When you start researching your audience—with the aim of refining digital marketing and lead generation efforts—you are likely to come across two terms: Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer persona. While they are often used interchangeably, the two are different from each other. Here’s everything you need to know.
ICP vs. buyer persona: What are they?
In the simplest terms, an ICP defines the attributes of your most ideal customer. It is a business that will benefit from your product/service. Simultaneously, your business is also likely to profit from the conversion. Furthermore, you can typically acquire such a customer by spending minimally, and enjoy high ROI. They have a strong lifetime value with a low churn rate.
On the other hand, a buyer persona is a fictitious representation of the actual individual(s) who makes the purchase decision at these best-fit businesses or organizations. It takes into account criteria such as demographics, likes and dislikes, motivators, etc.
Typically, you have one ICP, but you can have multiple buyer personas. While it depends on your industry, customer segmentation, and needs, having 3-8 buyer personas is ideal.
ICP vs. buyer persona: How to build?
You must always start with creating the ICP and follow it up with buyer personas. This is because the ICP is a broad framework, and buyer personas use the ICP as a foundation and build on it. While ICP defines things at an organizational level, buyer personas are more about individuals.
Defining the Ideal Customer Profile
- Study your existing customers to understand key attributes such as industry, geography, size, pain points, budget, funding, decision-making process, etc., and highlight commonalities.
- Ensure that you pay attention to companies that hold the potential of high lifetime value.
- When building your ICP, check for willingness and ability to purchase immediately.
- Document the information in a template that is easy to share with all internal stakeholders.
Defining buyer personas
- Understand your audience by researching existing clients, speaking to customer-facing employees, and studying your competitors’ strategies. Also identify the type of clients you would like to add to your roster.
- Segment them by industry, goals, challenges faced, etc.
- Assign a name to each persona and flesh out a detailed profile that covers all aspects, from likes and dislikes to purchase process and triggers.
ICP vs. buyer persona: When to use what?
ICP and buyer personas are vastly different. However, they are interlinked and equally important for the betterment of your business. This is because while your ICP will tell you whom to target, buyer personas will assist with contextualizing your marketing strategies for real people who have different goals, obstacles and mindsets, thereby yielding better results.
Knowing your ICP is crucial at the start of the sales cycle, as the information that it encapsulates will prevent your sales representatives from wasting time on businesses that don’t fit the bill. With its help, sales teams can easily identify and focus only on accounts that carry a high chance of conversion. Thereafter, as you gain momentum, buyer personas will guide you in getting decision-makers on board.
However, it is important to remember that defining the ICP and buyer personas is an ongoing process and not a one-time exercise. The two will yield successful outcomes when they are revised periodically. So, invest time and energy in doing so, or consult experts at Resolute B2B. Want to know how we can help you at this stage? Visit our website today.