The Ultimate Guide to Creating and Targeting Your Ideal Customer Profile

Businesses of any size are often unsure about who to target for their outbound sales strategy. The one question that poses the most difficulty is “Who should we be trying to sell our product or service too?” Getting this wrong can make everything else look harder. Let’s figure out how to make your ideal customer profile.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following:Ā 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. šŸ˜€

Definition of An Ideal Customer Profile

What’s an ideal customer profile? A successful customer profile is one that includes the company size, industry they are in and what motivates them to buy your product. It should also include how often you want this customer to come back or recommend you.

How to create ideal customer profile? The best way to get a customer profile is by researching previous companies that have bought from you. If this information isn’t available, it’s possible to do so through data collected on competitors and their customers.

If you want to ensure that the product or service is meeting your customers needs, make sure all teams involved in its development have a common idea of who their ideal customer is.

What Is the Point of Creating an Ideal Customer Profile?

An ideal customer profile is a great tool to help you identify the strength of a prospect. If they are an exact match for your company, then its likely that they will be worth investing in and focusing on them extensively.

If you dont have a clear customer profile, it is easy to spread your attention too thin and try to reach all types of people. This can lead sales reps wasting time on leads who were never going to buy from them in the first place.

Knowing who your customers are can help you tailor what kind of product or service to offer them.

Difference Between an Ideal Customer Profile and a Buyer Persona

The buyer persona is a snapshot of the type of company you want to sell your product or service to. It might include some information about the number of people who work there and maybe even what kind of job titles they have, but its all based on their needs as an individual.

As a company, it is important to have both an ideal customer profile and buyer personas. Generally speaking, if you are working in a new field or niche then starting with the “ideal” customer will be more valuable than making them after developing your product.

For now, we’re just going to focus on the different types of customers and what they want.

What is the best way to identify an ideal customer profile?

If you want to find your ideal customer, there are a few strategies. One is the top-down strategy where executives refer down until they get someone who would be interested in talking with you. Another option is bottom up, which means aiming lower and getting people excited enough that their bosses will report it up the chain of command.

To start, you need to figure out the basics before deciding on a strategy.

  • What kind of businesses do you want to work with?
  • Which companies fit that mold?
  • I need to know more about my potential customers. I want the information that they are spending their money on, where they are buying it from and what other products might interest them.
  • Who has been using the product or service, and who is cutting the check?

Once you have a general idea of what kind of person would be your ideal client, there are several ways to narrow down the search to make your ideal client profile.

Method 1: Top down sales strategy

First, you find the contact information for their VP of Marketing or CMO. Then, once they email back to say that this is not a position in which they can refer people down into it but then recommend someone else with whom you should speak instead.

It is possible to get a VPMCMO excited about your product, but you wont have their attention for long enough if they are constantly meeting with other people.

So when you are in need of a job, try to find someone who has one and ask them for help. They will usually be happy to refer their employees.

Method 2: Bottom up sales strategy

The goal of this strategy is to get the lowest level employees, for us it was authors with Pearson Education, excited about what you are doing so they can report their excitement up the chain.

When you get the lower-level employees to buy into your product, it is much easier for higher management to invest time and resources in getting a good look at what you are selling.

When it comes to commission, many salespeople will not settle for less than what they think is fair. When I first began hiring salespeople, I just assumed pay along with commissions and bonuses would be enough motivation because these people care about the work that goes into their jobs. However this turned out not to be true when my company introduced a new system where our employees had no choice but to use an app which was riddled with bugs.

Method 3: Direct to the most probable decision maker

When I want to land a sponsorship deal with an organization, it is always best if I can go straight to the Field Marketing Manager. That way they know who we are and theres no need for any introductions or connections.

I know who the decision maker is and I can speak to them directly. If I want, then there are other strategies that will work too but in this case its not necessary.

You can also hit the right people at once by engaging with multiple individuals in an organization. This strategy may not work for you, but it is worth a try if your messaging and product are good enough.

For people that are just starting out, it may be difficult to figure this one out. However, as you progress in your career and have more experience under your belt with different companies, figuring the corporate structure will become easier.

This is how it might look.

When you are the CEO of a company with less than 10 employees, it is your responsibility to make decisions. If there are co-founders in that particular field or someone has already been hired as Vice President for Product Management or Marketing then they will have more authority.

For companies with 10-50 employees, the VP of Product Value is responsible for Marketing, Sales Productivity and Engineering.

It’s important to have a specialized role in the company for those who employ between 50-500 employees. This person will be able to coordinate marketing, sales and customer service as well as handle product development or new business opportunities.

More than 500 employees work in specialized roles for the company. They are spread out across different areas of North America and East Coast X.

In time, you’ll get a feel for what type of commission structure is best by looking at the past deals that have been successful.

The author of this article provides six tips to help get past the gatekeeper.

3 Key Steps to Write an Ideal Customer Profile

A question I get a lot is “How do you know when to hire?” Here are three things that will help answer this question:1. The company’s culture should be of high importance for the potential candidate, so it is important to create an atmosphere where they would want to work and feel like their personality fits in with what your team stands for

  • Identify your best customers
  • Research your best customers
  • Build a profile

Lets go over the essential simple steps in creating a customer profile.

Step 1. Identify the characteristics of your ideal customer

Who is ideal customer? Who is an ideal consumer? Customers and consumbers can be categorized by their buying habits. They are likely to have seven traits, which include:

  • When someone is ready to buy, they already know that their need can be fulfilled by your product.
  • If you are looking to sell your product, there is no need for elaborate marketing. Customers will buy it because they see that the purchase has value.
  • They have the money to buy your product.
  • Skilled people are more likely to have the in-house knowledge of your product, which is why they’re a perfect fit for it.
  • In their line of work, theyre doing well so it is easier to be ethical and not cut corners.
  • Theyre planning to expand, which means that they can offer customers an opportunity for upsells and renewals.
  • Networked theyre able to spread the word about your product and encourage other potential buyers.

How does this work in your field?

If youre a new company:

The best thing to do is gather data about the market in order to make an educated guess.

If youre a mature business:

You can look through the list of companies that have previously bought your product and see which ones are easy to sell too, as well as those who extract a lot from it.

Metrics that help you identify your ideal customer criteria:

The question of what makes an ideal customer is a complicated one. There are many ways to approach it, and there isn’t any clear answer.

How to identify your ideal customer? Here are some different metrics that can help you determine your ideal customer profile.

  • Shortest sales cycle
  • This is where Ive seen the most success in terms of getting customers.
  • Highest customer satisfaction
  • Largest number of renewals
  • Most up-sells and expansions
  • Most referrals

Here are just a few things that you might need to do if your company is getting ready for the upcoming season.

Another important thing to think about is the cost of servicing a contract after youve won it.

It is important to know what numbers are most significant for your business. However, it’s also essential that you learn the metrics of potential customers and match them with those who share similar values.

Dont be fooled by your best customers. You can still make a living without them.

Ive had some experience with this, and it turns out that there are other factors to consider.

You can’t just go out and find any customer. You need to look for a profile that matches your ideal, then use it as a way of finding other customers like them.

If your company’s biggest customer is not typical, it can be more difficult to provide them with the resources they need.

It is also worth sitting down with your sales managers and discussing who the ideal customers are. There may be some that you didnt think of or just forgot about.

Questions to figure out the WHO:

  • When it comes to picking the best customers, there are a few things that I find important.
  • What are the most important aspects of our product?
  • How long does it take for employees to leave the company?

Step 2: Research your target market to determine the best customers

Now that youve identified your company’s best customers, it is time to find out why they are such great customers. What makes them the perfect fit for your product?

The easiest way to find out what your customers want is just by asking them. If they are happy with your product, then it’s likely that they will have no problem answering a few questions about why.

In order to get your high-value customers onboard for an interview, you need to demonstrate the value they will receive from participating. You can show them that this is a way of improving their customer service and give them power over how good of a customer they are.

You should always offer a choice to prospective customers, whether it is an in-person meeting or phone call. If they are too busy for that, you can provide them with the option of filling out your questionnaire online.

At the end of an interview, it is important to show your gratitude for their time and willingness by giving them a free service upgrade or even something as simple as an Amazon gift card. This will help close the circle on this meaningful customer interaction.

Questions to figure out the WHAT:

  • What do you think would make you the happiest with our product or service?
  • What priority or challenge is on top of mind when using our product / service?Save timeCut down costsSimplify work processes
  • Save time
  • Cut down costs
  • Simplify work processes
  • What do you like and dislike about our product or service? What are the best features, and what needs improvement?
  • Do you think our productservice is worth the price?

Conducting user interviews is not enough to get a full understanding of what your customer wants. Its also worth looking at the demographic approach, which involves asking about things like age and gender.

Questions to figure out the demographics and logistics:

  • A geographical question I ask is where the person will be based and if they are local, regional or national.
  • How many employees does the company have?
  • In order to best describe the business area, I need to provide a brief overview of what they do.
  • When youre negotiating with a customer, it is important to know how much money they have available for your product.
  • People who are in charge of making the decision to buy from you, what do they want?
  • Objectives are important for any business because they help you establish what the company’s goals should be.
  • When you have a pain point, it means that there is something in your life or job that makes things difficult. It’s good to be aware of the people who are experiencing these pains because they may also use what you’re selling.

The next step is to determine your ideal customer profile. There are many questions that you should ask yourself before determining this, but its not limited to these.

The key to figuring out what will motivate your employees is by finding the similarities in their jobs. For example, you may have all different types of customers but they are all involved with the same business.

I had a million different ideas about how to approach these organisations and try to find commonalities.

Its worth reviewing your past failures and analyzing the traits that those prospects didn’t share. If you’re doing it right, then these profiles should be very clear to see.

Step 3: Make a behavioral profile of your ideal customer

In order to better understand customer behavior, you need a combination of the two data sets: dry data from your CRM and analytics tools as well as insights from interviews with customers. This will provide more information about ICPs.

In order to find the right people for your company, it is important to first identify patterns from data collection. This will help you build a profile of what an ideal customer looks like and why they would be interested in buying your product.

When recruiting, Sugg always asks herself the following questions:1) What are they getting in return for joining? 2) How does it affect their personal life and goals to join this company? 3) Is there anything I can do now that will help them feel welcome on day one?

Steps to build a profile of ideal customer behavior:

A spreadsheet is a great way to track all the data points.

I grouped similar entries together to find patterns and trends.

I also grouped data points and insights into three categories: Income, Career Paths, and Professional Development.

I created a list of the ideal customer and then extracted multiple profiles based on different criteria, such as industrysector or size.

  • Their needs
  • Their responsiveness
  • The ongoing relationship between the company and its employees is a major factor in employee motivation.
  • They felt connected to the company

Now, we have a series of metrics that tell us what type of customer you are trying to attract.

We need to take a moment and put ourselves in their shoes. Imagine what it would be like if we were the ones being paid commission only, with no base pay. Walk around this table as though you are them and sit down at one of these chairs.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How do you come across to your prospects?
  • If you visit our website, will we know that it’s the right fit for your company?
  • Would they feel like their company was a good fit for them?

You can use this information to understand the behavior of people at these companies and what kind of person would fit into that environment.

Questions to gather contextual information:

  • What does the typical day look like for your average customer?
  • How can you get your employees to be less frustrated and upset?
  • What other forces are at play?
  • When I am hiring salespeople, what do they need to be successful?

Questions to figure out how your ideal customers process information:

  • What is the best way to acquire information and knowledge?
  • What are their favorite blogs and books?
  • What social media sites do they use?
  • What are the best ways to reach them?

To make sure you have a better understanding of the product, it is important to know who will be using and implementing the purchase. It’s also worth finding out how accountable they are for making this decision successful.

I Have My Ideal Customer Profile. What’s Next?

Once youve created the profile, it is crucial to be able to access that information at any time.

One key use is in prospecting. The ideal customer profile allows you to look at new prospects and run them against a checklist of qualities which make for happy customers. For example, if they are similar enough to past buyers who have been satisfied with your product then that could be the perfect lead.

The other aspect of customer profiles is actually finding them. By the time youve finished developing your profile, you should have a clear picture of where to find this person and what their goals are.

In order to convince your prospect that you are the best fit for their needs, it is important to be knowledgeable about what they need and provide a solution.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following:Ā 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. šŸ˜€
Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? Iā€™d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.