Customer intimacy: How an ICP unlocks insights that drive revenue
Do you know your customers?
I mean, really know them?
Far too many businesses put too much faith in their product and stop making an effort to really know their customers.
But creating a great product is just the starting point. To stand out from the competition and build loyalty, you need to make your customers feel like you really get them and the problems they’re facing.
So, what exactly is customer intimacy, and how can building an ideal customer profile (ICP) help you attain it?
In this article, we’re going to discuss:
- What is customer intimacy?
- What an ideal customer profile can do for your business
- 7 innovative ways to use your ICP to drive revenue
What is customer intimacy?
When your business has customer intimacy, you understand the needs of your customers and prioritize them in your business decisions. This means getting face-to-face with your customers and building awareness of who they are as individuals. True customer intimacy then takes that knowledge of the customer and uses it to align sales, marketing, customer service, and product teams to fit the needs and wishes of the customer.
So, how do you build customer intimacy?
The first step is by creating ideal customer profiles for your business. By taking this first step, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of who your customers are and what they really need from you.
Why are ICPs such an important part of customer intimacy? Let’s take an in-depth look at the benefits you can see from ideal customer profiles.
What an ideal customer profile can do for your business
Before you put in the effort to create your own ideal customer profile, you need to know what kind of benefits you can see.
Here are some ideas of how an ICP can help your business succeed:
Help align messaging across sales and marketing
Marketing and sales teams are notoriously never on the same page. But when these two teams are aligned, it makes a difference.
Research by Marketo found that businesses that successfully align sales and marketing get 67% higher conversion rates, and their leads produce over 200% more revenue.
How does an ideal customer profile play into this?
Simply put, your ICP shows both sales and marketing what’s really important to the customer, allowing both teams to keep their main message focused on those important matters.
For example, let’s say your product has 10 main features, but your ICP shows you that most customers care more about Feature 1 and Feature 3. Marketing can use that information to update landing pages and draw prospects in. Sales then uses that information to continue the conversation with MQLs and expand on what they already know (and like) about Feature 1 and Feature 3.
When messaging is aligned, your customer journey goes much smoother.
Brings laser-focus to the right customers
Your ideal customer profile is more than just a made-up character with a cute name like Marketing Mary or Builder Bob. (Can we fix it?)
This profile is based on real data from real customers. And when done correctly, your ICP tells you exactly who your best customers really are.
An ICP creates customer intimacy, not with all customers, but with the right customers. You know, the ones that are actually using your product and seeing seriously awesome ROI with it.
When you base your ideal customer profile on your most successful customers, you’ll have a window into the mind of prospects who will see the biggest results with your product.
With these insights, both sales and marketing teams can develop laser-focus into the needs and wants of the prospects who will actually use (and love) your product.
Defines warning signs for non-ideal customers
While your team uses ICPs to stay focused on the best-fit profile, you can also use your ICPs to see which prospects are not going to be successful with your product.
This is what we call the non-ideal customer. Take it from me: selling to non-ideal customers can kill your business. I learned the hard way that you need to chase the smart money, not just the most money.
Let’s be honest: No product is built for ‘everybody’.
So it follows that, when you have a clear picture of who your product is really for, you’ll also know who is NOT a good fit for your product.
This allows you to save your sales teams a lot of time, and possibly save your whole business by refusing to sell to customers who don’t fit your ideal customer profile.
Allows sales teams to qualify faster and more accurately
When you have a set list of qualities and requirements for your ideal customers, sales teams know exactly what to ask when qualifying.
Imagine: With just a few specific questions, your sales reps can know exactly what kind of customer this prospect will be, whether or not they’re a good fit for your product, which features will appeal to them most, and more!
But it gets better.
With a clear, accurate customer profile, you can even eliminate a chunk of discovery calls that your reps do every week with non-ideal customers.
How? By adding some spice to your lead generation forms.
And by spice, I mean better qualifying questions.
By adding a couple of extra questions to your lead gen forms, you can get a clearer understanding of the prospect before your reps even pick up the phone.
That means they won’t waste time on unqualified leads, leaving them more time for the leads that are a perfect fit for your product.
Shortens sales cycles and increases win rates
When your sales team is laser-focused on the true needs of their prospects, the sales process can be simplified and shortened.
Your product probably accomplishes quite a bit, and can probably solve various problems your prospects may face.
But to shorten your sales cycle, focus on one or two main problems that affect your customers more. Don’t try to sell them an all-in-one solution to ALL their pain points, as this will add unnecessary time to your pitch, demo, and meetings. In fact, too many details can derail your deal. You don’t need to sell them on everything: When you sell them on the features that matter most, you’ve practically closed the deal already.
By staying on topic, you prove by actions that you understand who you’re talking to. Use customer intimacy to build a pitch that makes your prospects say, “Wow, this gal really gets me.”
Boosts customer loyalty
Your ideal customer profiles don’t lose their usefulness when the deal is closed. In fact, your whole company can continue to use these profiles to adjust the product, build better marketing material, and retain or even upsell the customer.
The more your whole company is aligned with the profiles you’ve created, the more customers will feel like the brand as a whole understands them.
When you can build a relationship between the customer and your brand, it’ll be much harder for them to leave you.
Use ICPs to keep adapting your product to fit their wishes, keep building content that helps them in their work-life, and keep your customer service in tune with their specific pain points.
In other words, when you use your ICPs right, you make your customers feel like no one understands them as well as you do.
7 innovative ways to use your ICP to drive revenue
Now that we know how useful ideal customer profiles can be for your business, let’s talk about how you can use these profiles to drive more revenue to your business:
1. Use segmentation in your marketing
Most companies will have more than one ideal customer profile.
For example, an email marketing software may sell to both local businesses and other software companies.
Obviously, the pain points, needs, and situation of those two profiles will vary greatly.
Using these two profiles, that email software could segment everything they do for marketing. This would include creating separate email marketing campaigns, different ad campaigns on social, and specific content on their blog.
Create marketing content that is specific to each profile you sell to, and you’ll be building customer intimacy based on real data.
2. Update landing pages and pricing page
As mentioned above, ideal customer profiles allow you to narrow in on the main pain points of your customer base.
So, use those insights on your landing pages.
For example, let’s say I’m a business looking for a marketing agency to handle my social media channels. My main pain point is that I don’t have time to do it, so I want someone who will handle everything for me.
If I land on a page that highlights how this agency makes sure you approve every tweet and post that goes out, focusing on the fact that you have total control, I’ll probably leave (because ain’t nobody got time for that).
But if I land on a page that focuses on my pain point, showing how their agency can help me save time by taking care of my social channels without the need for me to be constantly checking their work, I’ll be hooked.
Landing page language must match the main problems your prospects are trying to solve.
The same goes for your pricing pages: Use this page to show how well you know your customers.
Here’s how we do this at Close:
Each plan on our pricing page has a ‘Best for’ section, as well as listing the top features. Of course, Close has many more features available, but we pick the features that stand out most to our customers.
So, do the same: By keeping the main features that your customers use at the top of the list, you’ll be more likely to hook the right prospects.
What’s interesting is that this goes both ways: By building your landing pages and pricing page around your ideal customer profiles, you’ll also discourage non-ideal customers from getting in contact with you. Your product isn’t built for everyone, so use your website to make it very clear who your product is really for.
3. Use ICP insights to update your product
Your ideal customer profile should tell you which features your customers love, which ones they use more, and which ones they don’t use or have trouble understanding.
When the product team takes these insights to heart, they can better plan their product roadmap to fit what customers actually want.
For example, rather than building out a feature that most customers hardly use, why not expand on a feature that customers already love?
4. Build individual sales scripts and email templates for different ICPs
Just like you segment your marketing efforts, you can use your ICPs to segment your sales efforts.
When building sales scripts for your team, think about the different profiles that you’ve created. Do they have very different pain points? Are they more likely to be convinced by seeing Feature A or Feature B in a demo? Which case studies and customer stories are more aligned to their current situation?
By answering questions like these, you’ll see the main places where your scripts and email templates can vary to fit each ICP.
5. Forecast more accurately based on purchase process data
A detailed ideal customer profile should give you information on how your customers make purchase decisions.
For example, if you’re selling to a business, who is involved in the purchase process? How many people need to sign off on the deal before it’s closed? Will their legal department need to approve the contracts before they can be signed? How many meetings does it take on average to close the deal?
This information is essential for forecasting accurately.
Once you understand how your customers make purchase decisions, you’ll have a much clearer picture of how long the process will take. So, wherever a prospect is in the sales pipeline, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly when they’re going to close based on real data from other customers.
6. Define stakeholders that should be contacted
This is another way ICPs can help you shorten the sales cycle. Based on real customer data, how many stakeholders are normally involved in a deal? Which roles are generally involved?
When reps have this information from the get-go, they can work to turn each individual stakeholder into an internal champion. Then, when it comes time to close the deal, the right people are already on board.
7. Reorganize your sales process based on their purchase process
Companies normally have a specific process that they must go through before any purchase is made. When you understand that process, you can adapt how you sell to fit the way your prospects buy.
That way, there are no surprises at the end of the process.
Understanding the purchase process of your prospects and customers can actually help you shorten the sales cycle, as mentioned above.
For example, if multiple approvals are required, work to get those approvals while the legal department looks over the contracts and the procurement department releases the funds necessary for the purchase. By getting these tasks done in tandem, you can close deals faster and boost revenue.
Capitalize on customer intimacy by creating your own ICPs
It’s time to get up close and personal with your customers (while maintaining a safe social distance, of course).
When you create ideal customer profiles based on real data from your happiest customers, you’ll have a clearer view of the people you’re selling to.
These insights are invaluable when trying to scale your efforts, grow your business, and drive more revenue.
Want to get started creating your own ideal customer profiles?
Check out our interactive guide: Profiler. This kit includes a checklist to guide you through the process of creating ICPs, sample questions for customer interviews, plus examples and templates of ICPs for different kinds of businesses.