An ideal customer profile is a hypothetical description of the type of company that would realize the most value from your product or solution. These companies tend to have the quickest, most successful sales cycle, the greatest customer retention rates and the highest number of evangelists for your brand.
An ideal customer profile (ICP), commonly referred to as an ideal buyer profile, defines the perfect customer for what your organization solves for. This is a fictitious company that has all of the qualities that would make them the best fit for the solutions you provide. An ICP lends itself very useful if your organization utilizes ABM, or account-based marketing, allowing you to focus on selling to targeted accounts that fit your organization. If done correctly, an ICP can help define the problems you're solving for, align your product/service capabilities with customers’ needs, and assist in laying out your future road map for product/service updates and changes.
Why not send every lead to sales? Some leads may not be a good fit, so it's important to identify who can buy from you and who can’t. That way your sales reps aren't spending too much time on leads that most likely won't close a deal with them. You can use your ICP to define what a good fit looks like. Consider these characteristics to identify the perfect fit:
Budget / Revenue / Company Size - what is the lowest cost threshold that a customer would have to pay for your product or service?
Industry - are there specific verticals that you work within? Are there verticals that you don’t work with?
Geography - do you not sell to a particular region?
Legality - are their legal reasons that limit your potential customer base, maybe age, location, or government restrictions?
Product or Service Limitations - do you have a service level agreement (SLA) with your customers to meet a certain response time? If someone needs a response quicker, can you guarantee you’ll be able to meet that demand?
This is a non-exhaustive list but a great starting point when trying to identify what your ideal customer looks like. These are the qualities that a lead needs to have to be able to buy from you. If they don’t meet all of these predefined characteristics, you can disqualify them and ensure your sales reps are spending time with leads that are a good fit.
ICPs are focused on the fit of the account and don’t dive too deep into the individuals you will encounter. Once you identify accounts that fit your ICP, you want to start thinking about who your sales reps are talking to and who is responsible for actually making the purchase. Ensure your sales reps are equipped to talk and answer questions for the different individuals they may encounter. Accounts that fit your ICP are made up of these individuals who hold different titles, product/service knowledge, and levels of experience. We will further define these individuals using buyer personas.