ICP: What is an Ideal Customer Profile?
Posted by LeadScale on November 10, 2022

Few businesses utilize tailored sales and marketing materials to exactly match their target customers. As tempting as it may be to copy and paste your sales presentation across a range of different sectors, there isn’t a cookie cutter mould for the perfect pitch. For your sales and marketing efforts to be truly effective, you need to find your niche, along with who you can and should market your products and services. 

If you’re in business, you’ve likely heard the term “ICP” flung around. But what is an ICP? And how can you create and target one for your business?  

Ideal Customer Profile VS Target Persona

An ICP describes your ideal customer whilst considering factors like demographics, psychographics, and behavioural data. On the other hand, a Target Persona is more specific. It takes into consideration the people inside your ICP. This profile determines whether you’re trying to engage CEOs, CFOs, or other decision-makers. By creating an ICP, you are not only creating a persona profile, but you are also defining the people you want to target inside a specific industry. This way you can better target your marketing and sales efforts and attract the clients most likely to do business with you.  

Ideal Customer Profiles drive “target account list creation, segmentation, organizational structure, and other key activities”, according to Gartner 

“For example, if you are a B2B service provider, your ideal customer might be businesses within a certain geographical region. Your user personas will then be descriptions of employees you’ll target in these companies, like the CEO, the CMO, or the Director of Finance”. Jaron Lukas, Medium. 

Diagram: ICP versus Target Persona

How do you build an ICP?

To create an ICP that works for you and your firm, you need to pinpoint what you are looking for in a prospective client. If you already have an extensive client base, ask: who are your best clients and why? Who are your most profitable clients? Which accounts fall under progressive industries? A helpful exercise could be dividing your client base by specific data points, for example, age, location, gender, firm size, or income level. Once you’ve done this, you can start to look at which segments are most profitable for your firm or piece together the relationship between these clients and what makes them valuable.  

“An effective ICP requires close consultation with key stakeholders, careful data analysis, and thoughtful implementation.” Gartner 

The fundamental data points you should look at include the following: 

  • Filmographic  
  • Environmental 
  • Behavioural 
  • Industry 
  • Company Size 
  • Business Model (B2B, B2C, SaaS, Retailer, etc.) 
  • Estimated Revenue 
  • Number of Employees 
  • Region or Geographical Location 
  • Tech Stack 
  • Number of Buildings or Branches 
  • Company Pain Points 
  • Number of Partners 

The diagram below highlights the process companies should undertake to create a more targeted lead-generation engine. 

Diagram: Process from research to lead generation campaign

“Define as many attributes as possible for each customer and look for commonalities. What is going right? As you notice these trends, you will build an understanding of your ideal customer.”  Jaron Lukas, Medium. 

How do you target your ICP?

Once you’ve defined your ICP, you can start to target your prospects with your marketing and sales efforts for better lead generation and ROI. Finding an ICP is effective because it pulls marketing, sales, and executives into one cohesive plan. Each department can implement its own strategy to retain and attract valuable clients. 

Whoever your ICP is, you need to go to where they are within the market. For example, if they are younger, you may go to Tik Tok; if they are business-focused, you may use LinkedIn. Another typical strategy might involve creating targeted ad campaigns or sending personalized emails based on their pain points or where their firm could benefit from a solution. Whatever you do, aim to reach out to your ICP and make them aware of how your company will make it easier for them to reach their goals.  

Finally, make sure you’re consistently tracking your results so you can see whether or not your ICP marketing efforts are paying off. Data collection and analysis are your friends in this regard. In theory, your marketing efforts should reduce the number of leads marked as spam, and your efforts will be more targeted. If they’re not, don’t be afraid to adjust your approach until you find something that works. After all, effective Marketing is all about testing and learning what tactics work for your business.  

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