If you’re working in sales, the idea of an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) won’t be breaking news to you. Your ICP should be embedded in your everyday prospecting and in a nutshell, is a top level description of the type of company that would gain the most value from your product or service. The type of customer you just know could greatly benefit from what you’re offering. These customers have the most successful relationships with your company, higher retention rates and are likely to be your brand champions.
So targeting these ICPs is a no brainer, right?
Pitfalls of an unclear ICP
Before you begin, it’s super important to make sure you’re really clear on what your ICP is. It’s really easy to step into information overload where you’re attempting to be ‘all things to all people’, before you know it, you have twenty different versions of your profile. Slightly different profiles come with:
- Different voices
- Different needs
- Different demands
- Different problems
- Different use cases
All of these differences are coupled with a wider range of objections, competitors, stakeholders, longer cycles, and require YOU to bend and flex to suit these profiles. Not great. Let’s say you win these different profiles and they become customers, you’re now faced with different voices, needs and demands with varying use cases, bringing challenges for your Customer Success and Support teams.
The pros of a super tight ICP
On the flip side, if you have a really clear defined profile, a strong understanding of what they care about, what they’re trying to achieve, and the problems or challenges holding them back, then everything connected with prospecting gets easier and more efficient. Your voices are the same, needs and demands are similar, if not the same, objections and challenges are the same. This makes your life a whole lot easier.
These prospects become customers and your product team is focused on building a product to serve one clear audience. Your messaging speaks to one type of clear customer, making it more relevant and compelling, and your Customer Success Team will have better conversations, more satisfied customers and advocates who will in turn rave about your product or service to their network.
How to nail down your perfect ICP!
1. Get together
Get your sales team together, in person if possible, if not, do it in a virtual forum. Identify which of your existing customers were the ‘easiest’ to win, which ones are staying with you. Which ones are getting the most value from your product or service. Now note down the common factors. Industry, geography, size, budget etc. Your rough structure will begin to emerge…
2. Tap into your existing customers
Ask questions. Find out more about your most successful customers’ buying process. How they discovered you, why they decided to purchase your product/service, and how they’re benefiting from it now that it’s in practice. You should also try to learn about their specific pain points and how your solution solves them.
3. Identify characteristics and create your ICP
Download our free template to start collating all of the information into one key ICP. You may be tempted to create multiple versions but try to keep it to one or two key profiles. Once complete, make sure EVERY salesperson within your organisation is armed with this profile, clear on who the ICP is and confident in identifying opportunities that fit this profile.
The most important function of the ICP is to make your life easier, and to generate high-quality leads based on the fact that you already know that your product or service can deliver value to your lead.
This post is an excerpt from the Amazon best-selling sales book 'Problem Prospecting' - authored by our very own sales experts at Refract! For your own complimentary copy and more invaluable first-hand advice, you can request yours here...