We usually know who our customers are, and quite some detail about them, but many companies struggle to reach potential new customers with the right message at the right time. Why is that? This article explores what an ICP (ideal customer profile/persona) is, how to create one, how to validate them and why they will make all the difference to your marketing efforts. Read on.
Creating a customer profile helps capture some specific details about your prospective customers based on what you already know about your existing customers. An ICP is much more than just a stereotypical list of assumptions. An ICP should cover a lot more about the problems, pains and aspirations of your prospects. Yes, your profile will include some assumptions. Still, you should validate these assumptions. In doing so, you will have a more robust understanding of your customers and use this research to fine-tune your marketing strategy, communication and customer journey.
Here is a list of what you should include in your ideal customer profile:
We have found the best way to validate customer profiles is to interview existing customers. Match your profiles to one or more existing customers and ask questions to validate your assumptions. Most profiles have many beliefs, and the aim of validating these is to increase the accuracy of the profile and fine-tune the content. If you’re not confident enough to do this yourself, you can engage a market research company to call a handful of customers per profile to validate your customer profiles.
If you think you need to make 100s of calls to validate your profiles, you’d be mistaken. Our experience is that the first 1-3 calls will let you tune your profile, and another 1-2 calls will only validate what you learnt in the first few calls. If your profile were specific enough, it wouldn’t take long to confirm your customer profiles. If you want a little more reading on market research, check out the Sprint book by Jake Knapp. Jake worked in Google Ventures and if their market research to invest millions of dollars annually works for them, it’s fine for you too. Don’t let market researchers tell you otherwise.
Validating your customer profiles means you’ll have fewer assumptions about your customers and allow you to learn more about your customers, and tailor your marketing content to better address questions and objections faced by your salespeople. You may also find that a couple of your profiles are identical to each other, which allows you to spend less time creating marketing content.
Now when you’re talking with prospects, you will match these to your ideal customer profiles. You’ll be able to adjust your language and message to better match their needs. Using your customer profiles can help you say “no” to the wrong kinds of customers as well - something that can be hard to do but allows you to better serve the customer you have and want.
Your ICP can be used when creating marketing materials, and you can match your customer profile with the gaps in your marketing collateral. Working out which channels make sense to communicate with your potential customers means you can tailor your marketing to reach the right people at the right time.
You can create a customer journey map that includes all the questions and concerns raised and match your marketing content along each step of the way. Doing this will help you attract more customers and support your sales efforts.
If you need help creating customer profiles, conducting market research or reaching your ideal customers, our team can help. We’ve worked with companies to break through their glass ceilings of sales to reach new customers and sell deeper into their existing accounts. Book a coffee meeting with us to see how we can help you grow your business.