Business owners are always looking for ways to save their company time and money. One way to accomplish that is by searching for areas where they can better utilize their services. In sales, it’s all about the prep work. If you can put in the time right off the bat, then it’ll be easier to close deals down the road.
As a company, one of the most important concepts to develop is an ideal customer profile (ICP). This piece of information will define what the optimal customer for your business looks like. This fictitious company will show the characteristics that make them the best fit for your product or service.
By using your ICP at the beginning of the sales process, reps can prioritize accounts that fit within the parameters of your company’s qualifications. This is the exact reason your sales team shouldn’t reach out to every lead they come across. Some leads won’t fit your ICP and that’s okay. Instead of wasting time on a failed deal that they could have identified didn't fit the parameters right out of the gate, the sales reps could be focusing their time on selling to people who truly care and fit the ideal customer.
Your ICP will quickly show you what’s a good fit and what’s not. Here are some points to consider to narrow down your ideal customer.
-Budget/Company Size: What’s the lowest price you’d consider working with a customer for? Is there a
particular asset or revenue size they must fit within?
-Industry: Are there certain verticals your company works within? Are there any that you don’t work with?
-Geography: Are there only certain areas you sell to?
-Legality: Are there any legal reasons that would prevent you from working with a potential customer?
Possibly age, location, or government restrictions.
Every company will have different requirements, but these are the ideas you should focus on when trying to pinpoint what your ideal customer looks like. The goal is to discover the qualities a prospect must have in order to buy from you. Then, you’ll quickly be able to narrow down your list to companies who meet the predefined characteristics and those who aren’t a good fit. For instance, if a company has a budget that is much lower than your starting cost or lives outside your selling parameters, then you can disqualify them and move on.
Your ICP will help you weed through your prospects quickly to decipher which leads are the most qualified. Again, it’s not worth your sales reps time to chase down leads that won’t close based on predetermined factors such as size or revenue. The next step would then be to use your buyer personas, which are different than your ICP, to plan out the best way to sell to that particular prospect. Think about the challenges they may be facing or their preferred method of obtaining content. Defining your ideal customer will show you who to target, while the buyer personas will demonstrate the best way to communicate with that individual.
Narrowing down who you should talk to is only the first hurdle in working to close a deal. Finding your ICP is the logistical side of the equation, while your buyer persona will bring in a human element to the sales pitch. By researching the ins and outs of different personas, you’ll know the proper way to speak to your prospects, which will determine the fate of your marketing and sales efforts. If you don’t know how to properly tailor your message or hit their hot buttons, then you are going to lose out on sales- even if you are talking to the right person. While ICPs and buyer personas are different, they are definitely linked. Your marketing team should create content for a few different personas for a specific ICP, then the sales department can develop scripts based on that information. As an example we can use Rocket Leads, a B2B company that provides outbound lead generation and appointment setting. Below, you can see our ICP and the buyer personas that we have defined.
Once you dial in on your ideal customer, you’ll be able to properly evaluate your database. You can look through your list to see if you have this newly developed information and if you don’t, then you’ll need to source it. If there are people who don’t fit the ICP you created, take them off your list. Streamlining your data to accurately align with your company's needs will ultimately guide your sales and marketing teams to build lasting relationships with your prospects.