An ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) is the embodiment of your ‘perfect’ client. A person or business whose needs perfectly align with your offering. Once defined, it will guide all your outreach efforts to ensure every customer interaction is as purposeful and targeted as it can be.

You might have a great product. And you can keep making it leaner, faster, better. But without understanding who you’re doing all that for, these efforts can easily become misdirected.

In B2B sales, the consequences are even greater, with missed opportunities and wasted resources on the line. Building your “North Star” ICP is the first step to becoming truly customer-centric, so in this blog we talk about how to get started and share the warning signs that you may be going off-piste

Your ICP is a shared vision 

However you define your ICP, it’s a job for all. From marketing to sales, finance to people – you might be surprised by just how many members of your team regularly engage with your customer, both directly and indirectly.

That’s why, at the research stage, you need everyone on board with a clear vision.  The best place to begin building your ICP is right under the lid of business operations. Your webpage is a treasure trove of insight – highlighting consumer behaviours and shining a spotlight on any barriers to completing your desired call to action.

Additionally, those feedback surveys that are all too often set and forget? It’s time to dig them out too, along with any other collateral that can support the cause.

Every digital interaction with your customer will have a record, so start thinking about your processes and you’ll soon find your way to hidden pockets of data. Only then does your external research really come in. With the right metrics confirmed, you can begin comparing yourself against industry benchmarks and market trends.

We talk more about aligning your sales and marketing team in this blog >

Five things that happen when you don’t define or understand your ICP 

The most obvious sign that you’re no longer keeping your ICP front of mind is this: you stop being customer centric. But what does that really look like in practice, and what are some of the tell-tale signs? 

1. Selling becomes challenging 

Before your customers realise that you’re not a good fit, you’ll hear it from prospects first. So, if your sales team is telling you that selling is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole right now, readdressing your ICP should be the first port of call. 

2. Onboarding is much longer 

If your product or service is misaligned to the customer that you’re targeting, onboarding will show the cracks. Is onboarding become a drawn-out process, as customers need additional support? You guessed it, it’s time to check that all-important ICP. 

3. Revenue comes in peaks and troughs 

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and sometimes, you might be hitting your target audience spot on. But if that traction dips with your next campaign, something isn’t right. If inaccurate forecasting is up there with your business challenges, this might just be why. 

4. There’s a high customer churn 

Underachieving for your customers or clients is a common symptom of a mismatched ICP, which ultimately leads to a higher churn rate. Gain brand loyalty with customer-centricity and start meeting (or even better, exceeding) expectations. 

5. You miss opportunities for innovation 

Understanding your ideal customer’s pain points, preferences, and aspirations is crucial for innovation. Without this insight, you may miss opportunities to develop new products or services that truly address market needs and differentiate your business from competitors. By understanding your ICP, you have a much stronger foundation for meaningful innovation. 

Ready to develop an accurate ICP? 

Understanding your market and customers is just the beginning of your go to market (GTM) strategy, and there are several more considerations to think about. Make sure you don’t miss anything by reading our complete guide and get your launch right first time.  A deep understanding of your customer profile kick-starts your GTM strategy. Download our eBook for more information. 

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