July 19, 2018

GreenFig Education Series Sneak Peek Week 2: Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Jyothsna Durgados
Written by:

Jyothsna Durgados

Introduction to GreenFig Education Series

As part of GreenFig’s mission to enable lifelong learning and to accelerate skill development for high demand jobs with our microdegrees in applied business science, we are offering you a sneak peek into the GreenFig experience with our four week Education Series.

We provide highlights from the Digital Marketing Science classes taught by Tracy Eiler, CMO of InsideView. She is a marketing pioneer who is passionate about shaping the next generation of marketers. She was recently named a B2B Demand Marketing Game Changer and is ranked among the Top 30 Most Influential Women in B2B Marketing Technology.

Ms. Eiler moonlights as a GreenFig instructor, teaching the same cutting-edge topics she’s advancing at InsideView, including how to align sales and marketing, define the total addressable market and determine ideal customer profiles.

We are excited to offer our blog readers a taste of the job-ready skills our students are gaining this fall to prepare themselves for high-trajectory careers in the digital economy.

Focus on the Right Customers

This is the second in a four-part series explaining the concept of total addressable market and providing tips to help you begin identifying, gathering data on, and targeting your company’s total addressable market. Read the overview of total addressable market in Part One of our series here.

If you are marketing a product or service to everyone, you are wasting valuable time and marketing resources.

In this blog post on how to define your Ideal Customer Profile, you learn expert advice and step-by-step instructions on how to zero in on your ideal customer. The payoff is not necessarily more prospects, it is identifying the right prospects who are then more likely to become customers – a far better bang for your marketing buck.

Ideal Customer Profile Brings Total Addressable Market into Focus

Understanding your total addressable market ensures you are targeting every potential customer. But determining your total addressable market (TAM) is not as easy as saying “every company in the so-and-so industry”. First, you need to define your ideal customer profile or ICP.

Here’s an example, INITECH is selling human resources software to “every B2B company”. They have not defined their ICP because they think everyone wants their product. Well, a one-person consulting firm does not need HR software. Similarly, a multi-billion-dollar company who built their own solution in-house is not interested either, but maybe a fast-growing company with a new HR executive needs new software to help with recruiting and onboarding dozens of new hires every week.

For INITECH, they can begin to define their ICP as companies with HR executives who have been in the role less than one year and whose employee count is growing more than 10 percent per year.

ICP and TAM do not just help you find more customers, they help you focus on the right customers. Marketing to prospects that have no need for your offerings just wastes time and money. You are missing out on revenue if you are not targeting everyone who fits your ICP.

Define Your Ideal Customer Profile

At a minimum defining your ICP should include a geographic region, a target title or level, and an industry. It is better yet if you can drill down to additional firmographics, like company size. Other criteria might include quantifiable data like increasing revenues or recent M&A activity and qualitative data like whether the company is innovative or has a strategic business initiative related to your offering.

New, data-intelligent technologies are also popping up to help you quantify your ICP even more granularly. Back to our INITECH example, maybe their ideal customer needs new HR software because they just acquired another company. Scouring the web for that type of data is unrealistic and time-consuming. Using software to constantly scan tens of thousands of sources and alert you when a company closes an acquisition could be a great signal of a hot lead. (You can learn more about using market signals and intelligence to help define your ICP in a white paper from InsideView, “Measuring the Impact of Market Intelligence”.)

As a bonus, ICP also helps marketing and sales better qualify and route leads. According to sales and service performance company MHI Global, approximately 35 percent of sales opportunities are duds (Miller Heiman). If you could refocus only on those that fit your ICP your conversion rates (and rep productivity) would surely improve.

It is easy to disqualify a lead based on their location, but it becomes riskier as you add firmographics and buyer data because B2B data is quickly rendered inaccurate. Getting accurate and current data on accounts and contacts is becoming increasingly difficult. A prospect filling out your online form might not know their current revenue or the prospect who your marketing team scanned at an event a few months ago may no longer work for that company. That is where a data cleansing, enrichment, and/or validation service could be of use. These data services also help to identify existing targets whom actually fall outside of your ICP, but who you are targeting based on incorrect or outdated data in your database.

In the third installment, you will learn more about using your ideal customer profile to determine your true total addressable market and then how to turn that TAM into a targetable list for sales and marketing.

If you missed the previous installments in this series, you can find them here:

Part 1 Maximize Growth by Targeting Your Total Addressable Market

Blog written by Jyothsna Durgados


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Paula Sansburn, COO


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