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ICP for Sales: The Complete Guide

ICP for Sales: The Complete Guide

Chetna Sabharwal
Chetna Sabharwal
January 17, 2023
5 min read

Do you often wonder how to break into new markets? 

Are you having a hard time reaching sales targets with your current customers? 

Do you wonder how some sales people always seem to catch the right prospect? Are you wondering what their secret is? 

Is this you?

Well, their secret is actually not a secret at all. Becoming a good salesperson is actually about understanding your prospect’s needs, wants, and pain points and then crafting a sales pitch that ties those with your product. One of the best methods to figure this out is to use an ICP or ideal customer profile.

So, what is an ICP?

ICP or ideal customer profile is your blueprint for finding the best customers. What does that mean? Isn't any sale good for your business?

Not necessarily. 

When you target prospects that are not a good fit, they might not derive proper value from your product. This might translate to high churn rates. You could also lose out on loyal customers because you aren’t prioritizing right. 

If you take a good look at your top 100 customers, you'd find that your top-paying, long-standing customers share some (a lot of) common ground. This could include revenue, company size, industries, job title, and demographics.

But why does it matter? Because when you know who your ideal customer is, you can focus your sales and marketing efforts on reaching them. You'll know what kind of message to put out there, what channels to use to reach them, and what kind of offer will appeal to them.

It's not just your marketing strategy or your sales team that uses ICP. Your entire sales strategy needs to be inspired by who your ideal customer is. This shouldn't really come as a surprise. Aligning your business with your ideal customer's business goals and solving their pain points will help you bring big wins home. It makes sense to share ideal customer profiles with your colleagues in product and marketing teams, or to invite their inputs as you create your ICPs. 

Okay, but who is this 'ideal customer'?

In simple terms, your ideal customer is someone you want to keep doing business with. They need your service and they are willing to pay for it. They fit perfectly with your business' demographics, size, location, and values. Think of your ideal customer as your business' match made in heaven.

Is ICP the same as buyer persona?

Not really. 

A buyer persona is a general representation of an ideal customer while ICP refers to specific criteria that must be met in order for a customer to be considered an ideal candidate for your product or service. 

Let's say you sell software that helps small businesses manage their finances. Your buyer persona might be "Samantha," a 28-year-old business owner with a tight budget who is looking for an easy-to-use solution to help her keep track of her expenses. On the other hand, your ICP might include the buyer persona and facts like: 

  • She is in a geographic region that you service. 
  • She has at least 10 employees.
  • Her startup draws revenue of $100,000 per month. 
  • She is in the market for new software within the next 6 months.

At the heart of it, buyer persona allows you to see the person making purchasing decisions as a human being. You create a buyer persona when you want to empathize with your target audience to tailor solutions, messaging, and marketing efforts. You take a note of the job title, revenue and ideal pricing to identify the key stakeholders for your ICP. In the example above, Samantha is the decision maker in her company since she is the business owner. 

You need both sets of descriptions to nurture the right leads. 

That's right

Top benefits of having an ICP

Creating a sales ICP will help you realize your true business potential. And, no, that is not an exaggeration. ICP is literally the primary focus of all of your business decisions, from who you do business with to how you craft your messaging. An ICP in B2B SaaS sales can help you grow in more ways than one. 

Having an ICP delivers a bundle of strong benefits, such as: 

Acing targeted sales and marketing plans

Having an ICP allows sales and marketing teams to be laser-focused with your marketing strategy and budget. You'll know exactly who you're targeting. This means that you can align messaging and create campaigns that resonate with existing customers and potential customers. This translates to higher response and conversion rates.

Validating your market research

ICPs can be used to validate market research findings or gain new market insights. That's because you'll be targeting companies that are actually in your target market, rather than wasting time on companies that don't fit the profile.

Boosting lead generation

An ICP in sales can help you generate more targeted leads. This means that you’ll spend less time and money chasing down dead-end leads and more time closing deals with high-quality prospects.

It's a done deal!

Increasing customer lifetime value

Developing an ICP can help you achieve a higher CLV by allowing you to focus your efforts on acquiring more customers like those who are already generating significant value for your business. In other words, rather than trying to sell to everyone, you can focus on targeting those who are most likely to become long-term, high-value customers. 

This not only saves you time and money in the acquisition process, but also increases the chances that each new customer will stick around longer and continue doing business with you. Like they say, “quality over quantity”.

So, how do you create an ICP for your business?

Know your current customer base.

Start by understanding who your existing customers are and what they have in common. This will give you a good starting point for defining your ideal customer profile.

Define your ideal customer

Start by brainstorming a list of potential customers. This could be anyone from solo-preneurs and startups, to large enterprises. Once you have a good mix of potential customers, start narrowing them down based on certain criteria. If you are a B2B player, start building your ICP using these metrics-

The size of the company (firmographics): Is your ideal customer a small business or a large enterprise?

The industry: What industry is your ideal customer in? What type of company is it?

The location: Where is your target customer located?

The budget: What is your ideal customer's budget for your product or service? Does it match with your financial/revenue goals?

The decision makers: Who are the decision makers at your ideal customer company?

The buying process: What does the typical buying process look like at your ideal customer company?

What drives a purchase at your ideal customer company?

Create a buyer persona

Once you've defined who your target customer is, it's time to create a buyer persona. This is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data and research. By creating a buyer persona, you'll be able to better understand and target your ideal customer.

Create an outreach strategy

Once you have identified your ICP, you need to create a strategy for reaching out to them. This may include targeted content marketing, account-based marketing (ABM), or other personalized approaches.

So there you have it – a complete guide to Ideal Customer Profile and how you can use it to engage with the right prospects. Keep in mind that your ICP will evolve over time as you learn more about your ideal customers.  

Wingman helps you win more ideal customers

Your sales reps when they have Wingman


Wingman helps you build thorough ICPs and buyer personas by putting all the information from your customer interactions in one place. A pre-call summary also gives you vital customer insights that can help you build a sales pitch that resonates with them. 

Once you have your ideal customer on call, Wingman helps you actually win them over. Live, contextual cues tell you exactly when to respond to a pain point with a product feature or service recommendation. Monologue alerts ensure you’re letting the prospect share their point of view. At-risk deal alerts let sales managers know when pricing isn’t discussed and competitor mentions are left hanging.

At the end of the day, sales leaders want ICPs in place to run more efficient sales. But bringing efficiency to your salesforce takes more than just ICPs. It takes a Wingman. Wingman helps you develop on-point sales targets and forecasts with call success metrics and call volumes. It helps you review calls in half the time with intelligent call recordings (that you can speed up to 2x), summaries, and annotated transcripts. It also lets you onboard quicker because you can set up game tapes that allow newbies to learn from your team’s star sellers. 

Win more customers and more sales revenue with Wingman? Book your free demo today!

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