As a founder of a startup, you probably have aspirations of six-figure deals, rapid growth, and long term success. But before you can think about buying your first yacht you need to focus your attention on creating a robust sales strategy that will allow you to realize your goals.
To do this, you need to be sure that your sales strategies and marketing communications will resonate with your target audience and create qualified leads. A key way of doing this is to create buyer personas and an ideal customer profile.
What is an Ideal Customer Profile?
An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is an outline of a customer that would benefit from your product or service and who is, therefore, the type of customer that you’ll want to focus your attention on acquiring.
Once it’s been created, this profile is key to sales development and marketing efforts and will be used as a basis for prospecting and lead qualification.
How do ICPs help Sales Generate more Revenue?
ICPs will invigorate every part of your sales funnel by helping your sales team generate more revenue. They do this by allowing your team to focus their time and resources on the highest-quality leads. By improving accuracy in your outbound and inbound marketing, IPCs will pave the way for a more robust sales cycle, improved forecasting, and increased target-hitting.
In addition, since these customers will gain real value from your offering, you’re also likely to see an extended average customer lifetime and an increased customer lifetime value. You’ll potentially receive more referrals, too.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas are examples of real buyers that marketers can tailor their strategies to. These archetypes are an embodiment of who your individual buyers are, what they want to accomplish, what drives their behavior, and why they make buying decisions.
Buyer persona development will give you the framework to create a tailored marketing strategy for different stages of the buyer’s journey. An individual who’s just starting to look for information will have different needs to an individual who’s getting close to making a purchasing decision, for example.
The difference between an ICP and a buyer persona is that an ICP gives you a broader understanding of your target market and the businesses that your company should be aiming to attract. Buyer personas then drill down into the minds of the people who work for these companies so you can create effective messaging that speaks to them on a personal level.
Do I Need Buyer Personas?
Yes, buyer personas are integral to the success of any account-based marketing campaign. Buyers are 48% more likely to consider providers that personalize their communications to address their specific business needs, so this knowledge will really increase your selling power.
Buyer personas are also one of the best ways to redefine your strategies and to develop your products or services to be more desirable to the audience that you are targeting. And, they can empower your field marketers by providing them with a much clearer image of the people they plan on communicating with.
How to Create Your ICP and Buyer Personas?
Your internal sales and marketing teams would create these profiles, or if you work with a Sales Development Representative they can lead the process for you.
Defining Your ICP
If you already have one or two happy customers that are enjoying real value from your offering, you can begin by analyzing their characteristics.
First, make a list of each customer’s industry, location, company size, and budget. Then, it’s useful to arrange a call to discover how they make purchasing decisions and what pain points they suffer from by asking questions such as:
- Why did they choose your solution?
- Do they rely on referrals to find partners?
- Who makes the purchasing decisions?
- What do they love about your solution?
- What’s the primary problem they are trying to solve?
- How does your offering give them a solution to their problem?
Once this data is collected, look for patterns from which you can create your ICP framework using our free template or this one from Hubspot marketing.
If your company is just starting out and you don’t have any customers to analyze, consider hypotheticals such as:
- What would be your ICP’s immediate business goals?
- What obstacles might stand in their way?
- How could these obstacles stop them from achieving their goals?
- How can your unique selling proposition remove these obstacles?
Defining Your Buyer Personas
Creating your buyer personas will come after you’ve got your ICP identified. When creating personas, you should be aiming to create several ultra-specific ones. So, it can be helpful to give your profiles names that reference their key attributes (persona examples could be Startup Sally or Corporate Chris).
The first things to look at are the demographics of each persona, noting down information such as:
- Marital status
- Job title
Next, you’ll want to drill down into the persona’s day-to-day activities to get a better picture of their mindset. Do they have hobbies? What car are they driving and what shows do they love to watch? Determining these points is integral to effective social media communication, especially if you plan to use influencer marketing.
You’ll also want to understand their pain points. What challenges does your persona face when trying to achieve their goals? Challenges that pertain to your offering are obviously the focus here, but identifying any obstacles can be useful.
Once you’ve gathered all of the data points you need, you can create a detailed picture of who your buyers are and what they want. Click here for a free buyer persona template.
Failing to see the importance of ICP’s and buyer personas is a mistake that we see founders make time and time again. Although it might initially seem like a waste of time to complete this exercise, it’s actually a hugely valuable process that will strengthen your digital marketing efforts and, therefore, your success rate with prospects.
Want a sounding board for your ideal customer profiles? Chat with our team here for a complimentary strategy session.