In this article, you will learn how to build, document and share your ideal customer profile (also known as a buyer persona or customer avatar) with your sales and marketing teams. Your ideal customer profile keeps you focussed and continuous work on the same type of prospects that match the profile helps you accelerate your revenue and profits.
What happens if you don’t have an ICP?
All of us want more business. But sometimes we lose track and say yes to any business. And sooner or later that “new” business bites us in the back and costs us money. We know which customer makes us money, but still, we say yes to “customers from hell.” If you’ve been in business for a while, you already know who your best and worst customers are. You also know which type of customers are most profitable for your business and which ones aren’t. If you’ve started out your business recently, you may stumble upon your best customer (and your worst customer) in your journey. This article will help you build and document your ideal customer profile so you keep attracting and prospecting customers which fit the mould and make you happy (and keep you profitable).
Is an ICP a waste of time?
You might think that building such an ideal customer profile is a waste of time and once it is built no one will really look at it again. However, in this article, I will prove that this is not correct.
Examples of how an ICP can help your business:
ICPs or ideal customer profiles help you focus your marketing and sales efforts towards your best customer types. For example:
- Your website should speak to your audience. The messaging on a website targeting business owners looking for new furniture is very different from a website targeting procurement managers at Fortune 500 companies.
- Your social media content should be relevant to your target market. If your audience or ideal customers spend the most time on LinkedIn or Twitter, then it is no point spending thousands of dollars on Instagram ads.
- Your content should help solve the problems faced by your audience. Blog posts on your website should help your audience solve problems. A new business looking for office interiors will have a different buying trigger and strategy than a large enterprise.
- Your lead generation system is focussed on “a target market or niche”. You can end up spending thousands of dollars by shooting arrows in all directions (any industry or anyone with money) as opposed to laser focusing on your niche or ideal customer profile to get more value or bang for the buck for your ad dollars.
- Your outbound prospecting needs to be focussed on a niche or a subset of prospects which can convert or can be nurtured to convert. If you give your SDRs (sales dev reps) or business development teams a random list of accounts, the results will be, well “random”. So a list of accounts which matches your ideal customer profile will help your SDR hone in on the right person in the organization and help the SDR communicate with that person effectively.
It’s ok to have more than one ICP:
In the furniture, interiors, building materials and construction industries, there is generally more than one ideal customer profile as there are multiple entities involved in decision making depending on the size of the project. You have architects & consultants, bid specifiers, project management companies, quantity surveyors, end customers, contractors, and sub-contractors, etc. Some of these profiles may act as an influencer (architects & consultants, bid specifiers, etc.) to get your specifications in the RFP – hence they may have different triggers and your message to them has to be different than the messaging to end clients or contractors.
So do build out all relevant profiles for your business. Also, be flexible to review, update and hone your ideal customer profiles every few quarters or sales cycles for continuous improvement to your profiles. Do take feedback from your sales and marketing reps while making updates to these profiles as the triggers, buying patterns and objections raised will help you make your value proposition so much more powerful.