HOWTO: Identify Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

To pave the way for a fruitful sales strategy, it's crucial to first pinpoint your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). The ICP is a conceptual representation of the company that is your perfect customer, embodying all the characteristics that make them ideal. By delving into firmographics like company size, industry, location, annual revenue, and budget, you can zero in on the kind of companies that you cater to most effectively. This understanding enables you to grasp your customer's most significant challenges, adapt your products or services to meet their demands, and channel your sales endeavors towards securing the most appropriate customers. This can lead to reduced customer turnover and increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). It's essential for any B2B business aiming for accelerated growth, improved customer relationships, and heightened sales to identify and define their ICP.

Constructing Your Ideal Customer Profile

In order to secure, engage, and convert the right businesses for your products or services, you must discern the defining traits of your ideal customer. Here are five key questions to ponder:

  1. Who among your current customers maximizes the use of your products or services?
  2. What shared characteristics do your top customers possess?
  3. What common objections have been raised by previous customers or missed opportunities?
  4. Which customers are the easiest to upsell to and why?
  5. What commonalities exist among the customers of your closest competitors?

To answer these questions comprehensively, it's essential to delve into your data and align all departments. Every team in your organization can provide valuable insights that can help shape and adapt your sales strategies, allowing you to deliver the right message to the right companies at the right time.

Refining Your Ideal Customer Profile

  • Examine Your Current Data: Begin by collecting data from your CRM and identify key trends among your customers. Sort them by defining attributes such as industry, company size, revenue, funding, technology stack, and location. Compare these attributes with their profitability scores. Ponder on which customers have been with you the longest. Is there a correlation between certain firmographics and their Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores? Could factors like industry or employee headcount be influencing customer longevity?
  • Rank Your Customers: As you evaluate your data, compile a list of your highest and lowest performing customers. Reflect on what makes these customers an excellent match or a high-risk venture. Discuss the prevalent objections your Sales and Customer Success teams face regularly. Contemplate the key attributes that can lead these deals to stumble. Interact with each department to understand the metrics they use to set their team’s objectives and define success.
  • Scrutinize Your Success: Delve deeper. Once you have a list of your top and bottom customers, scrutinize not just the data but also the strategies you employed to secure and retain these customers. The more detail you examine, the easier it will be for you to empathize with your customers and mold your product or service around their needs.
  • Construct Your ICP: You are now ready to set the parameters for your success. Use the data you have gathered to draw conclusions. Remember, the attributes and metrics you choose to gather and analyze should be specific and relevant to your company’s goals.

Keep in mind that you can have more than one ICP, especially if you offer multiple products or services that cater to different pain points. Once your ICP is defined, you'll be able to better tailor your product or service to address the specific pain points of your customers. If you dissect what is currently working and analyze the common factors contributing to that success, you can replicate your efforts in a more scalable and sustainable way.

Formulate Your ICP

With the data you've collected, you're now prepared to set the parameters for your business success. Use this data to arrive at meaningful conclusions.

Below is a hypothetical illustration of how your comparison might appear:

Factors and Metrics for Examination
Remember, the metrics and factors you decide to collect and analyze should be specific and pertinent to your business goals. The following information serves as an example.


Industry: Tech Industry
Size: Medium
Headcount: >200
ARR: $200 million
HQ Location: North America

After scrutinizing your top-performing companies and categorizing them by their key characteristics, you're set to formulate your ICP.

Here's an instance of a finalized ICP:

Our base ICP is a medium-sized B2B company operating within the tech industry. Their headquarters are based in North America, but they cater to a global market. Their clientele includes medium to enterprise-level companies, and their Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) ranges from $500 million to $1 billion. They are experiencing notable growth, have recently secured funding, and currently use Salesforce and Outreach.


What's Next? Leveraging Your ICP for Business Growth

Upon establishing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), you can utilize it to qualify premium leads visiting your site. Leads that align with your ICP should be prioritized.

Next, juxtapose your ICP with your entire customer base, including current prospects and customers who have churned. You may identify new trends.

For instance, a particular ICP may exhibit a higher churn rate. In this case, you should investigate where they encounter difficulties in the process. Are you personalizing your onboarding for them? Do they struggle with specific tasks?

Your ICP can also assist you in scaling and reaching new market segments. By creating custom lists and lookalike audiences, you can expand your digital advertising while staying true to your ICP criteria.

The Next Steps

Discovering your ICP demands effort, as with all valuable things in life. There isn't a simple template or ICP generator for the type of ICPs we're discussing.

Identifying your ICP necessitates delving into your own data. You may believe you only have to do this once, but that's not the case.

ICPs are notably effective because they're rooted in data, which evolves. This implies that you should reassess your ICP at least annually or following any significant changes in your product.

Now that you understand how to apply an ICP for business, it's time to take action!