Sales

Guide: How to Build an Ideal Client Profile (2021)

How to Build an Ideal Client Profile

To sell effectively, you need a clear vision and clear data on what the best ideal client profile (ICP) looks like.

Starting with one ICP is the smartest thing you can do to increase sales, increase referrals, decrease churn rate, and build a sustainable, expandable business.

What is an Ideal Client Profile?

In simple terms, an Ideal Client Profile, or ICP is an in-depth assessment of the perfect client for your products and services.

Guide: How to Build an Ideal Client Profile (2021)

It’s more than simply what job title they hold within a company or what industry they’re in, because a well defined ICP clearly defines many different attributes about your perfect client.

Here are some things you should be clear on when you define your ICP:

  • Industry
  • Revenue 
  • Employee count
  • Technologies they use in their business
  • Roles they’re hiring for at their company
  • What they’re outsourcing
  • Location
  • Recent funding they’ve had
  • Paid ads or not
  • Social media activity
  • Challenges and pain points
  • Value proposition hypothesis
  • Strategic goals

The more granular you can get on each one of these categories, the better off you’ll be when you run cold outreach to a list of potential ideal clients, write educational content, or run paid ads on any platform.

Knowing your ICP is the single most important part of building your business. Skip this at your own risk!

Is Having an Ideal Client Profile Limiting?

Some will argue that developing a specific ICP will box you in and limit opportunities.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reality is that having an ICP actually allows your marketing and sales channels to perform more efficiently and drive better results at scale.

By focusing in on one ICP, you specialize, corner the market, and create price elasticity, meaning you can charge whatever price you want for your products or services, without fear of becoming a commodity in the marketplace.

Also, though it sounds counterintuitive, you will end up attracting new ICP’s by being so focused.

Other industries and niches will see the results you’re getting for your ICP and will inquire whether you can help them in a different niche also. This sets a flywheel in motion where you can consider, test, experiment and eventually add new ICPs to your targeting.

How to Build Your ICP

So how do you start building your ICP?

There’s no fancy, hands-off method here… It really comes down to relationship building, talking to people, and understanding the market from the eyes of your prospects.

Without this kind of data, you’re just guessing.

Now, of course there’s situations where you need to start with a guess – so start by building your hypothesis. Then, go out and validate your educated guesses.

You want to start by doing your initial research:

  • “What industry are my ideal clients in?”
  • “How much revenue are they doing annually?”
  • “Do they use any technologies in their business that I can offer an alternative to?”
  • “Are they hiring for any positions that would reveal interest in my offer?
  • “What are their struggles in this sector, what keeps them from reaching their goals?”
  • “What are their organizational goals?”

Once you answer these questions and are clear on all of the qualifications listed above, your ICP is almost ready to roll.

The most important aspect of building your ICP is actually talking with your prospects. To do this, you can:

  • Run a paid ads campaign to a quick survey call booking or form
  • Use social media to get references to people in the industry
  • Run a cold outreach campaign asking experts’ opinions on the industry
  • Research on Reddit and other communities
  • Find niche forums to investigate and ask questions to
  • Create a podcast to invite and interview target clients to learn more about them

There are unlimited ways to get in touch with your hypothesis ICP, you just need to get creative and add value in some way.

Build a Lead List of Ideal Clients

Once you have your ICP ready, it’s time to go build a list of leads that fit the parameters you just outlined.

There are softwares and databases available that will help you build a list of your perfect leads, such as:

Or, you can shortcut the process and have ListKit do the work for you.

Conclusion

Having a well defined, unique ICP will help you execute marketing and sales more efficiently at every level. You’ll see better return on investment vs going broad and general.

Of course, this ICP doesn’t have to be set in stone forever and it should be constantly added to and updated with the latest information, but being crystal clear on who your products and services are targeted to is extremely important.

Without a clear ICP, you’ll be taking blind shots in the dark and you won’t have as good of a chance of getting in touch and converting prospects to customers. Your campaigns become more general and don’t make the same impact.

With a clear ICP, you’re giving yourself a much higher chance at closing more deals, providing more value, and steering your products or services in a direction that actually establishes yourself as a leader and authority in your market.

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