ICP = Decision Making Panel @ Qualified Accounts
Who are your core B2B customers?
Which accounts have long-term success? Which use cases coincide with your company’s strengths? Which customers drive the most revenue?
This is your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
An Ideal Customer Profile is a starting point. It can be used as a benchmark to qualify inbound leads. It can be used as a template for generating outbound leads.
A clearly defined ICP aligns the efforts of every department, starting with Sales and Marketing, but extending all the way to Product and Customer Success. Marketing uses an ICP for messaging and targeting. Sales uses the ICP to proactively address pain points and objections during the selling process. New product features should be built around your ICP, as should onboarding and support materials.
If you target multiple verticals, industries, buyer personas, or sell multiple products to different audiences, you might have a few ICPs. As you learn more about your audience, your ICP(s) will evolve over time.
When identifying your best customers, ask yourself these 4 questions:
- Which customers are likely to have success vs. churn?
- How difficult and/or expensive will it be to acquire a given type customer?
- Which accounts have the most growth potential?
- Which accounts have the most potential for advocacy or referrals?
The answers to these questions are quantifiable with CRM or marketing automation data.
An ICP is a data-informed segment of your overall audience. The profile you build should be specific, but not limiting. Your ICP should represent a sizable chunk of your total addressable market that can be further segmented for messaging and tracking. More information for each account leads to deeper knowledge of customer patterns over time.
At the end of the day, a good ICP is built on high-quality customer data. Here are data points you need to build an actionable Ideal Customer Profile.
First Name. Last Name. Job Title. B2B demographic data for individual contacts is typically straightforward.
That being said, B2B contacts, by nature, do not exist in a vacuum. According to Forrester, the average B2B decision making panel contains 5.7 individuals. The larger the deal size the more people that are likely to be involved. Simple demographic data points take on new layers of complexity when mapped within an account’s organizations structure.
A well-built Ideal Customer Profile contains multiple tiers of contacts for message personalization. When sourcing outbound leads for a B2B account, it is ideal to identify anywhere from 3 to 10 contacts with different roles and responsibilities. Sourcing multiple contacts enables marketers to leverage dynamics of group psychology to close an account faster.
Additional demographic data points of interest include social media information, employment history, and shared connections.
Because of hires, separations, acquisitions, etc., the average B2B sales and marketing database decays at over 3% per month. B2B demographic is straightforward to source but can be difficult to keep fresh.
Firmographics are to companies what demographics are to people. Firmographics are the meat of a B2B Ideal Customer Profile.
Common firmographics include,
- Number of Employees
- Annual Revenue
- Geographic Location
- Age of Company
- Capital Events
Firmographic attributes such as these are used to aggregate businesses into meaningful market segments.
Technology is an important component of an ICP for a number of reasons.
- Knowing what technologies are currently in the company’s stack can tell you whether there is an existing connection/interface that might help drive or stall a deal.
- Technology can help you approximate how much budget a company has to work.
- Taking a look at existing tools will indicate whether the account has early or late technology adopters.
- Technology can tell you if there are existing systems in place that might limit or overlap with the functionality of your solution.
Like any other component of an ICP, technology use can also be used to tell you which accounts not to target.
Common technology data points used for lead generation include,
- Audio and video technologies services
- Marketing Automation
- eCommerce tools
- Payment methods accepted
- Digital advertising platforms
- Web and email hosting
- Monthly traffic
The average sales reps only spends 33% of their time on actual selling. The rest of the time is spent researching prospects and data entry for data points like these.
A good Ideal Customer Profile usually contains between 1 and 3 specialized data points. A custom data point is any piece of information that requires advanced intelligence or judgment to compile.
Here are a few examples of custom data points LeadGenius customers have used to personalized email outreach campaigns:
- Is the company currently hiring Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)? If so, how many?
- What conferences is the company attending or sponsoring in the next year?
- Local real estate tax rates
- Estimates on companies’ sales volume
- Square footage of roof space
- High, low, and median temperature by ZIP code
- Average value of items in an eCommerce store by category
- Business licence filings
Each of these data points can be used for message personalization in the marketing and sales process, as well as for segmentation and analytics.
According to Marketo, a 10% increase in lead quality can translate into a 40% increase in sales productivity. Because quality leads are the fuel for your marketing automation machine, seemingly small gains in efficiency make a big difference in the long run. Your Ideal Customer Profile is the benchmark for how you define a quality lead.
It’s important to remember that Ideal Customer Profiles change over time. Most companies build a product or feature with a particular customer in mind. But, there are always surprises when a product is released into the wild.
Refresh or add to your ICP(s) quarterly to test hypotheses about your audience, identify trends, and expand into new market segments.
The process of defining your ICP(s) fosters both inter and intra department alignment. When everyone is on the same page — when messaging, targeting, and the product delivered are consistent — quality customers and revenue will follow.