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What is an ideal customer profile (ICP)?

An “ideal customer profile” (ICP) provides a model image of a company’s ideal customer, which can help sales and marketing teams approach their everyday work more effectively and strategically. 

Sales and marketing teams define an ICP to identify accounts that offer the highest value for a company. For example, an ICP could be defined as simply as a “mid-sized B2B technology company located in the United States.”

How can sales & marketing teams utilize an ideal customer profile (ICP)?

Sales and marketing teams can utilize an ICP in all strategic decision-making activities. An ICP helps sales and marketing teams understand and determine which prospects represent ideal or unideal customers. 

For example, an ICP helps sales and marketing teams prioritize their leads and understand which leads they should and shouldn’t put resources toward. 

Once marketing and sales teams create an ideal customer profile, they can compile a list of accounts to target as part of their ABM strategy. Sales development representatives (SDRs) can prioritize companies that are closer to their company’s ICP when qualifying inbound leads and outbound prospecting. ICPs also help analyze the quality of leads and the quality of the sales team’s current sales pipeline. 

ICPs provide a framework that helps marketing teams understand who they’re crafting messaging for, how to communicate value, and who to target with paid media. Marketing teams can also use an ICP to find a list of companies that fit a similar description, which can help with nurturing campaigns. 

Creating an ideal customer profile (ICP)

To get started, consider using standardized firmographic data (revenue, number of employees, industry, location, etc.) to choose firmographic attributes that make up an ideal customer. 

Next, sales and marketing teams can define the goals for their ideal customer as well as any challenges or pain points they might face. Current customers and past lead generation results can guide the creation of an ICP. 

Sales and marketing teams should make sure that they’re not letting past results or current clients negatively influence the definitions of their ICPs. For example, during the creation of an ICP, sales and marketing teams might find that their current clients and past lead generation results are not in line with their ideal customer profile. 

If this occurs, consider this discovery an acceptable outcome of the ICP creation process. At this point, there’s no need to change your new ICP if it doesn’t align with past results. 

Finally, sales and marketing teams can use ICPs to create buyer personas. Buyer personas can include the role and title of the prospect/buyer, where they consume information, and what their goals and aspirations are. 

To learn more, check out Hubspot’s blog post about creating an ICP.

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