Many businesses offer products and services that can solve problems for a wide range of organizations. However, identifying specific customer segments and the types of company that are most likely to buy from your B2B ecommerce operation will help you to create an effective marketing strategy. Have you identified the types of companies you want as customers?
Many industrial, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution companies are looking for new partners and customers following the pandemic. Business models are being redesigned, sometimes due to lost business or stress in the supply chain.
Starting with an Ideal Client Profile (ICP) allows you to identify companies where you can add the most value. It will help you to prioritize your resources, time and money to find the customers that will be best for you.
What is an Ideal Customer Profile?
Any type of business that might buy a product or service from you is potentially a ‘target’ customer. In contrast, an ICP focuses on the most valuable types of customers and prospects. You can use it to align your marketing, sales, service and management teams to the accounts that will be best for your business. There are a number of defining factors of an effective ICP:
✓ Critical and strategic – you will use your ICP to guide your business effort so it requires consultation with key stakeholders followed by careful analysis and considered implementation.
✓ Simple – the purpose of your ICP is to identify customers most likely to become high-value accounts, so it might include, for example, an assessment of annual contract values (ACV) and lifetime values (LTV).
✓ Data-based – alongside your in-depth market knowledge and expertise an ICP must be based on qualitative and quantitative information from your customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise (ERP) systems, and possibly predictive data based on artificial intelligence.
✓ Usable – your ICP will be the foundation that will allow you to implement effective segmentation so you can create realistic go-to-market plans based on expected value.
✓ Action-based – your ICP will be a tool for your whole organization from product development, sales and marketing to customer service and support. Everyone will need to understand what it’s for and what it will mean to them.
The benefits of an Ideal Customer Profile
An effective ICP framework helps you to focus on scalable and repeatable strategies and tactics to find and engage with customers and convert high quality business opportunities. It isn’t a replacement for your well-honed business judgement and it isn’t a rigid framework that would prevent you from responding to short-term business opportunities.
You can use your ICP to review your sector so that you can effectively target your marketing and sales efforts, improving segmentation and organizational structure to achieve the best results for long-term growth.
It will help you to maintain a clear focus on your core competencies and make decisions that will help you to minimize longer-term risks to your business. It will be easier to create marketing personas when you have a clear ICP and you will have shorter marketing lists so you can optimize your performance.
You can refine your content and approach and choose the best marketing channels to reach your ideal customers. You might even be able to create completely personalized marketing plans for key contacts within your target organizations.
Your ICP Checklist
The obvious place to start is with a review of the customers you already have.
✓ BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS
Alongside the volume and value of business you can also evaluate why some of your customers are simply better than others. This might include the speed with which they pay their invoices, the amount of notice they give when they want to make changes, or the number of complaints they make and their willingness to accept resolutions. You will also want to give weight to how well your products or services meet their needs.
✓ PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS
You might also want to include:size of company
- size of budget
- expected customer lifetime value
- purchasing frequency
- product lead times.
✓ CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
Depending on your market sector, you might also include the need to meet product variation requirements, different terms and conditions, and additional services and support that might be desirable or necessary.
✓ RISK AND REWARD
While winning new business is always exciting it can sometimes have unintended consequences that are less positive. Having an effective ICP can help you to optimize opportunities and minimize risks. You can also assess the types of business that will not only increase revenue but will also improve your margins.
✓ PARTNERSHIP POTENTIAL
The real test is to ask yourself whether you would want to do business with a company if you didn’t have to consider the revenue the relationship might generate. You might want to evaluate whether your company cultures and approach to business are compatible. Could the company become a sustainable long-term partner that could add value to your business?
Look for an experienced implementation partner
With your ICP in place you will be in a much stronger position to choose an implementation partner who can support you with powerful business system integration and ecommerce features to reach and impress your ideal customers.
Cloudfy is a software as a service (SaaS) ecommerce platform specifically designed to meet the needs of business to business (B2B) organizations. Available on a subscription basis and with an easy-to-use dashboard, it can become part of your day-to-day operations in a matter of weeks rather than months or years.
To discuss your plans for business growth, speak with one of our experts today.