Ideal Customer Profiles: the What, Why, & How of an ICP

how to create an ideal customer profileHere’s a harsh business truth to chew on: not all customers are created equal. While it may sound like a good financial move to take on any business that comes your way, this mentality won’t do you or your clients any favors in the long run. So how do you suss out which customers are worth the energy and which are a waste of time for all parties? The answer is simple: define and utilize an ideal customer profile. 

What is an Ideal Customer Profile?

An ideal customer profile, or ICP, is a theoretical description of what kinds of customers will see the most value from your company’s offering and vice versa. Your ICP will consist of a list of demographics that are best suited for your services. While a prospect won’t need to meet every ICP qualification to be deemed a good business fit, the closer they are to your criteria, the smoother the sales process and professional relationship will be. 

Why Do ICPs Matter?

Though creating an ideal customer profile may sound like an energy strain, you’ll actually waste more time by not having an ICP in place. Bringing on the wrong customer won’t result in a lasting business partnership, taking away hours that could have been spent servicing accounts who bring continuous value and revenue.

Detailing your ideal customer profile will also maximize efficiency for your sales and marketing departments. Having a set prototype for ideal clients will help you determine which prospects to focus on, as well as which ones to disregard. 

How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile

One of the best starting places to put together an ICP is to analyze your existing customer base. Compile a list of your ‘best’ clients and figure out their commonalities. This classification will allow you to see exactly what type of person or business has gained the most value from your products or services, as well as which ones are most beneficial to your company. Go a step further by interviewing this client list for intel that data can’t deliver.

Once you’ve completed the research stage, use all the information gathered to create an outline of demographics, behaviors, and goals (among other details) that define what makes a customer a great fit for your business.

The more thorough you are in developing your ideal customer profiles, the more benefits your company will see from them. ICPs improve sales enablement, client satisfaction, and may even lower your customer acquisition cost when used correctly. Though doing the legwork for the ideal customer profile may be tedious, this is one business growth strategy that should never be skipped.

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