Does your business focus on as many prospects as possible who might be natural buyers of your service or product? It’s been the usual way to do sales for years. But there’s a smarter strategy now that many companies are paying serious attention to. It’s not about the huge mass of possible customers. It’s about a much smaller group of high-value customers – and it’s these who should be in your ideal customer profile framework.
So let’s take a closer look at the idea.
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Framework 101
Your ICP framework is your strategic document that identifies the customers who will benefit most from your product or service and therefore bring in the most value to your organization.
Unless you’re testing a new market, you place your major focus on this group because it affects everything that happens downstream.
In general, therefore, your ICP is a comprehensive outline of your most valuable customer. This will include details such as their demographic, firmographic, behaviors, pain points, psychographics, and customer benefits. Out of the total addressable target audience, your ICP document helps you reach those who will respond positively to your sales and marketing campaigns and bring you a sizeable return.
How do you create this? You have to gather facts first.
You must take into account quantitative, qualitative, and (optionally) predictive data gathered from past interactions with customers, leads, partners, and other stakeholders in the market (and be open to adjusting the ICP over time).
So, data rules the ICP. Instead of guessing what to put in your ICP, you analyze the data you already have on your current high-quality buying customers to determine the characteristics they share.
Why Does the ICP Framework Matter?
Your ideal customer profile framework matters because of the benefits it brings you compared to indiscriminate targeting. We’ll pull out four benefits as examples.
1 You save on outlay and improve ROI
There are many marketing strategies out there, and a good marketing leader knows better than to pursue all of them in the hopes of one of them producing results. That’s the road to ruin because your customer acquisition costs grow with these kinds of vague marketing tactics!
So – an ideal customer profile framework identifies your high-value customers’ unique characteristics and needs. And this understanding allows you to target accurately. You’ll find you can therefore budget with an eye on a more definite ROI: You’re focusing on profitable marketing activity rather than wasting money and time.
2 Your campaigns succeed due to personalized content
Customers, whether B2C or B2B, expect personalization. It benefits you and them and encourages engagement.
However, the key to creating personalized content and marketing campaigns lies in how well you understand your customers. A well-informed customer profile that’s data driven will help you
- identify and target best-fit customers, and
- personalize your messaging expertly to them.
Personalization is simply not possible with a large target audience, but becomes so when you’re dealing with a select group of customers. The data you collected now informs every aspect of your personalized marketing campaigns.
3 Your (now) customer-focused sales and marketing is effective
The ICP framework is a strategy that you embed across your business. It’s the sure-fire foundation for both your marketing and sales teams. And the ensuing, careful targeting helps you
- speed up both longer and shorter sales cycles,
- increase conversion rates because you’re relevant, and
- build customer loyalty – whether that’s the annual value they bring you or their lifetime value.
Being customer-focused rather than sales-focused is crucial. The customer expects a good customer experience today, but you can also create more effective value propositions and messaging for them. It’s a win-win.
And instead of marketing and sales each doing their own thing with their own possibly conflicting data sets, both teams can rely on the analyzed data that supports your ICP framework and focus on the high-value customers. This helps them jointly create scalable and repeatable strategies that are geared to convert prospects and retain existing customers.
4 The lead generation process is easier to filter
In today’s economic reality, you can’t afford to spend time trying to appeal to every persona in a large target audience. When you focus on the ideal customer, it’s easier to notice – among your leads – the attributes of likely high-value customers. You can then filter out less-useful leads and focus on leads where you stand a real chance of closing a deal.
Your ideal customer profile should therefore take you straight to the high-value leads you can qualify into paying customers. This lead segmentation then helps you tailor your go-to-market plans.
ICP Framework to Grow Your Business
The ideal customer profile framework is key to addressing your clients’ needs. And without managing this aspect, you will not grow as a business. That’s because a significant amount of business growth stems from referrals and returning customers.
So, once you’ve defined your ideal customer profile, you must continue to gain insight about what may be affecting your customers’ relationship with you. You need to keep them.
For example, you might discover your customers are struggling during the onboarding process. They need some customer training. Your well-informed ICP framework will help you solve the issue by creating a better, customized onboarding that’s easy to follow and complete.
Another way to grow your business is by reaching new audiences and new markets. By building from your current ideal customer profile framework, you can create custom lookalike audiences, and scale your marketing efforts quickly while staying focused on the “high-value customer” criterion.
Enhance Your Business With an ICP Framework
In a nutshell, your ICP framework matters because your customers matter! However, it takes time and research to develop customer profiles that work. So – start from your existing customer data, filter the data to find the customers who bring most value to your business – and remember it doesn’t end when you develop your first ideal customer profile!
Why? Because client needs and business environments change. You have to monitor and assess regularly.
But many companies have now found the ideal customer profile framework worth the initial effort. Why scatter for cents when you can focus for hundreds of dollars?
At 360 Consulting, we’re more than happy to help you kickstart the process. We’ve worked with many businesses to help them solve their sales issues.
Want to build in lasting success? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our sales experts.