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5 Reasons Why Your ICP is Wrong

Mar 20, 2024
Photo of Leena JoshiLeena Joshi
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In tech, one term continually echoes through boardrooms and brainstorming sessions: ICP (Ideal Customer Profile.) ICP is your compass to promising opportunities and expansion. It is the research done about the type of company or individual that would benefit the most from your product or service. They’re the companies that are most likely to buy and continue using your product; a necessary detail for business growth. 

But, what does it mean, really? And why do people seem to be getting it so wrong? In this blog, we’ll talk about the five ways your ICP has gone wrong — and how to get back on track.

Before you keep reading, take a moment. Think about how you’d describe your current ICP and write it down. As we talk about how ICPs go wrong, refer back to your definition and see how it matches up. 

#1 | Too Broad

Most ICP conversations sound like this: “Our ideal customers are anyone in B2B SaaS with roughly 0-1,000 employees, and use Salesforce or Marketo.” If you hear this, the first thing you should be thinking is that it’s not defined enough. 

Creating an ICP also means outlining who your buyer personas are. Who would benefit the most from your product or service? CEOs? CFOs? SDRs? Get really clear on who you’re servicing. 

One of the most common mistakes companies and teams make in developing their ICP is making it too broad. They fear if they don’t cast a wide net, they’ll run out of prospects or pipeline, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Prospects read campaigns or materials and immediately mentally sift out if your solution is a fit or not. 

In order to fix it, narrow your ICP by focusing on specific demographics, industry sectors, pain points, regions and locations, team size, buyer personas … and that’s just the beginning. By targeting a niche audience, you can deliver more personalized and compelling messages that actually resonate with your ideal customers. 

#2 | Lack of Ownership 

Creating a clear ICP requires ownership within your organization. If no one’s responsible for defining, maintaining, and updating your ICP — it’s easy for it to become outdated, or neglected. Assigning a dedicated team or individual to take charge of your ICP is crucial to the success of your company and your clients. Create a plan to regularly review and refine it as time goes on to make sure it aligns with evolving business goals and market trends. 

#3 | Reinforcing Existing Markets

Sometimes, your ICP reinforces markets you’re already in. We know it’s important to retain existing customers; but your ICP should also help expand and explore new opportunities. Analyze your ICP to identify blind spots you might be neglecting potential customers or markets. Don’t limit yourself to what you already know; be open to growth. 

#4 | Data Imbalances

A well-rounded ICP considers both qualitative and quantitative data. Relying solely on numbers can lead to a one-dimensional view of your ideal customers. Qualitative data (like customer interviews and feedback) provides valuable insights into their pain points, motivations, and preferences. Balance these two types of data to create a more accurate and holistic ICP. 

#5 | Your Misaligned GTM

Your ICP should be closely aligned with your Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy. If they are out of sync, it can cause disjointed efforts and missed opportunities. Your ICP should inform your GTM approach all the way from product development and pricing to marketing channels and sales tactics. When your ICP and your GTM strategy work in harmony, you can achieve better results and growth. 

Your ICP should not be set in stone. It’s an ever-evolving focus on your business, market dynamics, and customer insights. By avoiding any of these five common pitfalls and regularly refining your ICP, you’ll be on your way to precise targeting, better engagement, and an increase in success — all because you took the time to do the hard work upfront. Every refinement you make after that will be a piece of cake!

Looking to learn more about mastering your ICP? Download our e-book for even more insights.

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