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                  Ideal Customer Profiles VS. Buyer Personas

                  face Author Maxim Skrypnyk
                  fi-rr-clock Read duration 7 min read
                  fi-rr-calendar Published date Apr. 25, 2023

                  Ideal Customer Profiles VS. Buyer Personas

                  When it comes to finding clients and growing your business whether you’re an independent contractor, small business owner, in-house specialist, or the CEO of a large corporation, having a good understanding of what an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is and how it helps guide efforts is crucial to short and long-term business success. 

                  Assuming that you fall into the functionality of Sales or Marketing and target organizations that could be considered as SMEs or Enterprises, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) becomes increasingly important.  

                  In this blog post, I’m going to go over how you can implement ABM tactics into your marketing strategy using Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas. Keep in mind that they aren’t the same thing. 

                  What is an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?

                  In the simplest terms, an ICP is a description of the company that meets all the necessary criteria to be considered your client or customer. 

                  For a company to be considered your ICP, it needs to meet certain criteria that the sales and marketing department(s)/team(s) have identified as key areas of relevance. 

                  These criteria include but are not limited to the following: 

                  • Industry and/or vertical
                  • Employee headcount and/or department headcount
                  • Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
                  • Budget
                  • Geography and/or mother language
                  • Technology used
                  • Size of customer/client base
                  • Level of organizational or technological maturity

                  ABM strategies are widely popular because they are built on generating revenue from a carefully selected list of target accounts; in other words, exclusively from companies that are a great fit for your product or service.

                  Example of a Clear, Well-Defined Ideal Customer Profile

                  Make sure that you have a clear, well-defined description of the type of account you’re looking for. 

                  Here’s an example of a B2B ICP for one of SalesAR’s most recent clients, pavdy – a Brand Management and Communications agency that targets Law Firms and SaaS solutions. 


                  As you can see, this Ideal Customer Profile example doesn’t hit on every single characteristic we discussed above. It’s up to your team to determine which factors are the most important to include in your ICP.

                  What is a Buyer Persona?

                  In the simplest terms, a buyer persona is a description of an individual who is employed at your ICP and can make a purchase decision in your favor, including what their days are like, the challenges they face, and how they make decisions.

                  If you’re going to participate in ABM, you’ll need multiple buyer personas constructed from deep research. To craft an appointment-setting buyer persona, you need to take a second and think about what your product/service offers, why you built the ICP you did, and who specifically is the right person for you to deliver the good news about your product/service to.

                  How to create a buyer persona:

                  1. Identify which departments within your ICP need what you’re selling.
                  2. Take note of how large your ICP is. How many people are within each department? 
                  3. Decide which titles are the most effective communication points based on how big the organization is. For example, if you’re targeting a company with less than 350 employees, executives are still viable points of contact. However, if the company is 350+ employees, you’ll start to find that getting in touch with middle-level managers can be more effective than reaching out to executives (they’re too busy and don’t always involve themselves in day-to-day processes). 
                  4. Use LinkedIn to find actual contacts with the titles you’ve identified from your ICP accounts. Make sure to also review deals that your organization has already closed and look into who handled that on the client side. 
                  5. Gather 15-25 of those contacts into a CRM by title. 
                  6. Continue to organize those contacts (by title) deeper into geographical location, age +-, male/female, experience (time in position), and any information you can gather about who they follow (people and organizations), a.k.a their interests. 
                  7. Use that information to find an average; perfect, fictional buyer persona built off of real-life data. 

                   Although Account-Based Marketing relies heavily on ICP data, buyer-persona data is extremely important in assisting in more accurate campaigns.

                  The more accurate a campaign is, the higher the Return On Investment (ROI) and Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) will be on marketing activity. 

                  How to Use a Buyer Persona

                  Once you’re confident in the personas you’ve developed, you can use them in a wide range of ways to create business value for your company. 

                  Product development can use buyer personas when building product roadmaps. 

                  • Use them to identify and prioritize changes to your offering based on what your clients and/or customers need the most.

                  Marketing can use buyer personas to build effective strategies. 

                  • Create effective content marketing strategies with focused keyword research in copy.
                  • Identify and prioritize promotional activities.

                  Sales can use buyer personas to build rapport with potential clients and customers. 

                  • Understand what the prospect is dealing with and come prepared to address their concerns.

                  Customer Support can use buyer personas to better serve your clients and customers. 

                  • Know what problems your clients and/or customers are trying to solve with your product/service and the frustration it causes when things don’t work out. 

                  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

                  When it comes to Ideal Customer Profiles, Buyer Personas, and Account-Based Marketing, there are numerous questions that I’m asked all of the time as a Business Development Specialist. So, what I’ve decided to do is add an FAQ section with some of the most frequent I get from clients and connections in my LinkedIn inbox. 

                  What is an Ideal Customer Profile, and how does it help sales and marketing teams set more sales appointments?

                  An Ideal Customer Profile, or ICP, is a descriptive profile of the account (company/organization) you deem as the best fit for needing your product/service. 

                  These profiles are crucial for Sales and Marketing in B2B efforts because they’re the key to setting the strategic direction you need to take to see business success in sales and marketing activities. By identifying your ICP, you know exactly who, when, and why. 

                  What is the goal of ICP development?

                  The goal of developing a clear ICP is to identify the accounts most likely to become high-value customers/clients. Objective measures of value like annual contract values (ACV) and lifetime values (LTV) facilitate the segmentation of target accounts and go-to-market alignment.

                  Why is designing the ICP so critical for sales and marketing success?

                  By investing the appropriate time and attention into developing your ICP, you can achieve compelling results, such as faster sales cycles, higher conversion rates, and greater average ACV and LTV. 

                  How the team at SalesAR uses ICPs to maximize ABM activities

                  As a B2B business development agency, or if you prefer the more direct terminology – a B2B lead generation and appointment-setting agency, we’re focused on using ICPs and buyer personas to guide our direct email marketing campaigns. 

                  Everything starts with an in-depth discovery phase: 

                  • Once the SalesAR Account Executive and you are all on the same page about the process, you’ll fill out an ICP form that the SalesAR Researcher will use to generate a list of ICPs. 
                  • After the list has been approved by you, you’ll be required to fill out a Buyer Persona form. The Researcher will continue to generate a list of contacts. 
                  • Using the list of contacts and the Buyer Persona form, the SalesAR copywriter will begin to develop unique messaging to be used in emails. 
                  • Then the SalesAR Sales Development Representative (SDR) will take the Buyer Persona form and the emails to organize the outreach strategy. 
                  • From there, the SDR will start emailing contacts and handling their responses to set sales appointments for you.
                  • After the cold outreach campaign is launched, your Account Executive will keep you updated every step of the way. 

                  Really, without a clear ICP, there’s no way to set up an effective ABM campaign. However, don’t worry. We’re here to help! 

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