Most B2B marketers believe that they can ace sales by having a fail-safe marketing strategy. However, industry experts disagree. They insist that before finalizing the strategy, you’ll need to identify and understand who the strategy is for—customers. This is where creating an ideal customer profile, or ICP, comes into play. In this article, we’ll help you understand what an ICP is, its importance, and how to create one.
What is an ideal customer profile?
An ideal customer profile is essentially a description of a customer who’s the right fit for your company. Here are the criteria by which you can identify them:
- They know that you are offering a solution to their problem.
- They have shown an eagerness for the solution.
- They have the authority and budget to make purchases.
- They know that your solution will improve their ROI.
- They understand that your solution is also cost-effective.
- You have to cross-sell and upsell opportunities with the customer.
- They might turn into brand advocates.
The idea is to identify companies similar to the ICP amid your target audience base. Doing this will significantly increase the chance of conversion while accelerating the sales cycle.
How is an ideal customer profile different from a buyer persona?
Many people interchange ICP and buyer persona, but they are two vastly different technical terms. Buyer persona gives you a deeper understanding of your customers. You can then use this knowledge to customize your marketing strategy across the sales funnel. It includes information such as designation, demographic, shopping behavior, decision-making capabilities, goals, and objectives.
An ideal customer profile helps you identify companies that are a perfect fit for your product or service. Using ICP, you can pitch your core offering to the decision-makers in these companies. The components of an ICP are company size, location, industry, budget, values, goals, requirements, and pain points.
How does creating an ideal customer profile help sales?
Since an ideal customer profile guides you towards the customers that are a right fit, you eliminate the time and resources that you would have spent otherwise. You’re thus speeding up the sale cycle while increasing the number of conversions.
ICP helps you create more targeted marketing strategies, thus streamlining the customer’s purchase journey. Your sales team also doesn’t drain itself trying to approach misfit prospects.
How to create an ideal customer profile for B2B?
Let’s move to the crux of the article: the process of creating an ICP. Before we go ahead, an ideal customer profile largely depends on your product/service, background, and goals. However, here we are sharing a general framework that you can use. Here you go:
Step 1: Identify goals that your product/service meets
Begin by identifying the goals you hope to achieve with your product/service. Dive into the specifications of the prospective customers’ problems that you solve and the pain points that you resolve. It’ll then help you identify the situations where the prospects seek a solution.
Step 2: Analyze the existing customer base
What better way to understand what customers may want than to analyze your existing customer base? Consider their journey with you as a blueprint. When you do it repeatedly for your entire customer base for a specific product/service, you’ll spot a pattern. Now, figure out the goals that you had identified in Step 1. Is your pattern still the same, or do you see any changes? Maybe you’ll notice that Product A’s users approve upselling but reject cross-selling, or that buyers of Product B have relocated the most.
Step 3: Take feedback into the equation
In a bid to refine your blueprint, consider the feedback from your customers. Take both negative and positive ones into consideration. In this step, you’ll get a deeper understanding of how the B2B buyer has interacted with you in the past. You can take it a step further and call them to better understand their experience. Enquire about how you can improve their experience or how likely it is for them to refer you to their friends or peers.
Step 4: Practice social listening
Use the power of social media platforms to know what the industry thinks about your company and your core offerings. It can provide a large volume of data. Again, identify patterns and see how they fit into the blueprint that you’ve created so far. For B2B, LinkedIn is the most preferred social networking site among buyers and sellers. Use its advanced search options to target specific segments of the audience.
Step 5: Define influencing characteristics
In the final step, compile your findings to create the ideal customer profile. As already said, the characteristics will differ from company to company. Nevertheless, the following information is a must for any ICP:
● Company size
● The industry that they operate in
● Annual budget
● Private or public business
● Startup or established business
● Business goals
● Pain points
● Purchase history
● Decision-making process
● Loyalty to product/service
● Location(s) of operation
Once you’ve figured out your ideal customer persona, refine your marketing strategy and succeed in sales. Your sales and marketing teams can brainstorm together and define ICP. Or you can leave it to the experts to make things easier for you. Resolute B2B has over five years of experience in lead generation, nurturing, and conversion. Expect nothing but the best from us. Don’t believe us? Give us a call at +91 – 8121631602 (India) or +1 302-664-8181 (USA), and one of our experts will guide you through our process.