How To Create an Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona
Are you looking to unlock the potential of your business? One of the most important steps you can take is to create an ideal customer profile and buyer persona. By doing so, you’ll be able to focus on the customers you want to attract and target your marketing and sales efforts to the right people.
It will help you save time and help you to increase your ROI by ensuring that all your efforts have a direct and positive impact on your bottom line. In this article, you’ll find explanations, tips and tricks on how to create the right customer profile and buyer persona.
What’s the Difference Between an Ideal Customer Profile and a Buyer Persona?
As both an ideal customer profile and a buyer persona represent the characteristics of your ideal customer, it’s no surprise that many people confuse the two terms. So let’s see what the definitions are, plus the actual difference between the two.
What Is an Ideal Customer Profile?
An ideal customer profile (ICP) defines the perfect customer for the solutions your organisation provides. In the case of an ICP, this is a fictitious company that would make the perfect fit. This is a very useful tool, especially when your organisation utilises account-based marketing, as it allows you to truly qualify leads. As not every lead is a perfect fit, why bother your sales reps with them? Using an ICP will keep everybody focussed on the customers’ needs and save your salespeople lots of valuable time and effort.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona (BP) is a semi-fictional representation of your company’s ideal customer. It is based on research and data like demographics, motivators, goals, challenges and pain points of existing and potential customers. Needless to say, this will provide your marketing department – and other teams like sales and support – with structure and context. It also helps your marketing people map out and curate content.
Difference Between Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona
An ICP describes a type of company that would be your ideal customer, while buyer personas represent different people within a company that buy from you.
How To Use Your Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona
Once you have created an ideal customer profile and buyer persona, it’s time to use them. Here are a few ways to use your ICP and BP to benefit your business:
- To target your marketing campaigns. By targeting your campaigns to the right people, you’ll increase your ROI and save time.
- To create better products and services. By understanding the needs and preferences of your ideal customer, you’ll be able to create products and services that better meet their needs.
- To create more effective customer service. By understanding the needs of your customers, you will be able to create more personalised and effective customer service experiences.
Now the question is, do you need both an ICP and BP?
And if yes, when do you use which? Hubspot gives us a good example of how to simultaneously use an ICP and BPs:
Solar Boost is a B2B company that provides solar panel installations. They have created their ICP based on the number of employees, budget, location and lead time from time-of-sales to installation. Within the company Solar Boost has identified as their Ideal Customer Profile, there are two types of buyers the salespeople are dealing with.
One is Owen from Building Operations. His challenges are: impact on business downtime, required maintenance, and questions about on-site installation access and number of workers. The second person they deal with is Betty, the Building Owner. Betty has different challenges within her role, namely: initial education on solar panel benefits, cost savings, and questions about legality and local ordinances.
This is a clear example of how both your ICP and BPs can enhance each other and when to use each. For both Owen and Betty a buyer persona was created, including all their challenges.
- Your ICP is advising your teams on which accounts to target, so you should use it for lead qualification at the beginning of your sales cycle.
- From here on, your teams can use the BPs to inform how to best communicate with the individual. It will make sure that the sales team is speaking to qualified leads, the marketing team is creating content for the right audience, and the support team knows what kind of questions to expect from the customers.
How To Define an Ideal Customer Profile and Make a Buyer Persona
Creating an ICP and BP can seem like a daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to create an effective ideal customer profile and buyer persona in no time.
- Gather data: the first step is to gather data about your current customers. This data should include demographic data such as age, gender, income, location, and education level. It should also include psychographic data such as interests, hobbies, values, and lifestyle.
- Analyse data: once you have gathered the data, it's time to analyse it. Look for patterns and trends in the data that can help you to determine the characteristics of your ideal customer.
- Create a profile: once you’ve analysed the data, it’s time to create a profile of your ideal customer. This profile should include demographic and psychographic data, as well as any other relevant information.
- Create a buyer persona: once you have created a profile of your ideal customer, it is time to create a buyer persona. This should include information about the customers’ goals, motivators, and pain points.
- Test and refine: once you have created a buyer persona, it is important to test and refine it. Test it on your current customers and get feedback. Use this feedback to refine your buyer persona and make it as effective as possible.
Tips To Help You to Create an Effective Profile and Persona
- Be as detailed as possible. Be sure to include as much demographic and psychographic data as you can. This will help you to better understand your ideal customer and create more effective marketing campaigns.
- Be realistic. Don’t try to create a ‘perfect’ customer that doesn’t exist. Be sure to take into account the limitations of your business and create a customer that is achievable.
- Test and refine your customer profile and buyer persona. Once you’ve created a profile and persona, test it on your current customers and get feedback. Use this feedback to refine your profile and persona and make them as effective as possible.
On the Hubspot website, you’ll find several worksheets, templates, and even a generator for creating your own Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona:
Ideal Customer Profile Worksheet
Free Buyer Persona Templates
Make My Persona Tool
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