If you carefully build and implement an ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer persona (BP) in the sales process, you can find more valid leads while doing the same amount of work and even less.
Yet, the number of marketing and sales specialists who use client avatars effectively is small.
Not all organizations actually take advantage of B2B ICP and buyer personas in their daily work. Their client avatars are just ironclad profiles that don’t give any insight into how to impress prospects.
In some organizations, the client avatars only hinder the prospecting process. For example, sales reps spend all their resources reaching the wrong people or at the wrong time. Or they have too many client avatars instead of prioritizing the most impactful one.
Finally, many businesses base the B2B customer profile on their opinion alone, not considering the actual data.
The accumulated practices will help you turn your ICP and BP into a truly valuable tool.
The material is made up of 3 parts:
Doubt whether you need to change your attitude to ICP and BP — continue to read this article.
Ready to build or update the ICP and buyer persona? Skip the part and move to the second part.
Ready to implement the profiles in the sales workflow? Jump to the third part.
State of Your ICP and Buyer Persona: Checklist
If you can put a positive tick in front of each point below, then you are on an upward trajectory in your ICP and BP. You can just look through the article’s parts for additional tips.
If you can’t put a tick in front of at least one of the points, you will find the material very helpful.
- Your client avatar (ICP+Buyer persona) is a one-page document with the data most related to the buying process
Your client avatar is a live document you regularly add insights to
You know who is NOT your client, and their qualification criteria
You updated your client avatar during the last six months
You or your sales representative consult the document when choosing places for outreach and when planning the message
First, let’s look at the reasons to put your energy into ICP and BP and the whole process of building and using them.
What Does «Ideal Client Avatar Creating» Mean
Ideal client avatar creating is when you figure out who is in real need of your solution and delivers the max value for your company. Typically any sales or marketing activity starts with the stage.
Characteristics of an ideal customer profile helps to find the right leads. A buyer persona is a considerable part of ICP, which goes deeper into customer engagement issues. Note that in other materials, titles may have different meanings.
Reading the blog post, you can also encounter other names of ICP: client avatar, audience persona, the best client/customer/prospect, ideal customer avatar, and ideal client profile.
What is ICP in business?
ICP is the first stage of the ideal client avatar creation. You employ an ideal customer profile for B2B when sifting out companies you will reach. Then you look for employees who influence decision-making. Here you will need a buyer persona — to bring the right prospects and contact them in the most powerful way.
To create an ideal customer profile, you typically need to analyze available intelligence, research people with identified attributes, interview leads and customers, make assumptions, and test the completed profile. An audience persona creation, in fact, is an endless process. So it is only the first iteration.
The process also includes the creation of an anti-profile. For companies with a wide target audience, non-ICP might be even more valuable.
Recognizing such prospects in the early stages of the sales process saves your company a lot of resources. Examples of anti-profile:
they may show interest beyond any intention to buy
buy the cheapest options of your products
a large account doesn’t pay off because you spend too much effort and time to close the deal
If you have an anti-profile, you can promptly stop pursuing non-ICP customers that are not cost-effective for your company.
To automate the sifting process, you can create an ignore list in the lead generation tool. When you engage with someone and qualify him as anti-profile, you can add him to the list.
Why Focus on Client Avatar in the Sales Process
Higher quality leads
It is reported that 56% of respondents said they generated higher quality leads employing client avatars.
There are a number of leads you can physically generate in a month. You can’t bring more, but you can make them more qualified. By having in mind your audience specifics, you can find more relevant prospects. More qualified leads result in increased close rates because you are reaching those who really need your product.
67% of B2B buyers expect businesses to foresee their needs. With that, 57% of B2B buyers say sales reps often lack enough knowledge about the prospect’s organization and vertical.
Client avatars bring insights on how to reshape your offer into a valuable one for a particular group of prospects. With the data, you can send personalized mass cold emails and save a lot of time researching and crafting each email.
At the same time, the client avatar opens your eyes to new ways of personalization: their pain points, professional background, and interests you may not be familiar with before. So you can facilitate trust and a good attitude to you and your company.
People like those who are genuinely concerned with them. For example, when you mention their problems they feel understood and relieved — they have someone to complain to. And when you add that you are somewhat related to their hobbies turn you into their buddy whom they can talk late in a bar.
Showing that you know them is 80-90% of success to warm them up. When prospects see that you spend your time to save their time, they will be grateful and more open to a dialogue.
Lower customer acquisition cost
Your leads are more qualified, your messages are more personalized, so more leads will knock on your door after the same effort and investment.
For example, in the Intel case, campaigns based on the client avatar were more cost-efficient than the average campaign by 48%.
Better buyer experience
85% of B2B buyers agree that the experience a company delivers is as important as its products/services.
Knowing your prospective buyer, you can prepare a better company’s «digital face», self-help resources, and product guides customized to the client avatar in advance.
This point is increasingly significant because 68% of B2B customers prefer to research online on their own before engaging with a sales rep.
When you understand the value of an ideal client avatar, you are more motivated to learn how to do it right and put more effort into creation, updates, and implementation.
- Many talks are about the importance of ICP and buyer persona, and still, only 15% of salespeople and marketers find it very effective.
- An ideal customer profile is a more general term that includes the characteristics of the companies you are looking for. A buyer persona is a part of ICP, which embed the characteristics of potential decision-makers in the companies.
- Think about creating an anti-profile. If you have a large target market, non-ICP might be even more valuable than ICP.
- Positive outcomes of having ICP: more qualified leads, higher conversion rate, lower customer acquisition cost, and greater buyer experience.