An ideal customer profile, or ICP, is a critical element of your sales engagement strategy. After all, if you aren’t 100% clear on who it is you’re trying to engage, how will you be able to reach them? Some companies have an idea of their ideal customer but never take the steps to create a profile they can actually share with others. However, that is what will make the difference when you want to improve sales engagement.
So, how do you create an ideal customer profile, and what exactly does it include? In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at all of it to help you move forward.
An ICP is a general profile that is created based on behavioral characteristics, demographics, and firmographic details. The result is what should be the most valuable customer for an organization, and thus, the target of its marketing efforts. This profile aligns strategies across teams and departments to help deploy measurable strategies to convert.
Creating your ICP is a strategic effort. It also requires the alignment of marketing, sales, and leadership to come up with combined elements that create a robust, complete profile. Elements used to create an ICP usually include:
Essentially, you can use any details you’d like to create your ICP and segment your audiences. Just make sure they’re qualifying factors that will truly help you create an effective profile.
The ideal customer profile is something that you create early on in your marketing efforts. It informs several steps of the marketing process and sales pipeline and can help you ensure that your outreach is on point. It is used to create your “perfect customer” and help you qualify leads and generate better ones.
Customer personas, on the other hand, come along later in the sales process. These are designed to create an individual profile for each customer, rather than the general customer group collectively. This helps you deliver targeted messaging and personalized efforts that convert prospects and create lifetime customers.
Now that you have a better understanding of what your ideal customer profile is and why you need one, you’re ready to start creating it. This is not a one-time task, either. It’s something that requires constant evaluation and improvement to ensure it stays relevant.
To get started, it’s all about research. Take a close look at your existing customer base. See what common characteristics or traits you can find, including things like purchasing habits, pain points or demands, or demographics. You might already have an ICP in place, but it’s just not clearly defined. This research will help you uncover it.
You’ll also want to conduct some market research when creating your ICP. Check out competitors and what they are doing, see what the market needs, and identify challenges that your target customer faces so that you know how to approach them most effectively.
Take advantage of all the resources out there to find trends and see how others are succeeding with building a solid ICP. Take notes from their efforts to save yourself costly mistakes and ensure that you’re on the right track.
Now that you’ve gathered all the information you will need, it’s time to bring it together. Document what you’ve learned about your ideal customer, including:
Having this information will allow you to create better sales and marketing strategies moving forward. And speaking of moving forward, you’ll also want to make sure that you take the time to test and refine your ICP as things change and evolve.
Run the original concept past your sales team and organizational leaders. See if anyone has input or if there are modifications that need to be made. Invite everyone to speak up freely if they notice that the ICP isn’t quite right. This can do wonders to help you make improvements in ways you might not have considered yourself.
We’ve covered a lot of information in a short time. We also know that sometimes, examples are the best way to understand how things work. Below, you’ll find a few ideal customer profile samples that can help you see how you should create and define your own.
This firm has an ideal customer profile that clearly spells everything out:
This company’s ideal customer profile is simple and straightforward:
As you can see, both of these ICPs have all the details that are needed to create effective outreach campaigns. You can look up other examples to help you create your own as you’re working through it. And remember to tweak and refine your ICP as often as needed to ensure that it remains accurate.
When you’re engaging the right customers, sales engagement will soar.
Once your sales engagement is up, will your team be ready to handle the influx of leads? When you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you can get all the support you need, starting with a 24/7 answering service to ensure that you never miss a lead. We can also help with lead intake and appointment scheduling, and provide support for your outreach campaigns to generate those leads in the first place.