Ideal Customer Profile: everything you need to know to define your ICP

Ideal Customer Profile: everything you need to know to define your ICP

If you operate in the B2B market, defining your ideal customer profile is essential to guide your outbound process, from creating qualified leads lists to define the salesperson’s approach speech.

Who are your main current customers? Which accounts achieve the best results? Which scenario best fits your solution? Which customers generate the most revenue?

Answering all of these questions generates powerful insights for defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), or ideal customer profile.

This input into the process is a good starting point because it can be used as a reference for qualifying outbound leads and as a basis for defining your inbound persona.

Here it is worth mentioning the difference between what is an ideal customer profile for outbound and what is a persona for inbound.

The Ideal Customer Profile describes a company and is focused on driving outbound strategies, from building lead lists to negotiating discourse:

Companies in the IT sector, 26-50 employees, and top-down decision process. C-level salespeople see more value in the solution.

The decision-maker, also c-level, is in the solution consideration phase, communicates more by e-mail and the decision period does not matter.

The company has, as its main problem, the lack of a structured outbound process that presents satisfactory results. Salespeople are not engaged and the sales team lacks management.

The persona is a semi-fictional character that describes a person and is used to direct strategies in an inbound marketing process:

Lívea, 27, has a degree in advertising and SDR from a startup. She plays the role of commercial intelligence and hunter and feels overwhelmed.

You want a tool to help you in your prospecting and lead qualification process. Her goal is to buy a solution where she can organize her cadence flows and data collected about leads in qualification.

The Ideal Customer Profile based on data from current customers

A clearly defined ICP aligns the efforts of each department, from marketing and sales to the customer success team responsible for customer success.

  • The marketing team relies on the ICP and the persona to segment the audience of nutrition flows, generate content and define communication;
  • The sales team uses the ICP to qualify leads and add context for each to their approach;
  • The customer success team relies on the ICP to define what positive results customers typically achieve with the solution;
  • The product team uses the ICP to create new features in the product, taking into account the needs that arise.

If you can segment multiple verticals, sell to different audiences, or have multiple solutions, then you’ll have different ICPs, and that’s perfectly fine.

As you learn more about your audience and how your solution fits with them, your ICPs will evolve. When identifying your best cases, ask yourself:

  • Which customers will be more successful?
  • What is the CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) for each type of customer?
  • Which customers have the most growth potential?
  • Which customers have the greatest potential to become advocates for your brand?

You can answer these questions by doing a good analysis of your sales platform data, whether it’s a CRM, a sales engagement tool, or marketing automation.

The profile you create must be specific but not limiting. Your ICP should represent a sizable slice of your total addressable market (TAM).

You create your ICP with your general audience data and then segment it, which leads to a deeper understanding of your customers’ patterns over time.

When your salespeople are creating the emails from the semi-automated cadence streams, these patterns will be essential for good personalization.

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Well, all that said, let’s show you some data that should be taken into account when creating your ideal customer profile:

Leads Data

According to Forrester, there are, on average, 5.7 people involved in the decision-making process in Capital Smart City plot sales.

The larger the company you are selling to and the higher the value of the proposal, the more people will likely be involved in the buying decision.

Consequently, your ICP acquires new layers of complexity, taking into account the organizational structure and each of the contacts, who have different responsibilities.

The ideal is to map 3 to 10 levels of contacts that may be involved, also identifying whether the decision is top-down or bottom-up.

  • Top-down: decisions are made by an executive, director or someone in a management position, reflecting on all hierarchical layers below;
  • Bottom-up: decisions are made by a set of people, but they are reflected from the bottom up.

In addition, you must know the position of the person who perceives the most value in your delivery. This information is worth gold because this could be your internal champion, the one who will defend your solution.

Remembering that, due to the normal movement of the market, the sales and marketing database loses in quality more than 3% per month. Keep your ICP and lists always up to date.

Company data

You can usually map some data related to the company, such as:

  • Market segment;
  • Company size;
  • Number of employees;
  • Average ticket;
  • Geographic location;
  • Most used means of communication;
  • Main problems you face that your solution can solve.

When you defined your Product-Market Fit back there, when you were thinking about your value proposition, you probably came up with some of that data.

You can review and update them to suit your ICP.

Other relevant data

If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ve already understood why it’s important to know what your ideal customer profile is and see the data that is essential, right?

Some time ago we created a tool with Rock Content, our amazing ICP Generator. With it, you facilitate the survey of all these data that we mentioned above.

In the end, you can download a PDF file summarizing all the information about your ICP to share with your sales team.

Now, if you want some supplementary data that makes sense for your scenario and that you can also find easily, I’ll give you some ideas here. Come on?

Most used technologies

Finding out what technologies are currently used by your customers can be valuable in knowing if there is any connection between them and your solution that can make or break a deal.

If you sell, for example, a technological solution, you can identify whether those companies are resistant or not to the adoption of new technologies.

Also, do any of these technologies have similar functionality to your solution? Does your solution integrate with the tool that the lead finds essential to the process?

Some technologies used by the marketing team of Capital Smart City are as follows:

  • audio and video technology services;
  • CRMs;
  • outbound tools ;
  • Marketing automation tools;
  • e-commerce tools;
  • Digital advertising platforms;
  • Web and domain and email hosting.

Sellers spend, on average, only 33% of their time negotiating. The remaining time is spent researching data about leads that can help with the conversion.

Custom data

We always say here at Outbound Marketing & Reev that contextualizing your approach according to the scenario of each of the leads is very important and relevant when closing a sale.

According to data from our outbound report, semi-automated flows, where you customize your emails, convert more than automated flows, where you create generic templates.

So which one do you prefer? The easiest or the one that converts the most?

Well, the answer to this question comes from each one, from each different scenario. There is no silver bullet in outbound, you choose what suits you best.

But, if you are looking for more customization for your process, some other data you can gather are:

  • Are the companies that are part of your ICP currently hiring SDRs? If yes, how many?
  • What events or conferences do these companies usually attend?
  • What is the revenue estimate according to the sales volume and average ticket of these companies?
  • Does the explored segment have any particularities? Do you need technical data?
  • Have these companies contacted any competitors recently?

If you are looking for more conversion rather than more volume, the answers to each of these questions can be used to personalize your communication.

Feel free to raise other issues relevant to the ideal mapping of your target audience. As I said, there is no silver bullet.

In conclusion: why is it important to define your Ideal Customer Profile?

According to Marketo, a 10% increase in the quality of data collected about leads can translate into a 40% increase in sales productivity.

Since qualified leads are the fuel for your process, any gain in efficiency makes a huge difference, especially in the long run.

How do you know what a quality lead is? Your ICP is the primary reference for how you define what is a qualified lead and what isn’t.

It is important to remember that all of this data changes over time and therefore your ICP must also be constantly updated.

Update or add data to your ICPs, test hypotheses about your target audience, identify trends and expand your solution into new market segments.

Share your ICP with everyone in the company and promote internal alignment. When everyone is on the same page, communication and delivery are consistent, your leads close and your customers are satisfied.

Well, you can see that it is a very important process, but it is laborious, isn’t it? That’s why we created the ICP Generator, to make your life easier.