4 min read

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas

It's a common misconception that the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Buyer Personas are interchangeable terms. They are not the same. Yes, they are interconnected, so it's important to understand the differences between the two and how they should be used.

As Full Cycle Sales gains momentum, understanding how to use an ICP and Buyer's persona will become even more important for successful sales teams.


What’s the difference between an ideal customer profile and a buyer's persona?


Before you can start reeling in potential buyers, it's crucial to figure out which ones you can help and which ones you can't. The ideal customer profile (ICP) acts as your compass, guiding you towards the companies that are the perfect fit for your offering and steering you away from the ones that just won't work.  

To uncover your ideal customer profile, start with these six key questions:

  1. What business problem are you solving for what company size?
  2. Do you define size as employees, revenue, customers, or another metric?
  3. Are there industries or verticals that are ideal/not ideal?
  4. Are there geographic locations that are ideal/not ideal?
  5. Are B2B or B2G customers better than B2C for your business?
  6. Are there other attributes that make the buyer ideal/not ideal?

These are important questions to consider when defining your ICP. By understanding these factors, you can focus your efforts on targeting the right companies and individuals that align with your offerings. Remember, it's all about finding the perfect fit!

For instance, your ideal customer profile (ICP) could be manufacturing companies with less than 2,000 employees. And within that ICP, you'll probably encounter multiple buyer personas. You might come across a tech-savvy leader in the IT department or a business-savvy head of operations. By understanding the unique goals and challenges of these different buyer personas, you can tailor your message to resonate with each of them.

Buyer personas define the different buying patterns and preferences of the individuals involved in the purchase decision within the companies falling in your ideal customer profile.


Do You Need Both an Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Personas? 


ICPs and buyer personas may have distinct characteristics, but they are closely intertwined. It is possible to have an ICP that encompasses multiple buyer personas, which can be used to create tailored content to successfully target prospects.

By defining both your ICP and buyer personas, you are amplifying your capacity to precisely target and personalise your outreach. Your ICP serves as a guiding force, advising your business on which accounts to target and the essential qualities needed for success.

On the other hand, your buyer personas empower your teams to create tailored content, prospect effectively, and anticipate the types of inquiries they may encounter. Together, these invaluable tools ensure that your outreach efforts are not only targeted but also resonate deeply with the individuals you aim to connect with.


ICP and Buyer Persona image


When to use your ICP

data reporting image Utilise your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) at the onset of your sales cycle to assist in lead qualification. It's clearly not productive for your sales representatives to invest time in leads that will not convert due to factors such as size, revenue, or other predetermined criteria. By employing your ICP at the forefront of this relationship, your sales team can prioritise accounts that align well with your offerings.

Subsequently, you can utilise your buyer personas to determine the most effective approach in selling to each individual. What obstacles are they encountering? How are they engaging with content?

ICPs establish the target audience, while buyer personas outline the optimal means of communication with each individual buyer

After you have established your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas, you are on the right track! However, it is important to acknowledge that these definitions are not set in stone and can evolve and adapt as you gain more insights about your buyers.

Make it a point to review and update these definitions (minimum annually) and communicate any changes to your teams. Keeping everyone informed and aligned is crucial. Although your ICP and buyer personas serve different purposes, they work together to ensure that your sales team focuses on quality leads, your marketing team creates targeted content, and your support team is prepared to address any inquiries that may arise.

Take the time to define your ICP and buyer personas, as the effort you invest upfront will pay off in the long run when you attract customers who are an excellent match for your offerings.


How to incorporate your ICP in Your Daily hustle

Once you have established who your ideal buyers are, it's important to know how to integrate this knowledge into your daily sales routine. To help you with that, here are four practical tips that you can implement right away to ensure that you are investing your time with the right buyers.

1. Ask yourself and your colleagues the six key questions mentioned earlier and write down the common answers. This will serve as a helpful guide when identifying potential prospects that are a good fit for your business.

2. buyer persona template imageCraft a detailed document outlining the profile of your perfect buyer. Print it out and keep it within arm's reach at your workspace for easy reference. This invaluable tool will keep you laser-focused and serve as a constant reminder of the specific qualities and attributes you seek in your ideal customers.

3. When utilising LinkedIn to find potential prospects, take advantage of the search filters available to refine your results and specifically target individuals who align with your ideal buyer profile. By doing so, you will not only save valuable time but also guarantee that you are reaching out to the right audience for your offering.

4. Give priority to active buyers who align with your ideal buyer profile. By concentrating on those who are actively seeking a solution, you enhance your prospects of sealing a deal and optimise your time and resources.

By implementing these strategies into your daily sales practice, you can guarantee that your time and energy are dedicated to engaging with the perfect prospects who are highly likely to become loyal customers.



Useful Links

what is a buyer persona?

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align your sales process to the buyer's journey



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