What Is An Ideal Customer Profile or ICP?

Post by
Sonia Osinski
Minute Read
September 8, 2020
Last Updated:
October 19, 2020

An Ideal Customer Profile is a description of a hypothetical company or person that you would most like to do business with. They would not only buy your product or service, but also provide you with the best revenue, have the most successful life cycle and adapt best to your offer. 

For a lot of growing companies, it’s likely they may not be able to choose which clients they want to work for and they’ll need to work with not-so-ideal customers until they get to a really good and stable situation.  

Why Is It Important To Create An Ideal Customer Profile?

This exercise can help you better understand who your target audience is, improve your marketing campaigns, and learn how to better communicate with your prospects. It can also help you differentiate mediocre leads from ones you should be paying special attention to. 

 Even though these are hypothetical cases, it can really help you define the next steps in your marketing and sales campaigns as it sets a clear standard as to where you would like to go (even if not all your leads can be similar to those) and help you define other processes like: what types of leads qualify as Marketing Qualified Leads, which ones as a Sales Qualified Lead, who are your different buyer personas, what should your funnels look like, etc. 

How Do You Create An ICP? What Should Be Taken Into Account?

To create an ICP you should take into account all the factors that would make up your “perfect client”.  Your main guiding questions should be along the lines of:

  • What are the qualities that a lead needs to have to be able to buy from you? 
  • What would their problem look like? 
  • How does it provide a larger margin and/or a better revenue for your company?

For a service company who offers both “one-time” and long-term services for example, it’s likely their ideal customer would be a company with a significant budget, that pays the highest value package on a continuous monthly subscription and requires little assistance from your sales team.

What Are Some Of The Primary Characteristics That Can Be Defined In An ICP? 

Some of the characteristics can be based on the company’s/client’s: budget, company size, industry, location, tech stack, company culture, etc. These segmentations and characteristics will ultimately be defined based on your experience, your revenue and the feedback from your company.

What Is The Difference Between An Ideal Customer Profile And Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are representations of your customers created based on their characteristics. They share specific traits that make them interact differently in the buying process. The main benefit of creating these personas is to create sales and marketing processes according to their interests, set prioritization between leads, and create custom communications to generate a more personalized experience, create product development roadmaps, among other benefits.

While Buyer Personas are similar to Ideal Customer Profile, the main difference is that the latter is based on an ideal customer, one that you would make up and would love to meet, while the buyer personas are representations of true leads you may stumble upon who follow a similar pattern of characteristics.

In Conclusion..

An Ideal Customer Profile is an aspirational objective, but should be based on real data analysis from past customers when possible.. Doing this exercise and having it written down will help you further create other processes and make sure your plans and your teams are aligned with your future goals.

At Intelus, we’ve helped multiple companies get a head start on their sales and marketing strategies. You can reach out to us for a free 30-minute consultation to learn more about how to leverage your digital marketing.

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