Account-based marketing is not a new concept, but it has recently seen a resurgence due to evolving technology and a changing technology and marketing landscape. The implementation of an ABM strategy can help boost marketing ROI, generate more qualified leads, improve conversions, and align sales with marketing. It is a focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into leads and then customers. In the age of the internet and abundance of information, marketers are always fighting for the attention of potential prospects. Needless to say, companies that want to generate ROI and drive revenue need to place their attention on high-value accounts, and contacts that mean most to them.

Account-based marketing programs are wildly successful because they focus on generating revenue from a carefully selected list of target accounts — in other words, exclusively from companies and contacts that are best fit for your product or solution. Instead of waiting for the right opportunity, your sales and marketing teams can collaborate to create the right personas, ideal customer profiles (ICPs), and turn your prospects into customers and advocates for your brand. The task at hand is not as daunting as you might think. In fact, it can be done in 6 simple steps.

  • Define your ABM goals and strategy
  • Identify and prioritize your target accounts and prospects
  • Create your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
  • Select your channels and craft personalized content and messaging
  • Execute account-based marketing campaigns and begin sales outreach
  • Evaluate and optimize campaigns
6 Steps to Account-Based Marketing

What is an Ideal Customer Profile?

An ideal customer profile is an elaborate and hypothetical description of a customer who would immensely benefit from your offering and provide you with a significant value in exchange.

An ideal customer can provide value to your company in multiple ways, the most obvious being that they pay you in exchange for your offering. But there is much more that goes into play, like happy customers who provide referrals to new clients, give testimonials, provide constructive feedback, and advocates for your brand.

Difference Between Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Buyer Persona

Are they the same? Not Really. Both terms describe your prospective buyers, but the very essence of a Buyer Persona (BP) and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is different. You need ICP at the very beginning of your sales funnel and it acts as a filter for your lead generation activities. A Buyer Persona, on the other hand, helps you understand your customer, and create marketing content and messaging for that customer. A Buyer Persona is used at all stages of your sales and marketing funnel.

Key Elements of Ideal Customer Profile

  • Company size
  • Revenue
  • Number of Employees
  • Industry
  • Geography

Key Elements of a Buyer Persona

  • ICP
  • Title
  • KPI
  • Challenges
  • Goals
  • Professional Background
  • Buying Behavior

Why do You Need an Ideal Customer Profile?

The more detailed and accurate your customer profile is, the more accurately you can narrow down the companies that are most in need of your product or service and most likely to give you business. There are 4 straightforward benefits to creating an ICP.

1. It’ll improve your targeting

You can now focus on high-quality leads who are looking for vendors like you. The more specific your customer profile is, the better your outreach strategy will be.

2. It’ll make you more money

A detailed ICP also helps you better understand how to reach out and sell to your customers, which means more closed-won deals, and more predictable sales.

3. It’ll help you understand your customer

Creating an ICP helps B2B sales teams reduce customer churn by catering to your products and offerings to meet customer needs.

4. It’ll get you more referrals

Ideal Customer Profile is your ideal customer who is willing and able to purchase your product. The customers who fulfill your ICP criteria are the ones who can provide you with referrals and become advocates for your brand.

How to Create Ideal Customer Profile?

Step 1 – Make a List of Your “Best” Customers

Create a list of 20 of your most valuable customers. These are the customers who need your product or offering and are willing to pay you the most for your services.

Step 2 – Find Common Attributes

This is where you really need to dig deep and brainstorm. To make your research easier, you can ask the following questions about these “Ideal Customers”.

  • What’s the size of the organization?
  • What’s the revenue of the company?
  • How many customers do they have?
  • How many employees do they have?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What’s their awareness stage? Do they know that they have a problem? Are they aware of that problem?
  • Do certain job titles exist in the organization?
  • Which industry or personas are they serving?
  • What other companies have current employees previously worked at?
  • What’s the number one reason that would prevent them from buying your product or offering?
  • What’s the best reason that would make them decide to buy your solution? What makes your offer appealing to them?
  • What goal are they looking to achieve with your product?
  • What are their main pain points with their product or solution they are currently using?
  • What are the three most important features of the product according to them?
  • What is their buying cycle like?
  • Who makes their purchasing decisions?
  • What kind of tools, technologies, or services are they using?
  • Where are they located?
  • Any recent personnel changes? Are they restructuring? Any other recent events in the company?
  • What kind of usage patterns do they show?
  • What’s their culture like, what values do they practice?
  • How do they position themselves in the market?
  • Are they more driven by a desire to be innovative or to reduce risk?
  • Which trade shows or industry events do they attend?
  • How technically sophisticated are they?
  • What distribution channels do they use?

Having an ideal customer profile in place will benefit multiple departments (Product, Marketing, Sales) within your company, helping them to help your customers.

The Product team will be able to accommodate the features and functionality of their products that best suits your Ideal Customer Profile.

The Marketing team will have a better idea of what kinds of ads to produce, what content and messaging to use, and what language can evoke emotions that would cater to these profiles. They’ll also be able to use ICPs to target ads even better.

Ideal Customer Profile can help your Sales team qualify leads more effectively with a more detailed description of what they’re looking for, and how to prioritize them.

SMARTe Discover helps you target and sell to prospects who fit your Ideal Customer Profile using lookalike modeling. It uses technographics backed intelligence to create new opportunities for you to cross-sell, up-sell, and convert new customers for your products. It provides actionable data on direct or indirect competitors, technology landscape of named accounts, and more. It also provides useful insights on users of a specific technology or product, CRM users, ERP users, and more.

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