No one wants to miss a business opportunity. But casting a wide net isn’t the best strategy with limited resources. Instead, savvy small businesses, especially B2B, are going beyond defining their target market and building out ideal customer profiles (ICP). An ICP will help you go after those customers that will close fast and remain profitable. So let’s look at what it takes to finally build an ideal customer profile.
What You Got
You may think that the first step to creating an ICP is to understand what has worked well in the past, but don’t rush the process by anchoring yourself to biased thinking. Instead, start by looking at what your business offers and the needs it solves. It stands to reason that your ICP will have that exact pain too, so take the time to clearly define the value you deliver and the pain you ease, from your client’s point of view.
Blast From the Past
Make a list of the clients and prospects you went after over the last two or three years and identify the following traits.
Firmographic Data: How many employees did they have at the time? Where did they operate? What was their annual revenue at the time? What was their source of funding? What other traits about their business should you track that are relevant to identifying an ideal customer?
Use publicly available information, or even guesstimates to fill out the basic firmographic data. Don’t let uncertainty stop you!
Technographic Data: What was their tech stack at the time? While this is critical if you’re a technology service provider or consultant, knowing the systems and platforms your customers use will really help you hone in on your ideal customer.
Success Data: Which of the accounts did you win? Which did you lose? Why? How much revenue was generated and are they profitable?
Fitness Score: How well did each firm “fit” with the products and services you were offering at the time? This may be measured by how long it took to close a deal or how much you had to develop versus what you already had.
From your past efforts, you should be able to identify some key attributes of exactly the type of customers you want in your portfolio, regardless of if you won the account ultimately.
Take the data above to get a profile of your ICP. Then, identify how this ideal customer will signal its intent to make a purchase. What research are they conducting? What are they searching for on Google? Which pages on your competitor’s websites are they visiting? Work with your marketing team to look at what people are doing before they request to speak with you so you can add this to your ICP.
With the right understanding of what problems you solve and the right data and signals, you can get closer to understanding what a good account looks like to your business, so you can go out and get more just like it.
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