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Sales best practices

How to define your Ideal Customer Profile

October 5, 2022

Leif Catania

Understanding your company’s Ideal Customer Profile (let's call it ICP from now onwards) is an essential component of any Go-To-Market strategy. Despite this, companies often forget to define their ICP or if they do, they rush into an inaccurate draft of their ideal ICP.

That's why the number one exercise I typically have new customers perform is a deep dive and breakdown of their ICP.

But before we jump into any more details, you may be wondering:

What is an Ideal Customer Profile?

Ultimately, an ICP is an identification of the demographic/characteristics of the customers who are the best fit for your company. This includes size, industry, location, behaviors, situations, and many more.

Why is an ICP important?

One of my favorite answers when asking customers about their ICP is: “Our ICP is anyone with a pulse.”

But that isn’t true. It is an impossible task to attempt to solve a problem for everyone out there. In fact, in the beginning, it’s actually more detrimental to target “everyone" than to focus your efforts on reaching out to those who can benefit more from your product or solution.

By not having a clear picture of who your ICP is, you’ll end up acquiring customers that you provide very little solutions for and will have to spend more resources to acquire them.

How to define your ICP?

You’re probably reading this article because you are working on starting a campaign and/or you are trying to iron out an ideal customer profile to target. Well, the first step to doing so is very simple. Do you have any customers yet? If not, stay tuned. I'll have more for you.

If so - start there! Go through your customer list and identify who is the happiest, who's been around the longest, or who was the easiest sales process. My favorites to take note of are the company's:

  • Location
  • Size
  • Industry
  • Department you work with
  • Their business model
  • Their customers
  • Problem you solve for them

See if you can identify any trends, as the most common traits are found in your current ideal customer profile!

Our next job is going to be how to find and meet every clone of this customer out there.

If you are pre-revenue (or aren’t confident you have a core customer group), don't worry!

What you are going to need to do is start running some tests on outbound campaigns. The goal of the test is to identify what messaging or value prop resonates best with a demographic. However, this test's main key is eliminating as many variables as possible. Make some educated guesses on one factor you want to test (for example, industries) and that you think you could help, and run the same campaign on all of them, across multiple titles. Collect responses from these campaigns and gauge the sentiment to see which group your product/service resonates better with.

Now, if you’ve made it all the way through this article, here’s where I get to shamelessly plug how Amplemarket makes this process a piece of cake. Below is my favorite campaign to run for companies looking to identify their ICP (and book some meetings during the test!).

Create a list in the Amplemarket Searcher of

Companies across:

  • 3-4 different size ranges (I usually go 1-10, 11-50, 51-200, 201-500)
  • 2-3 preferred Industries
  • If you have a knowledge-based business model like consulting, use keywords to narrow it down.

With People filters including:

  • Director and above
  • Department of choice
  • Recently changed jobs/companies in last 3 months

The “recent change” is the most important aspect when focusing your outreach as this becomes the key component of this campaign. Reaching out to recent job/company individuals in our research is one of the more successful campaigns. If 10% of your industry’s decision-makers have changed jobs, those are the first 10% you should reach out to. It creates the natural urgency generated from the “why” we are reaching out, as well as the “why you.” This leads to higher open rates and reply rates - critical for us to collect feedback from the test.

  1. Create a multi-channel sequence (email, Linkedin, and phone) with 2-3 steps for each channel  
  2. Remember to mention how you found the lead! I usually put something along the lines of “Congrats on the new job - curious if this is a chance to review {your service or product type} - am I on the right track?  
  3. Ask for a feedback meeting rather than a sales process demo. While we do want to get leads into a sales process, we want more volume of meetings to collect this crucial feedback on the response to our offering.  
  4. Bonus points if you can incorporate Liquid syntax through the copy that changes the messaging by title, industry, department, and more.

Run 100-200 leads through this sequence and review the results. Did we get responses? Were they interested? Both of these results will tell you quite a bit! Iterate on your messaging to test tweaks to see if it makes a difference, but let Amplemarket handle the rest to deliver your meetings/responses to determine which companies like your product/service the most.

4 Benefits from having an accurate ICP

  1. Laser-focus your outreach, making the most of your available resources.  
  2. Decrease your CAC (Cost per Acquisition). By optimizing your resources and reaching out to leads that are a better fit for your company, you'll be able to decrease the efforts invested in acquiring customers.  
  3. Have happier customers that are a better fit for your company.  
  4. Decrease your churn rate. It's simple, happy customers stay longer, so why not do it right from the top?

In summary - finding your ideal customer profile is one of the most important first steps in any sales campaign. In my opinion, the real reason why no one is responding or booking meetings with your outbound campaigns is not the copy, but just the fact that they aren’t the right ICP.

Stay scientific in how you test, be curious and creative, and happy outbounding!


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