Too often, businesses try to market their products and services to the widest audience possible. But if you want your teams to be effective, they need to be laser-focused on the right customers. Clearly defining your ideal customer profile will help them do just that.
By understanding who you’re targeting, your team can better understand how to reach and engage those potential customers and go after truly valuable leads. When everyone is on the same page, you’ll see a big increase in leads and sales.
In this blog, we’ll show you how to find your ideal customer profile with data and the assistance of AI technology. With this valuable information in hand, you can fine-tune your sales and marketing efforts for maximum impact.
What is an ideal customer profile (ICP)?
There’s a lot of conflicting information online about the real definition of the term “ideal customer profile”. As we’ll explore later, some confuse the term with “buyer persona”. But ICPs are generally used by B2B businesses looking to target a specific type of company they know they can serve well.
An ICP is a fictitious company that:
- Would benefit from your services,
- Has the time to make the most of your solution,
- Has the budget to work with you,
- (If applicable) is located in the geographic region you serve,
- Is likely to be interested in what you’re selling,
- Would refer you to others based on their experience with you.
When done effectively, creating an ICP helps you and your sales and marketing teams clearly define who to target, what their specific challenges are, and how your company can help them. As a result, it helps you find new leads, qualify new targets and avoid wasting time and resources going after the wrong ones. It can also help you identify problems that need solving and opportunities to expand your offerings.
Difference between buyer persona and ideal customer profile
An ideal customer profile is a broad and high-level description of your ideal target customer. A buyer persona, on the other hand, is a description of a specific type of person within that company, i.e. the individual that your sales reps will be talking to, or your marketing team will be targeting.
A buyer persona includes information such as:
- Their age
- Their gender
- Their job title
- Their key personality traits
- Their challenges and how your product/service helps them overcome those challenges
- The content they consume
- Which channels they use to consume that content
- What drives their purchasing decisions
Once you’ve defined your ICP, you can then go into further detail and create a buyer persona, but note that they are two separate stages.
Creating an Ideal Customer Profile in 3 Steps
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is an ideal customer profile”, it’s time to learn how to create one. The process of creating an ICP is relatively simple and can be done in four steps:
Step one: Understand your company's key strengths based on customer opinion
What do your current customers value most about your company? This can be anything from your customer service to the quality of your product. Understanding what sets you apart from your competitors is key to knowing how to attract new customers that are looking for those same qualities.
Use online review data, social media comments, customer surveys and interviews to get an understanding of how your customers perceive your company. AI technology can help you analyse this data quickly and effectively to identify patterns and trends.
Symanto uses advanced AI text analytics to draw insights from qualitative data wherever it’s sourced. Symanto organises the data to give statistics on topics mentioned in the data and their related sentiment. For example, if you’re an SaaS company and you want to know how your customers feel about features, pricing, customer service etc., our software would give you an overview of how those topics are received in customer feedback.
Our intuitive data visualisations make it easy to see what your customers value most about your company and your offerings. Knowing this information will help you clearly define the types of customers that can best benefit from your services/products.
Step two: Identify who your best customers are
Now it’s time to delve into your sales data. Look at your current customer base and identify the companies that:
- Are most profitable,
- Have been with you the longest,
- Buy from you regularly,
- Give you the least amount of hassle,
- Refer you to other businesses.
These are your best customers and will be the foundation of your ICP. When analysing your data, look for trends and patterns among these customers.
For example, are they all in the same industries? Do they have similar-sized teams? Are they based in a similar location? Do they use your product in the same way? Identifying these trends will help you understand what type of customer is most likely to succeed with your company.
Step three: Create a profile
The third step is to put all of your findings together and create your ideal customer profile.
Here is an example of a potential ICP to give you an idea of how this might look:
Industry: Architects, structural engineers
Team Size: 30-100
Challenges: They identify that human error impedes accuracy and precision and delays projects. Data is difficult to access and share.
Values: They need a solution that is easy to use and doesn’t require training. They want a platform that will help them centralise data, increase collaboration and improve accuracy.
Location: Western and Northern Europe
Your ICP should be as specific as possible. The more detailed your profile, the easier it will be for your sales and marketing teams to identify and attract new customers that fit the bill.
Surprise step four: Put it into action
Creating your ICP is just the start. The real work comes in putting it into action and using it to guide your sales and marketing efforts.
Your ICP should be used as a filter for every new customer that you take on. To what extent does this company fit the profile of your ideal customer? One or two anomalies are to be expected but, in general, they should tick most of the boxes.
If a company doesn’t fit your ICP, it may still be worth doing business with them but you’ll need to be aware that they’re likely to require more time and effort (and potentially resources) than a company that does match up.
Get Started With Symanto
Symanto technologies can help you get the insights you need to create an accurate ICP by analysing what your customers value about your company through qualitative data in interviews, surveys, reviews and social media comments. Our technology has many other business applications besides; from helping you with market research to measuring employee satisfaction.
To find out more about the many ways our technology could help your business, get in touch with us today.