Imagine you cooked a scrumptious dinner for your guests without knowing their dietary preferences. You could end up serving eggs to a vegan guest, or worse a sugary dessert to a diabetic one. Terrible, isn’t it? Similarly, marketing without knowing your target audience is like shooting in the dark.
Consequently, it leads to an enormous amount of time, money, and resources being spent reaching out to disengaged & low-value audience. The same efforts could have been channelised towards a high-potential audience to generate quality leads. As stated in a HubSpot report, generating qualified leads is the biggest challenge for marketers.
How to conquer this challenge? Simply by determining your ideal customer profile (ICP). Before we dive deep, let’s understand the exact meaning of a perfect customer profile.
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What is a B2B Ideal Customer Profile?
An ideal customer profile refers to the comprehensive description of the kind of company that will benefit from your product/service. In other words, the prospective company will need your offering if you reach out to them at the right time. Ideal customers give significant value in return beyond the monetary gain. They most likely become the brand advocates and promoters of your business.
Ideal Customer Profile Vs. Buyer Persona: Key Difference
While Ideal Customer Profile and a buyer persona are often used interchangeably, they are two different yet essential account-based marketing components.
The B2B Ideal Customer Profile zeroes in on the account’s fit, i.e., the companies most likely to buy from you and yield a high ROI for your business. Alternatively, a buyer persona gives an overview of the people tasked with the purchasing decision in the company that makes up your ICP.
Apparently, through feedback, testimonials, and referrals, ICPs become more involved in your company’s overall growth. Aside from the obvious explanation, ICP’s creation is crucial to attaining a rock-solid, iron-clad approach to pipeline development. Creating an ideal customer profile is often tossed aside but should be at the centre of your marketing plan. So, let us look at some of the precise reasons to create a customer profile.
Why Do You Need to Create an Ideal Customer Profile?
1. Account-Based Marketing
The ideal customer profile is integral to account-based marketing (ABM). ICP unfolds the characteristics of your perfect fit target accounts such as revenue, geography, revenue, etc., which ABM optimizes for highly targeted personalized campaigns.
2. Improve Lead Qualification
B2B Ideal Customer Profile can be used as a benchmark to qualify leads. If the lead characteristics differ from your ideal customers, you can take them out of the funnel. This way, you can focus more on leads that hold the potential to be your perfect customer.
3. Ad Targeting
The insights of your B2B Ideal Customer Profile can help you target ads to the right people at the right time. You can create custom affinity and placement-based audiences per their area of interest.
4. Convey Right Message
By knowing your ideal customer’s pain points, needs, and interests, you can craft a tailored message and communicate it through the marketing collateral. An ideal customer profile gives you the direction and angle required to produce relevant content.
5. Define Pricing
Find the pricing format your ideal customer profile would be comfortable with. ICP might like long-term pricing where they would have a contract for long-run service usage, or they might be the small businesses preferring to pay monthly as per the ROI they are receiving. In a nutshell, ICP tells you how big your customers’ pockets are so that you can define pricing accordingly.
6. Align Product, Sales, and Marketing for the Win
A B2B Ideal Customer Profile makes your product, sales, and marketing teams work in tandem. Your product team can work on the features to best fit your Ideal Customer Profile, while the marketing department can brainstorm personalized messaging and content. Ultimately, the sales team will focus on the priority accounts.
Achieving synergy between the three departments can help in hyper-targeting your sales and marketing efforts in B2B.
So, now that we have learned the critical reasons for having an ideal customer profile, let’s move ahead and address the elephant in the room, which is how to create a perfect customer profile
How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile?
You can create a B2B Ideal Customer Profile out of nothing or build it based on user data. Creating a data-centric customer profile might sound easy for well-rooted firms, unlike start-ups, small, and medium-sized businesses that might need to start from scratch.
Modern and skilful B2B marketers probably rely on predictive analytics over secondary data. If you are a data-driven marketer, let us walk you through the steps of creating an ideal customer profile.
Identify the Best Accounts (Potential Customers)
When it comes to picking up the best accounts, make sure your customer data is accurate, relevant, reliant, and integrated to process it further for ideal customer profile creation. If that is not the case, take up the CRM data cleansing and enrichment solution for zeroing the errors and leveraging the data standards. Once the data is ready, consider the below points to filter out some of the best customers from your data universe.
- Good potential for growth
- Maximum years of business connection with your company
- High annual contract value
- Most profitable
- Once you have determined the parameters, combine the data, and look for patterns and commonalities in the customers.
Demographics, Firmographics, and Technographic Details
Some of the in-depth data points that must be part of your ICP process are your customers’ demographics, firmographics, and technographic details. Demographics comprise the geographical location your prospective customers would most probably belong to. Whereas firmographics talks about what the target account is all about, who the decision-makers are in buying the products, their designations, industry type, preferred product category, etc.
On the other hand, technographic information requires you to find the technologies prospective customers use or have used earlier to compare them with your products. Digging out such crucial data points requires data expertise and laborious efforts. Hence, you can look for a data partner who can provide a comprehensive bespoke B2B database.
Talk to Your Customers
Having an open conversation with your customers can unveil profound insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Take that chance to ask for precise details of their perspective towards your product/service. Keep it short and to the point with open-ended questions. Don’t miss out on asking for their feedback to improve the offerings.
Build Behavioral Profile
By now, you must have collected all the major and minor details about your existing and prospective customers; it is time to merge all that information to create one cohesive picture. The behavioral profile gives you an outline of your ideal customer to plan the marketing strategies around it.
Outline Your Unique Selling Proposition
This concerns you and your business. What makes you stand out, and why should prospective customers choose you and not your competitors?
A unique selling proposition can help you outline the strengths and benefits of your product and how your services (not your competitor’s!) can effectively address your prospective customer’s pain points.
If you are thinking about how much time it takes to create a B2B Ideal Customer Profile, then it is a branding exercise. It can either take 6 weeks or 6 months, depending on how elaborate or lean you want to create ICP for the desired purpose. The objective is to understand the profile in and out to sharpen the customer targeting for an effective marketing strategy.
If you are keen to get started with ideal customer profile creation, then we are here to help you with our B2B customer data and account profiling solution. It will help you get a firm hold on what your ideal customer looks like to kick-start an insights-driven 360° marketing program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ideal customer characteristics: They make consistent purchases. They frequently act as ambassadors for your brand or product both offline and online. They recommend your company to others. They provide feedback but don’t consume a lot of your support resources.
An ideal client is someone who falls into your target market. They are likely to be interested in your product or service because it fixes a specific problem or meets a need or desire. Remember that your brand identity and the products or services that you are selling have an impact on the ideal customer profile.
An ideal customer profile is a description of the business—not the specific purchaser or end user—that is the ideal match for your offering. Your ICP should concentrate on relevant traits of your prospects and customers, like Industry/vertical. A number of employees, both overall and in important departments.
The basic customer profile includes services or products used, pain points, and demographics.
A target customer profile is a thorough summary of your ideal client. Every successful brand will cater to a variety of consumers. Age, interests, lifestyle, and location will be different. Some will buy once and never return, while others will buy on occasion. Some will buy once and never return, while others will buy on occasion.