There are countless ways to approach sales. One technique is to produce unique sales content, make a contact form available on your website, and wait for the leads to come in! That strategy works for many companies and creates countless opportunities to turn prospects into new customers. But do you really need to wait for leads to come to you?
Of course not! Account-based marketing (ABM) is a sales strategy that turns the tables. The goal is to figure out what accounts to target and reach out directly. Your team isn’t waiting for opportunities; they’re creating them!
It’s a fantastic, proactive approach that can make a big difference in your bottom line. But how do you know which accounts to chase?
An ideal customer profile (ICP) is a detailed description of the type of company that would benefit from your product or service the most. With an ICP, your team can narrow their prospects to those most likely to close a deal.
How Is This Different From a Buyer Persona?
An ideal customer profile is similar to another generalized view of customers: buyer personas. These two concepts share a close link, but they are very different.
First, an ICP focuses on the company. It’s about companies that will become the perfect customer, not individual representatives at those companies. You’re looking to make B2B sales, so you prioritize targeting specific companies that can benefit from what you have to offer. It’s about finding a company that serves as a long-term fit you can continually sell to for years.
Remember: The companies you’re targeting consist of many individuals with differing roles and personalities. You’ll use your buyer personas to appeal to those individuals within the companies on your ICP list. Personas are representations that account for demographics, motivations, and pain points. To be successful in sales, you need both an ICP and buyer personas. Typically, you’ll have a few personas for your ICP to give your sales team a better idea of who they’ll interact with when making pitches.
Example Characteristics to Consider for Your ICP
Ready to start creating your ICP? Before you begin your marketing efforts, there are several characteristics you should consider when making your ideal customer profile template.
The first thing to think about is one of the easiest. What sales vertical does your target customer belong to? A marketing vertical is the specific industries your product or service caters to. You might have multiple target markets. For example, your product might appeal to companies dealing in manufacturing parts, but it could also serve those in the automotive world.
Your first challenge in creating ideal buyer profiles is determining which industries will get the most out of your offering. This step alone will narrow things down tremendously for your marketing teams, making it easier to develop strategies that hit home for the right targets.
2. Company Size
Next is company size. Also known as the “headcount,” this factor refers to how many individuals are part of the company. Is it a small organization with only a handful of workers, or is your ICP a multinational corporation with thousands of employees?
This figure matters because it dictates how many stakeholders will be involved in the purchasing decision. It also affects how big potential sales could be. If a possible account has hundreds of employees who could use your product or service, those are the ones you want to chase.
3. Company Revenue
Revenue doesn’t seem that important unless it’s focusing on your own. But when creating your ICP, you can use this information to understand your targets’ financial situation better. Of course, you don’t want to focus too much attention on prospects that are struggling to make revenue. They likely don’t have the budget to close a deal, which affects the lead’s quality and timeline.
Sticking to companies over a specific revenue line could help your sales team focus on accounts with a good chance of making a purchase.
4. Estimated Budget
Understanding your target’s budget is a big part of any sales situation. When you’re dealing with B2B deals, it’s even more crucial. B2B sales tend to be larger, but there are also more hurdles. Tight budgets can restrict sale size potential, eating into your revenue.
Sticking to targets with sizable budget thresholds could help you fine-tune marketing strategies and sales pitches.
Thanks to increased globalization, geographic location isn’t a massive barrier to making B2B sales anymore. However, it still plays a part in developing your ideal customer profile. You might encourage your team to prioritize potential customers in a specific location. Doing so will help you stay ahead of the competition and ensure stellar customer service.
Targets outside that geographic radius aren’t always out of the question. However, they usually aren’t part of your ICP because of cross-border barriers like language, legal regulations, etc.
6. Customer Base
Another consideration is the size of the target’s customer base. When making B2B sales, many organizations fail to evaluate their clients’ customers. It’s an easy detail to ignore. You’re not selling to customers directly, so why think about it?
Ultimately, the companies in your ICP will use your service or product to serve their customers. They may be less inclined to close a deal with you if they have a small customer base. If they do make a purchase, it’ll likely be small. Sticking to companies with sizeable customer bases opens the doors for bigger deals and stronger business relationships.
7. B2C or B2B (or D2C or B2E)
Don’t forget to take your target’s business model into account. How do they make revenue? Who do they sell to? Depending on your offering, you may prioritize companies that sell to other businesses or those that sell directly to customers. You may even sell to direct-to-consumer or business-to-employee entities.
Whatever the case, understanding that business model helps you determine whether pursuing targets is worth the effort.
8. Product or Service Limitations
Finally, it would be best to consider your company’s product or service limitations. You likely have some form of service-level agreement that guarantees certain expectations. What if a client needs a product in a timeline outside your standard agreement? Can you meet that demand?
All businesses have limitations. You can only do so much. When creating your ideal customer profile, it’s essential to stick with companies that have demands you can meet without any friction.
Give Your Team a Competitive Enablement Platform
Establishing your ideal customer profile takes time and ample research, but the work your marketing and sales teams put in is well worth it. Understanding your ICP can help you be proactive about obtaining leads. Instead of waiting for them to come to you, your team can jump into action, collaborate with marketing, and create compelling pitches your target audience can’t ignore.
Want to empower your team to take action and create sales opportunities? Check out Flockjay. Our feature-rich sales platform is the only enablement tool you’ll need. Give your salesforce all the enablement content they require to close deals. From sales pitches to information about your ideal customer profile, the support can empower them to succeed.