How to Create B2B Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Identifying the Ideal Customer Profile for your business is crucial to ensure that the resources are being invested in acquiring or retaining deals worth more than others.

In B2B, an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a hypothetical description of a type of company that would benefit immensely from your offering & provide you significant value in exchange. 

Once you’ve defined your ideal customer profile, the marketing team can work on the core value proposition & messaging to promote the products and services to target only the best type of customers. At the same time, the sales can go after them to pitch the most relevant solutions for their business.

There have been misconceptions about the difference between an Ideal Customer Profile and a customer persona. So, before going ahead, I’d love to discuss it and make things crystal clear for you.

Ideal Customer Profile Vs Customer Personas

An ideal customer profile is widely used in B2B marketing, while a customer persona is used by marketers in both spaces – B2B and B2C. 

Ideal customer profile defines the target companies, which are the perfect fit for the solutions you offer. It enlists all the qualities that make a company the best target for sales and marketing focus in terms of capital and time investment. 

ICP is about the best company to chase, while customer personas are the individuals you will have to encounter in that company. Customer persona defines the qualities of decision-makers involved in the buying process. 

For example, your company offers analytic solutions to retail brands to help them get better insights and predictive analysis of customer behavior. So, one of your ICPs should define the qualities of fashion brands, and the customer persona should define the traits of the CMO, Brand Manager, Analytics Head, CEO, or whoever plays a vital role in the buying process of analytic tools for that customer profile.

Difference between ICP and Customer Persona

Defining ICP and Customer persona for a company is very crucial for the lead generation funnel because ICP helps you identify the most potential customers. In contrast, customer personas enable you to target the decision-makers on social media and other platforms based on their professional traits like job roles, job functions, interests, etc.

Remember, to identify customer personas for your brand, you have to define the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) first. So, before delaying any further, let’s create an Ideal customer profile for a B2B brand.

Steps to Create B2B Ideal Customer Profile

Creating an Ideal Customer Profile is all about communicating with your customers to know your company from their perspective and defining the qualities of the most successful customers. 

Here’s how you can get all the information and define ICP for your brand –

1. List out your best clients

The first step to developing an ideal customer profile is comparing and analyzing your existing customers and identifying the accounts that have benefited the most from your solutions. 

To list such accounts, you can run through your previous feedback data and NPS score to find which clients are happy with your services and get the most value compared to the average clients.

Try to find 5-10 of your most successful brands. Add the below information about them-

  1. Industry
  2. Employee size
  3. Annual Revenue
  4. Budget
  5. Geographic Location(s)

You can add more fields to the list based on your industry and fill it with the information you already have and include the rest in the next step.

2. Conduct Interviews with top clients

Interviews with these clients aim to learn about their experience within your company ecosystem and collect information related to their buying process, goals, and challenges.

Here are a few questions you can ask to understand their buying behavior-

  1. How do they come to know about your company?
  2. Who makes the purchasing decision?
  3. How much research do they do before purchasing?
  4. Why did they decide to purchase your solution?
  5. Why do they continue using your solutions?

Questions to understand their goals and challenges –

  1. What are their biggest challenges?
  2. What is their goal to achieve with your company?
  3. How does your product solve their problem?

3. Compile the data & identify ideal customer characteristics

After collecting all the information, compile it in one place, preferably into your CRM software & look for common threads among your most successful customers. Using the data, try to figure out the characteristics shared by your best customers in terms of their buying behavior and business goals.

4. Fill in the ICP template

Now, take the data of each type of customer characteristic you identified and create profiles by adding all the information to each field into your ICP template, as shown below.

B2B Ideal customer profile template

Wrapping Up

As mentioned earlier, Once you’ve created ICP for your brand, you can use it to define the personas of the people who will be involved in the buying process.

To generate leads, you need to reach the decision-makers of your target company, and that’s where the customer persona comes into the picture. It defines all the best qualities of your target audience based on which you can target them on the right platform at the right time and with the right message.

Also, your job doesn’t end once the ICP is created. You have to ensure that the ICP is updated and relevant over time with the change in market and customer behavior. So, go through every step mentioned above quarterly or half-yearly and make the changes if any significant changes are observed.

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