a service. Thus, use their common traits, behaviors, or pain points, which will help you build the profile of your ideal customers. Accordingly, the ICP will guide your future sales and digital marketing efforts.
From your data, identify opportunities and challenges among your ICPs and have a plan for addressing the challenges. Furthermore, document how your service will serve your ICP and how you envision your future with your prospective and current customers. Be clear about your value propositions so that you can measure the way your service features will help clients.
Questions to figure out the final step during your ideal customer’s process information:
- What kind of impression do you make on them?
- Would they know that they fit your ICP if they came to your website?
- Would they feel comfortable with you and your company?
- What does the typical day look like for the typical user of your product?
- At what points are they getting frustrated and upset, and can you stop that from happening?
- What economic, political, social, regulatory, and technological forces are acting on them?
- What does the future hold for them?
- How do they acquire information and knowledge?
Where might they go where you can reach them?
By the time you’ve finished developing the profile, you should have a really clear picture of the environment in which your ideal customer is operating. This includes the pain points they feel and the goals they are trying to achieve. All of which offers you everything you need to convince them that you hold the solution. Finally, apply your buyer persona and ideal customer profile in your sales and content marketing. Accordingly, use ICP at the beginning of the lead generation process. Moreover, use the buyer persona throughout every stage of the sales funnel journey.