Why does a high growth Saas start-up need to know their ideal customer profile (ICP) and how to use this knowledge for success?

Simply put: Focus your sales and marketing efforts to your most valuable customers all the way from making them aware of our existence to retaining them and selling them more. This is where the success lies in all companies but especially for high growth start-ups where you need to bring results to your investors fast.

I’ll cover here briefly these 4 steps:

  • Identify your ICP using data
  • Get everyone on board
  • Start the work
  • Measuring – How to see you succeeded?

    If you are not sure what ICP means, read more here.

Identify your ideal customers using data

Looking at your customer data and your most valuable customers, you may notice some factors that they have in common. They all may come from the same industry (or not), are using the same kind of technology, have the same kind of maturity level, use your product in a similar way etc… It can be anything that is relevant to your company. Use both quantitative and qualitative data. You know the best.

This is all nice information, then what?

Well, luckily you’ve already done a lot, some companies never discover this, they just think their product is for everyone in the market 🤦‍♀️

Get everyone on board

When you’ve done the exercise to find you ICP as a cross-team effort you also probably are nicely aligned around this. IF on the other hand this work is only done for example by sales or marketing team, it might be hard to get other teams on board even if your assumption of the ideal customer is correct. So, work on this together.

To get everyone in the company understand the importance means more than just sharing the slide deck, but I think you already know that 😉

So, how to actually start working around this? 🤔

Focus your efforts on your ideal customers

You “simply” start putting your efforts to this particular group of companies. Sales uses their time on meetings with the customers that fulfill the ICP-criteria. Marketing focuses mainly on messaging that is interesting to the ideal customers. Think how this can help you in prioritization! 

Focusing on ICP doesn’t (well, necessarily) mean that you can’t sell/communicate to other target audiences. Sure you can, but let’s face it. If selling to your ICP takes 3 months and to others 6, which one makes more sense? 🤑⏳

Same principle applies to everything in marketing: website copy, content, ads, campaigns… If you do a case study, do it with your ideal customer.

And voilà!

How to see if you succeeded?

You can measure for example the amount of ICP sales discussion started, customers coming in and shorter sales cycle. In marketing, conversion rate on the website should increase as a result of more targeted message. The amount of website visits might decrease but hey, we do want quality over quantity. Over time website traffic also probably starts to increase again. In the end of course CLV should increase but that can be a very lagging metric depending of your business.

Don’t think this too black and white, either or. Focusing to your ICP doesn’t mean that your message is somehow totally irrelevant for everyone else, of course it’s not! It just works the best for those companies you actually want to get. .

But you do need to say no to many things and that is often the hardest part.

Further reading 💡

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