Understanding Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Part 2: Refining the ICP

In the first part of this two-part series, we defined the ‘Ideal Customer Profile’ (ICP) and how you can go about defining it. In case you missed that, you can check it out here. In the second part, we shall look at refining your ICP to be able to use it for optimising your target audience.

After you have iterated and zeroed in on an initial ICP, it is time to work on other key aspects of the go-to-market (GTM) strategy. We suggest doing the following:

1) Positioning statement: A good way to start on the GTM is to come up with a clear and concise positioning statement. This positioning statement should be able to articulate your value proposition for an ideal customer. A typical format for this would be like below 

 For (Target Customer) that (Needs/Cares about), (Company/Product/Service) is a (Category/Solution) that (Benefit). Unlike competitors,(Company/Product/Service) is (Unique Differentiator) 

           Examples of positioning statements:

    • Avis: For business people who rent cars, Avis is the company that will provide the best service because the employees own the company.
    • Amazon: For consumers who want to purchase a wide range of products online with quick delivery, Amazon provides a one-stop online shopping site. Amazon sets itself apart from other online retailers with its customer obsession, passion for innovation, and commitment to operational excellence.


Another very good way to think about this is to have an analogy positioning. This is when you tether your values with another successful/iconic brand and make the value proposition very easy to understand.

 For eg. Superhuman: Tesla for e-mails

2) Building user/buyer personas and creating personalized messaging:While B2C messaging is often personalised, It is very easy to forget sometimes that even B2B customers are humans, and the messaging needs to connect with them on a personal level to make a buying decision. This is where building personas (user/buyer) becomes important. What you want to be able to do is identify more things about your customers beyond the segmentation of ICP. You are looking for subtle but important things like ‘What key value are they really looking for?’, ‘What emotional trigger really makes them take a decision?’, ‘Do they have any cognitive biases?’, etc.

Identifying and enhancing your customer’s human behavioral traits and fleshing them out as personas such as a ‘Sales Stuart’ who is looking for the best price or ‘Developer Dave’ hunting for optimum productivity can help you sharpen the messaging and channels strategy. Continue iterating on these personas as and when you collect more information and data.

Validating and reiterating the ICP
As the business progresses and you add customers, you should continue periodically validating and reiterating the ICP. This can be done by:

  1. Looking through your customer segment mix
  2. Looking through metrics/indicators/evidence of value derivation by different segments
  3. Reiterating the ICP

A few ways to measure the value derivation would be:

  1. Usage/Engagement metrics:How are different segments using/adopting the product
  2. Customer retention/churn data:Segment-wise customer churn or retention data. This directly translates to the Lifetime value of the customer
  3. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)/Net Promoter Score (NPS) data:Segmented NPS/CSAT data gives a lot of insights into the ICP segments.
  4. Sales data: Insights on segment-wise Sales cycles and conversions also give indications on the ICP.


Another way of visualizing this would be to break up personas through usage patterns – engagement and retention metrics:

Segments Engagement/Usage Metrics Retention Metrics CSAT/NPS Sales Cycles/Conversion
Segment 1        
Segment  2        


The ideal customer group should be doing much better compared to other segments and should have average metrics on most of the above KPIs. If that is not the case, it is time to reiterate the ICP.


Aligning Efforts towards ICP

Once you have clarity on the ICP, it is important that you make maximum efforts towards that segment. The following questions help in that direction:

  1. What percentage of your customer base (by numbers and revenue) is your ICP?
  2. What are some things that you have done/ are going to do to strengthen the value proposition towards your ICP?
  3. How are you planning to align your Sales and Marketing efforts towards the core customer group? 


Firing your customer

Firing your customer is perhaps as important as, if not more important than defining your core customer. The following questions will help you understand how focused your organization is. It is important that you let go of the customers who are far away from your ICP segment.

  1. Which customers have you fired in the last months and why?
  2. Which customers (Non-ICP) are you firing in the next 6 months?



Thus, clearly defining your ICP and being regular with this exercise can do wonders for the efficiency of your business by helping you reach the right consumers with the right messaging. The important point to note here is that this exercise is not a one-time effort and does require constant updating to maximise your business’ output.

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