Having a clear definition of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is one of the most important things that you (as a B2B company) can do to align your organization toward a common goal. It focuses your business on attracting high-quality accounts instead of prospecting to any company who may buy your solution. Beyond sales and marketing, an ideal customer profile can influence product features and functionality, define elements of a service offering, and more.
And the impact of aligning your organization toward your ICP? Shorter sales cycles, higher conversion rates, and increased customer lifetime value.
What is an Ideal Customer Profile?
An ideal customer profile is a description of the organization that is a good fit for your solution. Common attributes used to define an ICP include industry, location, number of employees, and revenue. For many B2B companies, technology usage is also included to further qualify a company’s fit.
Savvy B2B companies are also using machine learning and AI to define their ideal customer. Leveraging CRM win/loss data, as well as real-time insights on those companies, this technology identifies the companies that are most likely to buy.
5 Key Elements of a B2B Ideal Customer Profile
To start, think about your top customers—the companies that get the most value from your solution. The business attributes across this cohort of customers will help as you define your ideal customer profile.
Company firmographics. A common starting point when developing an ideal customer profile is basic firmographic data. Look at the commonalities across their industry, geography, annual revenue, and number of employees. Your solution may be best for a company with over 200 employees, or that are based in North America and Asia. Let the data, as well as your understanding of your business define these parameters as you narrow down the universe of possible companies that fit your ideal customer profile.
Technology use. There are two primary ways that technology usage can be used in your ideal customer profile. First, you can narrow your audience by the companies that are using technologies that are complementary to your solution. For example, if you provide security solutions for companies running Windows servers, you will likely want to include “actively using Windows servers” within your ICP.
The second way that you can use technology in your ideal customer profile is by including companies that use competing technologies. Why might this be valuable information? Because these companies already see a need for a solution like yours, have justified that need within their organization, and have a budget allocated for it. In many cases, the use of a competing product makes them a good fit for your solution as well.
Business process and workflow attributes. Going back to your list of top customers, think about whether they have any business attributes that influence the value that they get from what you offer. Do they follow agile project management methodologies? Do they have ISO or other quality certifications? Or maybe their employees use Macs instead of PCs? If any of these attributes increase the likelihood that a company will find success with your product, they may be worth adding to your ICP.
Startup stage & funding information. Many B2B companies see tremendous value in working with startup businesses. Why? Because they are often easier to reach, their decision making process is quicker, and they are typically looking for technologies that help them scale efficiently. Depending on your solution, understanding where a startup is in their business maturity may help you hone in on the best fit for your business.
IT spend and adoption. Once you’ve determined the primary business attributes and technology use of your ideal customer, it’s time to dive in deeper. Are they likely to adopt a SaaS-based solution? Do they have the budget to invest in a solution like yours? Gathering insights on these elements often require hours of research, combined with multiple conversations with decision-makers to determine whether they meet these criteria.
How can you include attributes like IT footprint, adoption of SaaS or Cloud technologies, and overall IT spend before engaging with prospects? B2B data providers, like Enlyft, are using machine learning and AI to determine these attributes for you, enabling you to leverage these as you refine your ICP—ultimately resulting in a more relevant list of prospective customers.
BONUS: Looking for a way to further identify your ideal customers? Leverage machine learning and AI. Many leading companies are now using these advanced technologies to create a smarter ICP—one based more on data than on instinct. Using the win/loss history from your CRM, these tools identify which companies have a higher likelihood to purchase.
Whether or not you have an ideal customer profile mapped out, revisiting it on a regular basis is a good practice for any business. As your solution evolves, you may find that you are able to add new attributes to your ICP that can further refine your audience, or potentially help you expand your reach across new business types.
Have any questions about defining your ideal customer profile, or how Enlyft can help? Contact us anytime.
Enlyft helps B2B companies identify and engage the accounts most likely to their solutions. Built with AI at its core, the Enlyft platform provides access to real-time company insights—including firmographic information, technology usage, purchase intent, and more. The result? Insights that enable sales and marketing teams to more effectively identify, prioritize and engage prospective accounts.