What is an Ideal Customer ProfileWhat is an Ideal Customer Profile
What is an Ideal Customer Profile

What is an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?

Who is your ideal customer? It is imperative to know from what customers you are getting the most value. Working with an ideal customer profile makes it more straightforward which customers suit you best and which customers are less suitable for your organization.
Who are your best customers?
It is often challenging to pick from the leads who are a good fit for your company because it isn’t always clear who the dream customers are. Time and resources are wasted on the wrong leads. Leads and prospects with a very low success rate continue to receive follow-ups from your sales team. Marketing results take a turn for the worse, and before you know it, your team loses motivation, and marketing leads aren’t given the attention and care they deserve. We all want to put our time & effort to good use.
The ideal customer profile helps turn your focus towards only the best leads for your company. Not all customers are equal in value. With limited marketing resources, you want to make sure every last bit goes to acquiring the most lucrative and ideal clients. A well-defined ideal customer profile can be the difference-maker between spray ‘n pray marketing and pinpointing your perfect customer with precision.
The ICP
An ideal customer profile (ICP), also known as an ideal buyer profile, defines a hypothetical ideal customer that would benefit from your solution and provide you with significant value in return. Your ICP can help you define the problems you solve, align your solution with customer needs, and know where to direct your marketing resources. Companies resembling your ICP typically have the highest retention rates, most lucrative sales cycle, and are your biggest supporters.
Ideal Customer Profile vs Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are a bit different from ideal customer profiles. ICPs mainly focus on the type of organization that’d be the ideal fit for your company. Buyer personas are used in a B2C and B2B context and focus on the individual. They provide a guideline for approaching people, with what content, and what tone of voice.
It is challenging to qualify leads for sales without the necessary data. Job functions, company size, turnover figures, engagement on your website, and the like enable you to find the client with the most mutual value present accurately. That is exactly what Ideal Customer Profiles are all about.
Ideal Customer Profile vs Target Audience
Isn't my ideal customer profile just my target group? Not quite.
Your target audience is the name for the general group of people or companies that you are trying to reach with your marketing activities. Your ICP is the hidden diamond in this larger audience you’re targeting to whom you would preferably like to sell.
If you don’t pick customers, customers won’t pick you
Make sure your ICP is sufficiently narrowed down. Within a too broad ICP, individual needs can differ significantly. When you don’t narrow it down far enough, you’ll get clients with different desires, needs, and problems. Even if you can help each individual with your offer, you will still have to communicate with these people in different ways. It is very likely that each of them only feels addressed by a (small) part of your communication. When you don’t target customers precisely enough, you make it harder for them to opt for your company.
Reducing your target group increases your odds
Now imagine a carefully assessed, narrowed down, precise ICP. Communicating with your prospects has suddenly become easier. Your blog topics are carefully tailored to your ideal prospects, your topics for social media posts spark their interest, and your newsletter contains all the info they were looking for. Targeting just your ideal prospects allows you to truly cater to their needs. Even to a degree proper segmenting can’t match. When you target people in segments, you are still spreading out your resources over numerous groups of prospects. When your focus is on the ICP, people in your ideal target audience will recognize themselves in your words and will find everything you share valuable. They will feel that you really understand them. As a result, they come to you much faster, and you end up with loyal customers.
It’s true that if you make your ideal customer more specific, the number of people who fall into that target group will decrease. But, because you can communicate with them in a far more targeted way, they always derive value from what you share. The people in this target group build a closer connection with you and trust you much faster. Those things are essential in obtaining and retaining valuable long-term accounts.
Does that mean I can’t help other types of clients anymore?
Let's clear up a big misunderstanding: if you are going to draw up a specific ideal customer profile, that does not mean that from now on you have to say no to every willing prospect with their wallet in their hands who happens to fall outside of it. Your ideal customer profile determines how you communicate outwardly: which blog articles you write, what you talk about on social media, in your newsletter, and so on. It may very well be people who fall slightly outside this profile still feel attracted to your message. Choosing an ideal customer does not mean that you can no longer help people who do not fit that profile. It also does not mean that people who just don't quite fit into that profile no longer want to become your customer. Above all, your ideal customer profile determines how you present yourself to the outside world. Your ICP is a tool to give you direction and clarity of purpose. It is not a restriction you must apply to yourself.
Targeting your ICP
What’s the easiest way to target my ICP? We believe combining LinkedIn’s large network and advanced filters with our easy-to-use scraper is a great way to talk to your ICP today. Use the specific demographics of your ICP to filter your LinkedIn results, then use our scraper to find their contact info and get to writing your convincing email copy.
Convinced about the importance of an ICP? Follow our step-by-step blog post to creating yours.