So often we do all this work to create an ideal customer profile to grow our startup in white-boarding plans and creating a strategy, but often it goes on to collect dust and the strategy gets lost in execution.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the three things you can do to implement your Ideal Customer Profile in B2B, align your team, mobilize it, and drive towards product market fit, traction and the next stage of growth for your startup:
- Codify into a Dream 100
- Mobilize with Numbers and Measures
- Incorporate Your ICP into your Sales Compensation Plan
Peter Drucker is often attributed to saying what gets measured actually gets managed. Rumor has it Peter Drucker never said this but Harvard Business Review quotes it all the time.
It’s a good proverb and I believe in it. So you’ve got this crazy awesome beautiful ideal customer profile and now you’re like oh my god this is going to change everything and drive for the next stage of growth.
The question is how do you actually implement it?
I’m going to walk you through the three things you can do to actually implement your ICP to align your team.
I’ve used these three techniques in building out ToutApp which I took from 0 to 7 million ARR and then sold to Marketo. There, I joined as the SVP of strategy and we used these three techniques and more to use an ICP to drive growth to drive returns and it led to a 4.7 billion dollar exit to Adobe within two years.
Step #1: Codify Your Dream 100
Take your ICP and codify it into what I call your dream 100.
You might have heard about it before. The dream 100 is your dream 100 list of customers except they’re actually in your ICP.
The way it works is you actually scour the internet, scour data sources, and build out your CRM and your database with company info: emails, phone numbers and triggers so that you have a concrete list of companies and people in those companies to actually go after.
You give access to that kind of database that kind of information to marketing, sales, yourself and everything changes because now there’s something actionable and tangible. An actual group of contacts to follow from your ICP.
That will change everything around aligning your entire team.
If you don’t quite know how to build an ICP be sure to watch this video where I explain the three most misunderstood things about an ICP, and this video which explains exactly how to build an ICP.
Once you have your ICP and you’ve built out your dream 100 list, and have it in a database the next step is to mobilize yourself with actual numbers and measures.
Step #2: Mobilize with Numbers and Measures
What you want to do is create a report that actually measures ICP versus non ICP. You can look at your prior data if you have data and you want to identify all the deals you closed and how many of them would fall into your ICP versus not your ICP. Then you can look ahead and track it over time when you create a report that measures:
- Revenue generated within your ICP versus outside of your ICP
- Wind rates in your ICP versus outside of your ICP
- ACV average contract value inside your ICP vs. outside of your ICP
- Time to close a deal inside of your ICP versus outside of your ICP
Whenever you are within the ICP (your sweet spot) everything is higher. Win rates were higher and the time to close deals was shorter.
If you can actually measure this going forward you can reinforce the brilliance of your ICP which you and I know is brilliant but you’ll actually prove it. If you have prior data and you can look at the deals that you’ve already closed and map it against whether it’s non ICP versus ICP and highlight those critical factors.
Everyone will start to online or on the ICP because it’ll become that much clearer that this ICP is actually brilliant and it’ll rise all tides and actually help you get to the next stage of growth that much faster.
Step #3: Optimize Your Comp Plan
I didn’t do this ToutApp but we did it at Marketo. It may be a little controversial or a little scary with your board but it’s brilliant and it works I promise you.
What you can do is you can start to optimize your comp plan so when they go after a deal in the ICP the comp and the commission is higher. When they go after a deal in the non ICP the commission is lower.
Let me explain. . .
I know this is kind of blossomy and kind of crazy when an ICP is correct and it works. Everything is better for your business, your win rates are higher, your ACV your deal sizes are bigger, time to close the deal is shorter; everything is better.
What that means is you actually have a strategy that is an efficient use of resources which means you want more and more people going to the ICP.
I know there are always these other attractive deals. These things that look good but you know it’s not in your sweet spot and humans will be humans. Sometimes they’ll go after the easier deal not in a sweet spot. Sometimes they’ll go after a bigger deal which you’ll never win. It’s not in your sweet spot but it feels attractive.
When you align everything to the comp plan and you say look, we believe in our ICP so much and we have the metrics to prove it, the strategy defined, the database built, and we’ll also give you more commission.
All of a sudden it’s like okay is that an ICP deal or non ICP deal because if it’s not an ICP deal I make less money as a rep.
As a marketer you can tie it to commission basically tie it to the comp plan and you align your entire company around it so to recap once you have your brilliant ICP. Just be aware of these common misconceptions.
When you actually build out an ideal customer profile everything becomes easier. That’s why it’s such a powerful growth strategy tool.
Are you starting to see how an ICP is not just some sort of like frou-frou strategy document that collects dust, but something you can actually mobilize? You can implement it. You can codify it, measure it, and align your entire team around it to drive growth. If you need more clarity, check out the video below which covers these steps in detail.
ICP is just one of the growth strategy tools that I love. There are five other growth strategy tools that I really care about. I’ve used them all in SaaS businesses to help them grow.
If you want to learn more about those, I created a five-part startup strategy guide. It’s completely free and easy to consume. It will help you create a one-page strategy document.