Ideal Customer  Profile or Description

One of the most important questions a business leader can ask of him or herself “Who are your ideal customers?” The answer to this question is what is called an Ideal Customer Profile.

Role of the Ideal Customer Profile in Marketing Automation

An Ideal Customer Profile is one of the 33 marketing automation readiness items we’ve found to help B2B sales lead generation success.

Possible Ways to Describe an Ideal Customer

Ideal Customer Profile

  • A customer who wants what you sell. Describe specifically why they prefer what you offer – what are the wins to them?
  • They have problems that you have some level of distinction in solving – competitors are few.
  • A customer you want to sell to; they are efficient and effective to deal with and pay their bills on time.
  • A customer that provides your company with the highest value relative to what it costs to acquire and keep them as a customer.
  • A customer (representative) who has: budget, authority need and will buy soon.
  • There is a reasonable cost to acquire them as a customer.
  • They are a good enough fit that they will stay with you for years, continuing to buy and will have a high total lifetime value to your company.
  • Annual Revenue
  • Total Number of Employees
  • Industry Vertical
  • Sales coverage area (US, Global)
  • Buyer Role
  • Type of ownership (public company, foreign ownership, etc.)
  • Recent reorganization
  • Recent change in general i.e. moved or planning to move
  • Recent major change in stock price
  • Lifecycle stage (early, middle, late)
  • Assets
  • Competitors products or services currently being used i.e. installed base of computer hardware or software.

How do you build an Ideal Customer Profile?  Consider these steps:

Start with RFM

Using existing customer purchase data run a RFM analysis (recency, frequency, monetary). There is a great website from the guy I consider the master at this; Jim Novo – http://www.jimnovo.com/. Jim’s book is the bargain of the century. Tier’s 1-3 will likely contain your current ideal customer. You’ll want to seek other targets that look like those.

    • Determine the top 3-4 industries represented in the top 3 tiers (after RFM exercise) of  your customer base.
    • Identify customer size that best represents your current install base (annual revenue, total number of employee’s)
    • Determine which customer size best matches the customers in your top 3-4 segments.

Develop a Key Player Map

Build out your key player map of all roles and related titles that participate in making the decision to buy what you sell.

Key Player Map

Build a Buying Process Map

Now build out your buying process map for each of your 3-4 market segments. Buying processes often differ from one segment to the next even for the same product or service.

Buying Process Stages

Understand the B2B Buying Process Sticking Points

Finally, document what you can see as the sticking points in the buying process i.e. strong ROI required, security issues, evaluation, proof required.

Now Build the Profile

Using everything from above create your profile.

Put the whole description in writing.

The most important part; get all stakeholders to agree on the final definition.

Will the Ideal Customer Profile Drive The Revenue Plan?

The final step is to just be sure that your ideal customer profile or description will drive a list that you can both market to and make your revenue plan with. If the list is too chaotic or too small to make your revenue plan you may need to relax portions of your profile until you can optimize around all of your requirements.