How to Use the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) ToolRead Time: 6 minutes

“We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.”

~Amazon

As revenue leaders, we all know who our ideal customers are.  We build lead lists with the correct titles in the correct verticals.  However, many companies fail to push beyond this first layer of customer acquisition.  What great companies like Amazon do is obsess about the daily life of their end users.  They use this insight to inform not only their marketing campaigns but also their delivery of products and services.  

What we want to give you is a tool for you to build your own company’s Ideal Customer Profile (“ICP”) and turn that ICP into an Avatar with a name.  The importance of naming your avatar is that every time you meet as revenue, account management, or product teams you can have more meaningful conversations taking into account the point of view of your avatar.

Creating your ideal customer profile (ICP)

How to Use Sure Oak’s ICP Tool

Creating your ideal customer profile (ICP) doesn’t have to be complicated. Our free ICP tool will help you create your ICP in just minutes.  There are 3 Steps:

  1. Getting the Goods
  2. Building the Avatar
  3. Creating the Happy Path

STEP 1 – Getting the Goods

Before you get started with the tool, you’ll need to set up a 30-minute to 60-minute interview with a few of your best customers. You’ll want to ask them several questions to get a better understanding of things like their demographics, business information, business goals, major blocks, and more. Once this data has been gathered, you can analyze it to find the similarities between your customers to help build your avatar. 

Some questions you’ll want to ask during your interview are:

  1. How did you get your job?
  2. What are your key metrics for success?
  3. What is the one problem you just wish would go away?
  4. What issue were you trying to solve before we became partners?
  5. What alternatives did you try or consider for fixing the problem before choosing our service?
  6. How did you hear about us?
  7. Why did you take our meeting?
  8. Did you look at other competitors?
  9. What sealed the deal?
  10. Who else was involved in the decision?
  11. How was budget a factor in the decision-making process?
  12. Did we immediately fix the issue?
  13. Were there any downstream benefits?  Operationally, Financially, Emotionally?
  14. What are we doing right or wrong in our ongoing communication?
  15. What could we be doing better?
  16. Would you recommend us?

Pay close attention to your client’s key drivers to their business and how your solution makes their lives easier. 

 Building the Avatar

Step 2 – Building the Avatar

After you’ve completed your interviews and gathered your data, you’re now ready to start building your avatar. This avatar will be an aggregate representation of your ideal customer. Give your avatar a name, and then you can start building out the descriptions of your avatar based on the following criteria.

Demographics

Demographics refer to a person’s age, job title, education, income, location, and other characteristics related to a population. This information is crucial for determining your ideal customer profile because not all demographics will be a fit for your business and vice versa. Your ICP should fit within the demographics of which your business provides products or services. 

Firmographics

Another important criterion to consider will be the firmographics for your ICP. Firmographics include characteristics such as a business’s industry, company size, geographical location, number of employees, etc. Your ICP will be a good fit for the industries, locations, and company sizes your business serves.

Psychographics

Psychographics refers to a customer’s personality type and communication preferences. Your ICP should match the types of customers that you want to provide services, and they should use the same communication channels that your business uses.

Strategy

Your ICP will have a business strategy that aligns with the problems your business solves. Write down all of your ideal customer’s key performance indicators (KPIs), business goals, and major issues that are preventing them from reaching those goals. 

Building the Happy Path or Customer Journey

Step 3 – Building the Happy Path or Customer Journey

In this section, you will consider every interaction you will have with your potential avatar from the very first meeting to the customer’s happiness at the end of your interactions. The full customer’s journey includes:

  1. Awareness: Potential clients become aware of your brand, products, or services through targeted outreach, networking, industry events, or referrals. 
  2. Consideration – Businesses conduct thorough research and evaluation to assess the suitability of your offering for their specific needs, including comparing features, capabilities, and alignment with strategic objectives.
  3. Evaluation – Businesses conduct formal evaluations, compare vendors, and involve multiple stakeholders in the decision-making process, which may include requesting proposals, interviews, and negotiating contract terms.
  4. Negotiation – Once a preferred vendor is chosen, businesses negotiate contract terms, pricing, and service level agreements (SLAs) before finalizing the contract.
  5. Implementation – Once a preferred vendor is chosen, businesses negotiate contract terms, pricing, and service level agreements (SLAs) before finalizing the contract.
  6. Relationship Management – Post-purchase, providing ongoing support, proactive account management, and addressing any issues promptly are essential for nurturing long-term relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction.
  7. Expansion/Renewal – B2B companies aim to expand relationships with existing clients by offering additional products, services, or upgrades, and securing contract renewals by demonstrating ongoing value.
  8. Evangelism – Satisfied clients can become advocates for your brand, providing referrals, testimonials, and case studies that help attract new business. Building positive relationships and a strong reputation within the industry can lead to valuable word-of-mouth referrals.

Once you’ve filled in each of these areas, your ICP is ready! Now you can use this tool to make informed decisions about your business and put your marketing efforts into action. 

Need more help in determining your ICP or general advice on your marketing strategy? Schedule a free strategy session with the professionals at Sure Oak.

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