Veteran American Author Sue Grafton once made a salient observation,
“Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”
How incredibly true it turns out to be when you observe the recent trend in startups.
The most classic example is Snapchat. Tech wise, Snapchat is nothing to write home about. Notwithstanding this, it became a phenomenon owing to its great marketing strategies that led to massive Lead Generation.
All in all, it always comes down to identifying strategies that have the greatest chance at lead generation.
A “sheep” would never chase unproductive leads.
You must be thinking, “Do they have a crystal ball which tells them who is the right fit or who is a poor fit”?
No, actually, smart and expert marketers never move forward before documenting an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), a strategy that plays a central role when it comes to Lead Generation. It helps them in identifying who should they approach and how to approach and most importantly, whom you should not approach.
Today, we’re going to talk about Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in length.
I’m going to cater to every one of your answers — What ICP exactly is? What is so important about it? And let’s not forget, What are the best tips and tricks to create your Ideal Customer Profile so as to generate maximum leads.
However, be patient. We’ll cross one bridge at a time.
What Is Ideal Customer Profile?
Think of yourself as a dance teacher who needs to call students asking them to perform in an annual university function. However, you have legions of students to call.
You’ll be better off, creating an ideal student profile that will filter out the students who are unlikely to show any interest or perform well resulting in making your work easier.
Here’s what your “Ideal Student Profile” will look like
- Students having subjects like theatres and art.
- Students with a past track record that consists of dancing
- Agile, hardworking students.
Now, you know what your ideal student looks like. You’ll only have to call the students filling out the above requirements rather than wasting your time, resulting in higher output.
Now, try to link the above with your company. And replace the word “student” in “Ideal Student Profile” with “customer”. In the practical sense, it’s not as different as one might think.
Ideal Customer Profile helps you to target only the best possible prospects who are the best fit for your company, saving both your time, money and let’s not forget sanity. It is the best way to ensure the quality of leads that have high chances of turning into a payable long-term customer and will be able to turn revenue generation into a dependable process.
In simple layman terms Ideal Customer Profile is a complete description of a hypothetical business or organisation that will get massive output from your product and services and in turn, provide your company with significant profits.
That’s the type of relationship everyone wants with their customer, right?
Why Should Ideal Customer Profile Not Be Overlooked?
Building an ideal customer profile will save you from casting a really wide net. Don’t worry, it doesn’t limit the net, instead, it confines the net up to the best possible dimension.
Don’t you want to target prospects who will eventually turn out to be your best customers? To enjoy a comfortable, symbiotic relationship with your customer?
IBM reported that it costs five times more to get a new customer than to keep one.
Let me tell you how that is relevant with ICP.
For example, say, you are a mid-size lead generation company.
Your ideal customer profile should target startups more rather than giant companies.
Simply because startups need you more and are more likely to retain you for the long term, given you provide excellent service. If giants like, say IBM, come your way, that’s like icing on the cake. But, rather than chasing that extra icing yourself, you’ll fare better and make more profit by focusing your energy on startups and eventually retaining them.
Moreover, Ideal customer profile empowers you with a choice to say “No” to a customer with red flags.
If you don’t make an ideal customer profile you might eventually end up doing business with not-so-ideal customers.
10 Imperative Tips And Tricks To Create An Ideal Customer Profile.
1. It All Comes Down To Data And Numbers
Your first and foremost task is to analyse your existing customers and gather data.
First, identify your strongest customers and why are they important. Are they bringing you more value and more revenue than your other existing customers?
Factors that decide the best customer
- Acquisition cost vs revenue generated: Assemble complete information, look at the numbers. Compare the acquisition cost with the revenue generated. Customers generating highest revenue juxtaposed to their acquisition cost turn out to be most profitable.
- Have you struck gold with Referrals?: Customers who make the most effective and valuable referrals are more profitable than the others. How many referrals have they made? Who made the most valuable referrals? Note down these facts and figures on a sheet.
- Influence: Which customers are venerated more in the market? What is their position of influence in their respective domain? Identify their background, how much they are worth in the market. A customer who is revered in the market will help you pull in more customers.
Review the data collected, drill down the numbers, audit wrong information and keep the data updated.
There, now you have your Ideal Customers. The facts that make a customer ideal is what your Ideal Customer Profile is all about.
2. Company Size Matters
Ever heard of the idiom “Don’t bite more than you can chew”?
Are you a mid-size startup and already targeting premier enterprises having more than 1000 employees? Then you’re guilty of biting more than you can chew.
Large enterprises have complex sales cycles. They are more interested in companies who already have, at least, a few credible customers to their name.
If you want to grow rapidly then add mid-size businesses to your ideal customer profile.
Many startups rose to fame and prospered by targeting small to mid-size businesses as their ideal customers.
3. You Should Know Whom To Approach
Make your ideal customer profile well defined by noting down the “who”, that is, whom will you approach in a particular enterprise?
Directly approaching the CEO is something you should avoid and neither should you contact someone who has a different department altogether.
Directly reaching out to people who are a part of the buying committee will generate better output within a lesser time-frame.
4. Go Beyond The Face Value
Never judge your ideal customer by the face value. Do extensive research regarding your prospect’s background. After all, you’ll be investing a relative amount of time and money in acquiring the customer.
Search for the prospect’s behavioural characteristics, past budget adjustments and the reasons behind it.
Be wary but don’t be rigid. Always keep your open to explanation since you don’t want to miss out on a productive prospect.
5. Age Is Not Just A Number
Never neglect the age of your prospects while creating an Ideal Customer Profile.
You cannot sell the same idea or deliver the same marketing message to people of different age groups altogether.
People in their late 20s or 30s are more prone to experimenting and try new products than the people in their 50s. Elder people might prefer something staid and reliable.
So you should know whom you are approaching and build your strategy accordingly.
6. Don’t Make The Common Mistake Of Neglecting The Location
It’s surprising when marketers often overlook location while building their Ideal Customer Profile.
This is what happens when you make this absurd mistake.
Suppose you’re a company based in Delhi, India and you’re targeting an enterprise based Boston, USA. There a noticeable difference of 9 hours 30 minutes between Boston and Delhi.
It means when the industries are up and running in Delhi (say, 12 PM) people in Boston are sleeping (2:30 AM).
Now, you know how imperative it is to include location and time-zone n your ideal customer profile.
7. Gender Of The Prospect You Are Targeting
Many marketers often neglect the gender of the targeting prospect.
While men are more market-oriented, on the other hand, you’ll need to up your game by leveraging intuition and emotional impressions as well, coupled with a pragmatic approach.
It might not always be true but when you see a specific gender domination among your prospects then you must take this into account.
8. How Does Your Product Help The Prospects
Question yourself, Will your product add any value to the prospect’s company? If yes, then how? And to what extent?
This way you’ll know whom to approach and whom to not approach. It’s the most vital part of your Ideal Customer Profile.
You don’t want to waste your resources on someone who has no need for your services.
Why would they care about how great your product is and how your company is excelling in the market? Leads want someone who can solve their problems.
9. Challenges Faced By Your Prospects
Now that we have sworn off prospects who have no need for our company, we want to target those who are in need of our product and services.
Identify what are the challenges that are inflicting them and how can you solve them, given that you can solve them.
Ensure that your Ideal Customer Profile includes the target customers whose challenges can be tackled using your product and services.
10. Let Out Your Inner Spy
Simpsons Know Better
Leverage Social Media to the fullest when it comes to gathering additional information regarding your target audience. Social Media is like an open book these days. If you brainstorm enough, you’re bound to gather a lot of information about your prospects.
Creating an Ideal Customer Profile once is not nearly enough. You’ll have to keep on updating it, at least once in three months. Most of you might already have a customer profile in mind, now all you need to do is to get it down on paper. However, don’t forget to back it up with a little research.