What is an ideal customer profile?

An ideal customer profile (ICP) refers to a type of customer that is the best possible fit for a company’s products or services. ICPs are based on a variety of factors and firmographic data, all designed to help a business determine who it should target.

ICPs can refer to individual customers in a B2C context, or other companies / organizations in a B2B and B2G context. They are different from buyer personas, which are detailed, fictionalized representations of existing customers. The two, however, can and should be used together to get a complete picture of customer engagement and success.

Characteristics of an ICP

To create an ICP, a company may rely on many different data points to create a comprehensive, reliable profile. Exact considerations may vary by company, but common factors include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Income level and budget
  • Industry and career level
  • Previous buying habits and experience

In a B2B context, ICP is used to define target companies, so businesses can focus more on company-specific factors such as revenue, size, legal standing, technographic data, registrations, and more. In these instances, buyer personas can be used to describe individuals within the company who would be driving the implementation and use of the products and services purchased.

Benefits of an ICP

ICPs can help an organization focus its sales and marketing efforts. Without an accurate, updated ICP, companies waste time, money, and resources trying to reach prospects who are not a good fit for their products and services. Even if those prospects turn into customers, their onboarding and implementation might likely fail, costing a company even more money.

By leveraging an ICP, however, companies can target only those prospects who are the best fit, helping them see faster, more efficient and effective customer outreach—and more lasting success and satisfied, loyal customers.

How to define an ICP

Correctly defining an ICP can take time and dedication, but with the right approach, companies can reap tremendous benefits at all levels of the organization. To build an ICP, businesses should:

Identify their most successful customers

Companies should examine their customer records, past and present, and identify which ones had positive, lasting experiences with their products and services. This can come both from quantitative data around the number of sales and time with the company, but also qualitative feedback data about their experience and satisfaction.

Curate and analyze customer data

With a list of successes, companies can break down their information according to basic demographic, firmographic, and usage attributes, and look for patterns to see what all of those customers had in common—and if there are recurring qualities that made those companies successful.