Commentary

ABM's Essential Step: Building Ideal Customer Profile

The TOPO 2019 Account-Based Benchmark Report found that more than 80% of the most successful companies have a well-defined ideal customer profile (ICP).

Even so, many organizations still fail to realize the value of an ICP and do not take the time to develop one. This often results in sub-optimal pipeline and revenue, with companies failing to focus resources on prospects most likely to turn into customers.

While account-based marketing (ABM) can deliver a higher ROI than traditional lead-generation strategies, even marketers who “specialize” in building account-based strategies often misunderstand how to effectively establish their ICP.

It is important to remember that an ICP is a persona of an enterprise, not your total addressable market or target account list. This profile will help you build the strategic framework to focus marketing activity across the entire business. Here are some tips as you begin building out your ICP.

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What’s relevant? Dissect and vet customer data

Each organization will pull customer data from different sources. Whether it’s the sales funnel, customer calls, financial data, or website visitors, it is important to have conversations across the entire business to get the data you need for a holistic view of your ideal customer profile.

Identify patterns

Once you’ve aggregated your data, it is crucial to look for patterns to identify shared firmographic and technographic qualities. In other words, what repetitions are you seeing among your current customers? Pull out the specific verticals, company sizes, and other characteristics that are most prevalent.

Define your ICP and build your target account list

Making sure you have the right data is a vital, foundational step. What’s even more important is what you do with that data. Once you map out patterns and consolidate them into a format that can be easily implemented consistently across your organization, you have your ICP. From there, you can create a target account list that aligns to these qualifications and prioritize accounts accordingly. While this strategic process may prove difficult at first, in the long run, it will result in higher-performing campaigns and pipeline.

Be flexible moving forward

While developing an ICP makes your life much easier, remember that this is not something that you set and forget. Your ICP will change over time. Best practice calls for continual evaluation and adjustment of your ICP as you win new business and uncover new opportunities, in order to ensure that your target account list is accurate and your campaigns are precise.

An account-based strategy is only half-baked without a strong ICP.

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