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What is an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?

Ideal Customer Profile Definition, and Why It’s So Important

A well-defined Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is one of the most powerful tools an organization can utilize to align their Go-to-Market team, boost win rates, and capture more revenue.

In this article, we define the ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), describe why it’s so important, and detail how to create an ICP for your company today.

What is an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?

An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is the set of firmographic characteristics that define the accounts which represent the most potential value to your company. 

In other words, ICPs are profiles that help define which accounts your company should be targeting in its go-to-market efforts.

It should be noted that most selling organizations will have more than one ICP, as they might have particular niches inside several different industries, regions, or types of customers.

Firmographic details that might be covered in an ICP include but are not limited to the following categories:

  • Company Size
  • Geographic Location
  • Industry
  • Revenue Size
  • Type of Business (B2B, B2G, B2C, etc.)
  • Type of Ownership Structure
  • Common Pain Points
  • Product Type

How are Ideal Customer Profiles different than Buyer Personas?

This is a common question with a simple distinction.

Ideal Customer Profiles define ideal characteristics at the account level.

Buyer Personas define ideal characteristics at the contact level.

So companies use ICPs to decide on their targeted accounts. Then, once they are engaged with the account, they use buyer personas to determine what marketing and sales playbooks they should use to best move the sale forward.

Why is an ICP So Important?

From helping marketing hone messaging and target their spends to helping sales qualify deals, shorten sales cycles, and avoid poison pills, to helping product build for the right customers, understanding your ICP and being able to communicate it to the entire team is truly invaluable.

Below, we list some of the major benefits of having a keen understanding of your organization’s ICPs:

1. Nail Your Marketing Spending by Knowing Who to Target

With a clear understanding of which customers and roles you should be targeting, marketing spend decisions and market strategy become much more clear and effective.

2. Hone Your Messaging by Shaping it for Your ICPs

To lay the groundwork for effective messaging, companies need to know the characteristics of the accounts they’ll be targeting, which roles they should target, and which personas within those roles they’d most like to connect with.

3. Focus Your Prospecting Efforts on Deals Likely to Represent Value

By understanding who to target and what messaging to use, pre-sales efforts can be focused on only the best prospects, magnifying their effort. 

4. Don’t Overload Sales with Poor-Fit Opportunities

Understanding ICP Fit is essential to qualifying leads so you don’t overload your sales team with poor-fit opportunities that drain resources and distract salespeople from doing what they do best.

5. Qualify Quickly, Efficiently, and with Data

A quantified ICP Fit Score can quickly give sales the information they need to know whether an opportunity is worth pursuing or whether it should be qualified-out.

6. Avoid Deals that are Unlikely to be Successful to Implement

Understanding ICP Fit helps sales organizations avoid unsuccessful implementations by quickly and accurately determining whether deals are likely to be serviceable, profitable, and renewable.

7. Optimize the Product Roadmap by Knowing Who Your Customers Are

Having a clear map of the organization’s ICP(s) is essential to understanding for whom your organization is building. And as a result, product teams are better able to plan their roadmaps to build product or services for the right customers.

8. Achieve Alignment Across the Organization by Having a Clear and Communicable ICP

With the ability to apply machine-learning powered ICP Fit scores across opportunities in the pipeline, everyone, in every department, can get on the same page. And as a result, the whole company will operate more efficiently, optimizing marketing and sales investments and boosting sales efficiency. 

So, How Should You Create Your ICPs?

The Traditional Method of Creating ICPs

Traditionally, ICPs have been generated by a combination of quantitative analysis of existing customer firmographic data, surveys of key stakeholders and existing customers, and the gut instincts of those involved with putting together the ICP.

A traditional process might look something like this:

  1. Gather all CRM data of existing customers
  2. Gather all customer satisfaction data (if it exists)
  3. Send a survey to key stakeholders asking about what they perceive to be the key characteristics of potential customers
  4. Conduct interviews with largest and most successful accounts to learn more about their companies
  5. Analyze CRM data and customer satisfaction to find commonalities between customers
  6. Draft ICPs in PowerPoint and share with key stakeholders
  7. Incorporate feedback into a final draft and recirculate to key stakeholders
  8. Hold training sessions to train the company on ICP identification
  9. Revisit in six to twelve months and repeat the process

As you might be able to tell, the traditional method of crafting ICPs was time-intensive, based on a mix of qualitative and quantitative data, and ultimately subject to human biases and errors. Nonetheless, with ICPs serving as a north star for so many aspects of a company’s operation, even this time-intensive process was incredibly important and beneficial.

The Modern, Machine-Learning Powered Method of ICP Generation

Traditionally, a small group of people, generally in marketing, would create the ICP. They typically would take a few weeks every year or so to look through company data and create an ICP profile that lived in a PowerPoint somewhere on the cloud or buried deep in emails. This approach was typically time-intensive, inflexible, difficult to operationalize, and prone to human biases and errors.

But the ICP landscape is changing. Patri’s two newest products, Patri RevFit AI and the Patri ICP Engine API, are revolutionizing how ICPs are generated, quantified, communicated to the team, and operationalized. 

Patri RevFit AI is a revenue intelligence platform that makes pipeline management intuitive, powerful, and proactive. Powered by machine learning, Patri RevFit AI automatically analyzes your opportunities and assesses their propensity to win, their relative fit for your company’s selling profile, their likely close date, and provides AI-generated insights about each opportunity. 

Patri RevFit AI displays a user's ideal customer profile (ICP) data.

The Patri ICP Engine API is dynamic AI-powered software that finds, refines, and monitors your ICP and enriches your CRM, BI, RevIntel, Sales and Marketing Automation, CS Technology, customer data, and more to enhance metrics and reports at the top level with one of the most business-critical data sets you can discover: the ICP. With Patri ICP Engine API, quickly discover your ICP(s) and the quantified ICP fit of every opportunity in your pipeline.

Patri RevFit AI and Patri ICP Engine API are here to help companies boost their sales efficiency by accurately understanding, quantifying, and communicating their ICP across their teams. 

Discover Your True ICPs Today, Free

Patri RevFit AI analyzes all of your opportunities with a connection to your CRM and outputs AI-generated ICPs and the ICP Fit of every opportunity in your pipeline. Best of all, its core features are available for free. 

With the click of a button, you can discover your true ICP today.

Don’t wait any longer. Discover your true ICP below.

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