Episode TwoHundredSixtyEight

Ideal Customer Profiles

Guests: TJ Macke, SVP of Strategy at Sapper
Jason Serota, Head of Commercial Business Development (Americas) at Adobe

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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?

In this episode, I chatted with TJ Macke, SVP of Strategy at Sapper, and Jason Serota, Head of Commercial Business Development (Americas) at Adobe about this fascinating sales topic.

Let’s dive in!

Useful resources:

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:

    1. 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.
    2. Current ICP: e.g., your bread-and-butter clients with the most predictable demand in the immediate future.
    3. 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.

Key takeaways

  • Get more data-driven
  • Combine storytelling with data
  • Seek to align/merge your DCP and ICP

Get in touch with TJ Macke or Jason Serota about this topic on LinkedIn.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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