Account-based marketing is a strategy which focuses on creating personalized experience for a few target accounts. Unlike other traditional forms of marketing which cast a wide net, ABM only targets a few accounts which are high value. Understanding the target audience is the foundation of any ABM strategy. Without these insights marketers could end up spending their time and resources on the wrong accounts which do not bring profitable results.
Picking the right target account can be a challenge for many marketers. An ideal customer profile or ICP is a tool you can use to better understand your target buyers. You can build your customer profile and effectively track the right customers and build a long-term relationship with them. In this article, we will discuss how to create an ideal customer profile to help you target your potential customers.
What is an ideal customer profile?
An ICP or ideal customer profile gives a thorough description of your target account. It is a fictitious company that includes all the characteristics of your ideal buyer. Even though the company is fictitious, ICP is not fictional but based on facts and data. To build your ideal customer profile you will need to collect insights about your target market like firmographics, challenges, needs, buying behavior and more. ICP is different from a buyer persona. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your target customer. It is a persona that includes the characteristic of an individual, rather than a company in the case of an ICP.
If your business is implementing an ABM strategy, then you need to create an ideal customer profile. With an ICP your sales and marketing teams will be clearer about the type of companies they need to target. It helps you identify the challenges these accounts face and how you can resolve them. Moreover, you can identify the products or services you can offer that will prove beneficial for your target accounts. Based on your ICP, you can create content and messaging that resonates with your target buyers. This enables you to connect with them, while creating a consistent and personalized experience for them.
Building an accurate ICP can bring in more revenue by targeting the right accounts. It promotes the overall growth of your business and helps create long-term relationships with your ideal customer.
Let’s look at how you can create an ideal customer profile.
How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile?
The sales and marketing teams can have a pretty good idea about what your ideal customer profile looks like. However, it is not enough to rely on intuition. It is important to collect different types of data that can help you identify the characteristics of your perfect customer. The first step would be to collect this data on which your ICP will be based on.
When building your ICP you will need firmographic data to identify some key attributes about the type of organizations you want to target. This data categorizes organizations based on the following attributes:
- Company size
- Business structure
In the B2B scenario, firmographics is important as it enables you to identify the companies in your target industry, their location, size, products, or services and more. This is the type of data that helps you get started on building your ICP. It gives you the basic information about the company you are planning to target.
For any company in the technology industry, technographic data is important. Technographic data determines which technologies your target accounts utilize or are looking to invest in. It also identifies the problems or challenges they face currently with the technology they use and how your company can help them with it. For example, if you provide web development services then you should investigate what type of web builder or other tools your target account is using.
This type of data is important to include in your ICP as it helps you figure out the technological challenges your target customers face. Moreover, you also figure out the perfect solutions you have for these customers. It helps you narrow down your target account list as you understand better which company can benefit from your products or services.
Understanding the buying behavior of a customer is important. With intent data you can find out what the company is searching for online. Intent shows what type of content the company is interested in. It looks at what content the key decision makers of the company are consuming. When creating your ICP, this type of data is needed as it helps you understand the search intent of your target accounts. If your target customer is facing some challenges, they are likely to go online and look for solutions.
Leveraging intent data can help you in multiple ways. Marketing teams can create content based on these topics to attract these target accounts to your business. Sales reps can be better prepared with providing the right information to these target accounts during a sales pitch or whenever customers have any questions. Intent data can enable you to create personalized content and experience for your potential customers.
Leverage predictive analytics
Predictive analytics uses data, statistics, machine learning, etc. about the previous purchases to make future predictions. This helps you analyze the buying patterns of previous customers to make improvements to the present strategy. These insights can enable you to recognize the previous patterns in which customers made purchases. Leverage this data in your ICP as it can help you understand your target audience better.
When you analyze the buying behavior of previous or existing customers you can be clearer about what to include in your ICP. Don’t overlook looking at your own data as there may be many insights you can gain that you may have missed out on.
Determine solutions to customer challenges
When you gather data about your target accounts, you will see the type of problems they face. Find out which solutions would help a particular ICP. List out all the challenges and determine solutions that can make your customer’s life easier. Come up with ways how your products or services can help them increase their revenue, boost their productivity and growth. When you answer these questions, you can have clarity about the type of customers who need your help. This way you target the accounts who are more likely to convert as they see how you can be useful in solving their problems.
Make ICP accessible to all teams
Once you collect all the data, build your ICP. Creating profiles with visuals is a good way to highlight important attributes of your ideal customer. When you create these profiles, ensure that all the team members have access to it. Ideally, both sales and marketing teams should collaborate on building ICP. Both teams are an important part of the ABM strategy, hence they need to be involved in determining the ideal customer.
All team members need to have access to the ideal customer profile as it can help them understand who they are targeting. Moreover, there will be no misunderstandings about who the ideal customers are. With consistent information, both teams can focus on the right accounts without wasting time and resources on the wrong ones.
Create buyer personas
As discussed above ICP and buyer personas serve different purposes. Even though you are building ICP, you should not leave out buyer personas. Buyer personas are also important to pick your ideal customers. ICP determines the characteristics of an organization you want to target. Whereas buyer personas determine the characteristics of key stakeholders within that organization. This is an important part of targeting the right accounts. Any company you target is going to have people in it who are the key decision makers or stakeholders. The decision to invest in your company or not is made by these individuals. These stakeholders are also the people who will communicate with your sales team.
To influence these people, you need to know them. Just like you want to understand the company, you also need the people you will be communicating with. It will help you target the right people within an organization. Buyer personas can include the following attributes:
- Job title
- How you can help
Don’t avoid creating buyer personas along with your ICP, as this enables you to target the key stakeholders and create a valuable experience for them.
Not sure how to build buyer personas? Here is a guide that can help you.
Building an ideal customer profile is the fundamental step for your ABM strategy. If you avoid creating an ICP, you will end up targeting the accounts. Not having an ICP also leads to confusion among team members as they are not sure who to target. Moreover, ICP also helps you create a valuable and personalized experience for your target accounts. Before implementing your ABM strategy, gain enough insights about the accounts who fit your ideal customer profile. This is important for the overall success of your account based marketing strategy.
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