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About This Episode
The ICP Illusion:
Who’s buying from you, and who are you selling to — are they the same people?
Let’s dive in!
Defining ideal customer profiles — ICPs
It’s a term that’s used increasingly today, but is it really understood?
Who you think you’re selling to (DCP — desired customer profile), and who buys from you (TCP — true customer profile), should ideally align, right?
But it’s not always the case.
You can’t always predict who’s going to demand your product.
Building your ICP:
- Is it repeatable? There will always be exceptions but your ICP should be broad enough so that you can maintain a healthy pipeline.
- Efficiency: Not everything that can be done again can be done again efficiently — don’t get caught out by this.
- Base your ICP on closed deals: your ICP is separate from your aspirational targeting.
- It evolves with time: Your ICP can and will change over time, as the market and its needs change. Resistance is futile.
Before you engage a lead, ask yourself why you’re reaching out to that specific person at that particular company. What makes them a good fit to buy from you, and why?
Understanding and developing ICPs
ICP isn’t monolithic. TJ outlines 3 categories:
3 ICP categories:
- Lagging ICP: e.g., maybe you start out selling to small businesses, but progress to enterprise scale. Small businesses become your lagging or fading ICP.
- Current ICP: e.g., your bread-and-butter clients with the most predictable demand in the immediate future.
- Emerging ICP: e.g., an upcoming trend or time-specific focus, like the pandemic brought to everyone around the world all at once.
Who sets the DCP?
It sometimes happens that there’s a top-down decision to set the DCP.
This requires a bit of mastery to merge the ICP and DCP, but the key is to always make the value obvious.
This is where that storytelling skill comes in, because if the value proposition isn’t obvious, it won’t be obvious to your customer.
How to approach the DCP?
“When you want to break into a new market, you approach it like you’re starting a new business.” — TJ Macke
Converting your DCP into your ICP means closing deals with your DCP
Advice for sales personnel:
Advice for individual AEs, BDRs etc.:
- Understand your company’s trends and how that industry is evolving over time.
- Know how to leverage your data and tell that story using that data.
- Take a class on the CRM you’re using, so you can maximize the way it serves you.
- Find small ways to scientifically test and explore your ICP, e.g., devote 10% of your prospecting time.
- Don’t wait on leadership; use scientific discovery to prove your own theories.
Advice for leaders, execs etc.:
- Let your BDRs take risks.
- Assess how you get your truest data on your ICP.
- Don’t wait for the annual planning meeting to acquire that data. E.g., expedite feedback loops using quick polls.
- Get more data-driven
- Combine storytelling with data
- Seek to align/merge your DCP and ICP