What is an ICP you ask? ICP stands for Ideal Customer Profile. Without a clearly defined ICP, you’re likely facing an abundance of data that you’re not entirely sure how to leverage. You may not fully understand the fields or data values that exist in your system today. Or you may lack visibility into data field population or usage. Finally, there may be any number of barriers that inhibit data alignment between teams. This ultimately prevents needed data from impacting your desired use cases. These kinds of issues result in a lack of coordinated, strategic focus. They force sales and marketing users to rely on instinct or routine, instead of enabling a truly data-aligned result. An Ideal Customer Profile is a critical foundation to produce better leads, make sense of the leads you have, and strategically personalize engagement with customers.
Ideal Customer Profile vs. Persona
Is an ICP really just a persona? No, but personas are a good starting point. Most marketing teams create personas from a narrative concept, so they may not be truly data-based. While a Persona can be helpful in identifying your who, they are primarily intended to inform the how of your marketing messaging. In contrast, an Ideal Customer Profile is meant to detail why they are the right target and how you will identify them in terms of concrete data. It can also help identify important data that might not currently be part of your data assets.
Put Data At the Heart of Your ICP
Your Ideal Customer Profile is a strategic tool. You can use it to better align your sales and marketing teams around a common definition, or golden record. And your ICP will not just be supported by the data, contacts in your database will become uniquely identifiable because of your data. An ICP should clearly identify your customer and the data needed to better support cross-functional collaboration, and in this way, an ICP can guide attention and resources toward strategic targets.
First steps may require identifying the available data sources and documenting your master data model before you can build out your finalized Ideal Customer Profile.
Narrowing down key fields across multiple platforms and data sources will help identify a leaner and more focused profile of who you’re looking for. For B2C, the who is typically fairly obvious, but may include some additional data elements for refinement. B2B typically requires additional steps to identify key roles within the organizations you’re targeting. However, in either scenario, the most important aspect of determining your Ideal Customer Profile is keeping close to the data and understanding the data intimately.
With the right data in hand, a clearly defined ICP can be an important reference document. Your ICP can help both marketing and sales teams better target their efforts toward “ideal fit” contacts. By putting your new ICP to work, your marketing dollars will generate better targeted outreach and personalization.
Contact us for additional information or for help building your own ICP.
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