Thursday, April 18, 2024

Identifying Your Ideal Customer Persona (ICP)

Last updated on August 17th, 2017 at 11:09 am

There are so many questions about Account-Based Marketing (ABM) that Terminus and #FlipMyFunnel have launched ABX Week.

Sangram Vajre, Co-founder and CMO at Terminus, Founder of #FlipMyFunnel moderated the first ABX Week Panel Discussion today. He was joined by Deborah HolstienCMO at Everstring, Morgan Ingram, Manager, Sales Development at Terminus, and Nate Skinner, VP of Marketing at Salesforce Pardot to discuss how to identify revenue-generating accounts.


How do you identify your ideal customer persona (ICP)?

This process could be different, depending on how long your company has been in business.

If you’re a startup, you won’t have decades of historical sales data. This will make establishing your ideal targets a bit trickier. You’ll need to look at who the actual end users are of your product/solution. Don’t waste your time and resources on those that won’t be using what you’re offering. You can afford to be a little more agile, review your A/B testing, read the early signals.

If you’re an established company, sure you can create your ICP based on historical data, but that still may not tell you everything about your future buyers. If you expand your business, that may change your positioning.

Your ICP needs to be constantly revisited.


Who should lead the revolution of finding target accounts? Who owns this?

The panelists agreed, ultimately it’s Marketing.


There needs to be collaboration with the Product Development, Customer Success, and Sales teams.

Product teams are creating and building what the buyers are asking for.

The Customer Success folks know the job titles, and who the end users are. They can arm Marketing with case studies.

Sales can change tech speak into something their business contacts will understand.

identifying ideal customer persona
My own rendition of how this works.


What is the ideal number of accounts a company should target at one time?

This depends on a few variables:

  • The size of your business
  • Your selling price
  • Average deal size

As Morgan says, you should be intelligence about identifying your quality targets, and segment them into Tier A, B, and C. Your Tier A is not about the quantity of accounts, but the quality of the accounts you’re pursuing.

Using technology can also help you scale and aggregate the data (more information on this in upcoming segments of ABX Week). Find an intuitive platform that works for you, to keep your growth momentum going.


Is the compensation model changing? What is changing to make sure focus is on the right accounts?

Everyone agreed the biggest change is happening in Marketing, because metrics are more closely tied to revenue. Time was the focus was on the very top of the funnel. If you’ve created content and sent it to 10,000 target accounts, you left the office and called it a day. If you’re still doing that, you’re stuck in the past.

Deborah said the health of the funnel means that Marketing has to be in lock step with Sales. Compensation should be further down the funnel in the pipeline.

Incentives change behaviour. If compensation is tied to pipeline, then Marketing will give Sales the highest qualified leads.


Do you have some practical advice or examples?

Nate: The biggest mistake is basing ICP on historical customer data. What happens if those customers happened by accident? Do your market research. Talk to actual human beings that would be a good fit for you. “Where you are going is not where you are right now.”

Deborah: Make sure your data is as accurate as possible. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help you sift through the data, including real-time sources.

Morgan: Use research to minimize the risk in going after something new.


Is ABM right for everyone?

The answer is “no.” You’re different from everyone else out there. Have a close look at your business to make sure it’s right for you.


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