How to Create an Effective ICP
Identifying an ICP (ideal customer profile) is one of the most important steps in developing your marketing strategy. An effective ICP is the first step to generating leads that qualify. It also makes your target customer outreach easier. Let’s review several useful tips on how to create an effective ICP.
Why do you need an ICP?
ICP has a number of benefits. For example, it helps focus on qualified leads or those customers who already have a purchasing desire. A detailed ICP helps increase qualified customer outreach and skip contacting the wrong leads. ICP helps streamline customer inflows and reduce churn rates. The information you collect before creating ICP also aids in adapting your offer to customers’ needs.
Therefore, a specific ICP boosts company’s sales and brand recognition.
How to Start: B2B Customer Description
The first thing to start with is the analysis of the existing customers. Try to get as much information about your clients as you can. Online analytical tools can help you fulfill this task. One of the most popular tools is Google Analytics which is available for free.
Once you’ve got an idea about those who are using your product/service, you need to categorize them as their level of interest, as well as many other characteristics, are different. For example, you can divide them into those who just began cooperation with your company and devoted clients. Other categories may involve location, size, industry, revenue, etc. This will help you get to know your customers better and develop the approach to address their needs.
Ask Satisfied Customers
Satisfied customers can provide you with the details about their buying process. Talk to them to learn more about their decision-making process, the channels they used to find your company, and how they benefit from your company. You may ask them about their needs, solutions they search for or pain points that force them to look for a solution, and whether their problem has been solved. The more questions you have the better but don’t be too pushy trying to get necessary information.
Use Free ICP Templates
You have already passed through the most difficult and time-consuming stages. This is the final step: you need to input data collected to the ICP framework. You may use free ICP templates widely available online.
Each business may use various customers’ characteristics to identify their ICP. Below you can find a sample of a checklist you’re recommended to use while completing your ICP:
- Company’s background (year of foundation, industry, size, history, etc.)
- Demographic characteristics of decision-makers within your target audience.
- Goals that the companies pursue at the moment.
- Challenges and how your company can address these challenges.
- Purchasing process (decision-makers in your target company tend to buy immediately, prefer to do preliminary research, consider several alternatives, etc.).
This checklist helps create a detailed ICP and better understand the goals of your potential customers. We recommend you share your ICP with your strategists, marketing and sales teams. It would be great if you create a shorter version of your ICP and visualize it with the help of graphic tools (e.g. SmartArt). This aids in better visual perception and memorizing your ICP.
Tips to Improve Your ICP
If you already have an ICP, you can try to do the following to polish it:
- read online complaints – this helps learn your customers’ pain points in details and better understand what kind of products/services they expect to get;
- track website traffic – analytical tools such as Google Analytics can provide useful details related to the website traffic and you can analyze your prospects’ behavior;
- examine your financial data – examining sales data can help you learn more about sales process;
- learn more about purchasing patterns – examine the events preceding the moment of decision-making and how a customer decided to buy from you.
Once your ICP is identified, you can start generating high-quality leads. Having a clear buyer persona can further optimize your marketing strategy. Use your ICP as a broader framework for completing the profile of your typical customers and several buyer personas to address different customer groups within your target audience.
Originally published 2021.01.11 , updated 2021.01.19