What is ICP (Ideal customer profile)?
What is a Solid Marketing Strategy for a B2B Business?
Market Segmentation Will Get You Started
Marketing Segmentation and ROI
Marketing segmentation is a short-cut to increased ROIs, higher conversion rates and revenue generation. However, analyzing these segments is essential to accurately predict the ROIs you are likely to get from these segments. Such analyses are different for every individual B2B business. However, some common factors will get you started. Consider including market breadth, competition analyses, lifetime value, retention rates, solvency and the ease of getting past gatekeepers for each segment.
Once you have conducted such research about the various segments applicable to your B2B business, you’re going to realize two main things –
- Every market segment is different. There may be some segments that generate a high ROI but require more resources. On the contrary, some other segments may require less investment, but you can expect high revenue generation.
- All market segments are unique and have different needs. For this reason, you need a different approach and proposal for communicating with prospects from different market segments.
What are Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP) Exactly?
An ICP is not just a simple customer profile. In the case of customer profiling, the organization tries to essentially build a blueprint. Such a map of the average customer evaluates who is likely to avail the products and services the organization offers. However, many companies try to build a single average profile based on all the data they have.
What Can ICPs Offer You?
How to create the Ideal Customer Profile for Your B2B Business
An ideal ICP comes from a mix of a qualitative and quantitative analysis of your database. Here, you can be as general or specific as your B2B business needs. Understand that your ICP is going to be the guiding light of your lead generation endeavors. Accordingly, you need to make sure that the data you access and employ is relevant, up-to-date, complete and useful. To ensure that this is the case, we recommend manual data cleaning services every six months. This makes sure that you as a marketer have your finger on the pulse of the ever-changing market you do business in.
To create the ICP for your B2B business, consider the following steps –
Step 1 – Define Yourself
Unless you know exactly what you can offer your B2B customers, you won’t be in a position to define your ICP. To start with, analyze your organization’s strengths and weaknesses in a very honest and open manner. Review the systems and practices you employ in your day-to-day activities to understand and guide your overall sales and marketing operations. This analysis will also help you understand which unexplored markets might have potential buyers and what changes you can make to better align yourself with the market’s needs.
Step 2- Define the Buyers
Knowing your buyer is not only limited to the basics like industry, turnover and demand analysis. In this step, you must analyze how you as an organization align with your target buyers. By defining and documenting the criteria you use to judge your market, defining your ICP is easier. Understand what sizes of organizations are best suited to do business with. Perhaps you need to analyze which industry verticals you are most successful with. Look for cases where your buyers respond in the most desired manner. Depending on what perspective you choose for your B2B organization, define your buyers comprehensively to understand what you can offer them.
Step 3 – Identify The Best
The next step involves recognizing your ‘best’ customers. Since this is a fairly abstract term, feel free to go ahead with who your business considers the best customers. Obviously, the customers who offer you the most sales and revenue should be on the list. But don’t forget the ones who are the most pleasant to do business with and those who promote your business in their network the most.
Step 4 – Identify the Worst
In this step, you’re essentially reversing the previous step and looking out for the ‘worst’ customers. Again, don’t be limited to businesses that bring in the lowest sales and revenue. Also consider the customers who are likely to rate you negatively, are unpleasant and won’t promote your services.
Here are a few other criteria to keep in mind while segregating your ‘best’ and ‘worst’ customers:
Customer Lifetime Value
The CLV refers to the profits your company will earn from a customer, over the course of their relationship with your organization. This helps in determining how much to spend on customer acquisition.
Highly satisfied customers are known to promote your services within their own network. This helps you garner more business in the long run. Statistics show that up to 84% of B2B business transactions begin the purchase cycle through a referral. Ask any marketer and they’ll attest to the faster pace of closing sales that come via referrals.
Product Usage Frequency
The more frequently a product or service is used by a customer organization, the more likely you are to get reselling or maintenance opportunities. Identify how marketable a particular feature of your product or service is. Guage how frequently you can offer your assistance.
As mentioned before, you must learn who is rooting for you. Check which of your customer companies are most willing to publically endorse, advocate and refer your brand, product or service. This is an integral part of bringing in more leads. So, you can probably have specific marketing efforts geared toward gaining stronger customer advocacy. Think of who is most willing to share what you produce. Think of who shares statistics, participates in surveys, answers feedback, offers constructive criticism, and publishes online reviews. Give them as much importance as you would give people who brought in more leads via personal recommendations.
Being in business with a brand that is already established is the best. A well-known and influential company boosts your B2B organization’s brand value in the market.
Step 5 – Create Customer Profiles
After you’ve identified who your ‘best’ and ‘worst’ customers are, the next step is to create a profile for each of them with important information. Essentially, you’re trying to create a database of your clients so that it is easier to find patterns and trends. While making these customer profiles, here are key factors to include –
- Annual Company Revenue
- Number of Employees
- SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code
- NAICS (North American Industrial Classification) code
- Scope of organization on a local, regional, national and international level
- Type of organization – start-up, mid-size, large organization etc.
Step 6 – Understand How They Became Your Customer
It goes without saying that your prospects and leads come from a multitude of sources and marketing channels. However, understanding which channels bring in the best customers will help you concentrate your marketing efforts in the right place. By understanding your customers, you will know where to put your golden efforts.
The Benefits of ICP
In case of any B2B marketing strategy, the organization is looking for maximum ROIs. Here, the aim is to have efficient, relevant and personalized communication across channels. With ICP you get a step closer to crafting measurable strategies. However, there are a host of other benefits –
It has been observed that as smartphones become an integral part of the B2B sector, customers’ expectations from marketing communication have increased. The customer today demands an experience that is personalized. If your B2B marketing strategy does not account for this, you’re likely to lose the customer’s interest. By employing ICP into your B2B marketing strategy, you can seamlessly personalize marketing materials and communications including sales pages, landing pages, offers, proposals, email marketing campaigns and so on.
It goes without saying that the quality of your leads can make or break your business. With ICP, you’ll be better aware of what works for your B2B business. Instead of guessing what works or simply following what is preached as popular, you’ll be able to figure out which channels of lead generation work best. In the long run, your marketing efforts will see more positive outcomes.
With ICP, you can easily track trends within your customer group. When you know what your customer responds to best based on a particular segment, you’ll know which marketing strategies will work to target customers within a segment. Essentially, you can pick and choose the manner of communicating with each segment to select a marketing channel that appeals to a particular segment. This ensures that your objectives are met and your marketing strategy is effective.
Optimizing Inbound Leads
An ICP acts as your blueprint into the right customer’s mind. You’ll be able to qualify an inbound lead into a particular segment based on similar traits. This helps you deliver to them the products, services, experiences and other communication they would best respond to. You’re no longer going to have to fumble around in the dark. There is no need to rely on generic market trends to decide what to offer an inbound lead.
With a well-defined ICP at your disposal, all sales and marketing strategies can be streamlined to bring maximum output from each marketing channel. You can streamline communications in all areas. Areas including content creation, advertising, lead generation, and sales outreach efforts promise maximum returns with a reasonable amount of effort.
Conclusion – The Bottom Line
Your B2B business is going benefit tremendously from the generation of ICPs for your organization. However, it is necessary to supplement this with quality service. You must provide exceptional customer service and offer quality products and services. Work with upgraded marketing strategies, and have stellar lead generation tactics.
In order to make the most of your customer database for an accurate ICP generation, your database must be completely up-to-date, relevant and appended. Sadly, your marketing team can’t handle this task. It is not possible to saddle your sales and marketing team with the added responsibility of data upkeep. Doing this without seriously affecting their productivity is almost impossible. Additionally, they aren’t especially qualified to undertake this task.
In such a scenario, your best bet is opting for manual data cleaning services. You will benefit from an industry leader like BizProspex. With 6+ years of experience and a team of professional executives, we are the right data cleaning, appending and enrichment partner for your B2B business’s data needs.