How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile And Find Clients

Mia Rossman
6 min readSep 24, 2018

A little while ago I read Steli Efti’s blog where he points out how many businesses struggle to reach their sales goals simply because they haven’t nailed their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) yet. I couldn’t agree more. It seems like a simple thing that most tend to overlook. Don’t be that person. Let me tell you how in my own practice at my company, we developed an ICP and identified accounts that became high-value clients.

What is an Ideal Customer Profile?

In essence, An Ideal Customer Profile defines the firmographic, environmental and behavioral attributes of accounts, expected to become the company’s most valuable customers. According to Topo Blog, ICPs help to focus on scalable and repeatable strategies and tactics to engage and convert top accounts. It gives a direction to everything that you do: from the features of your product to your marketing message.

Don’t confuse Ideal Customer Profile with the term “target customer” though. ICP focuses on the most valuable prospects who are most likely to buy, whereas “target customer” is often used to describe any company that might buy a product or service. Alright, now we know what and ICP is, let’s jump into developing your ICP.

Step 1: Gather Data on Your Existing Clients

The best place to start building your ICP is to look at your current client database. Identify which clients bring the most value to you and gather as much information about them as possible. I’m talking about your top clients, who have used your product, benefited from it and are simply amazed by you.

These are some critical questions to consider here:

• What did the client acquisition cost?

• How much revenue did they pull in?

• How many referrals did you get from them?

• What is the location, size of the company, stage of the business, etc.?

The list of questions that you should be asking is much longer, and I’ll get to it a bit later, but now, to give you an idea of how the outcome of this part could look like, check the following examples by Sales Hacker:

• 0–10 employees — CEO. He’ll be the decision maker in most cases unless they have co-founders in the vertical you are selling into (CTO for Product, CMO for Marketing) or have already hired experienced VPs.

• 10–50 employees — VP of product value. (Marketing, Sales Productivity, Engineering)

• 50–500 employees — specialized role in product value. (Field Marketing, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing)

• More than 500 employees — regional specialized role in product value. (East Coast X, North America X, New York City)

Step 2: Figure Out What Your Best Clients Have in Common

Look for overlapping information. We’re talking about data points such as company’s size, yearly revenue, buying patterns, and more. It’s pretty well-known that numbers work best, but in my own practice, it’s most useful to speak with people who work in these companies and learn the real stories behind the implementation and the use of your product or service.

Step 3: Put Your ICP on Paper

Once you start seeing the pattern connecting your best clients, start composing your ICP.

The general rule of thumb is to find a niche and focus on it.

As Alex Hisaka wrote in her article:

“When it comes to purchasing, no client wants a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none.”

According to her, B2B sales is all about expertise in your field, not a general awareness of a broad range of topics, and because of this, your ICP has to be targeted and focused on an industry where you can make an impact.

Discover Companies That Fit Your ICP

So, now that you are finished with creating your ICP, start acting on it. Strat identifying companies that match it, find decision makers, and reach out to them with a relevant and personalized offer. You may or may not know that my company, Oxyleads, have a platform that can help you out here (a shameless plug). Of course, I’ll be showing how this can be done on our tool, but you can try other services and compare them with Oxyleads.

Alright, so to do this, you’ll need to extract specific information from your ICP description, namely, specific data points and set them up as filters in a business data platform.

For example:

• Industry: Retail

• Country: USA

• Revenue: up to 100M

• Funding received: any

By putting these filters in the business data platform we find more 10.700 companies that fit our hypothetical ICP.

If a list feels too long, add other search criteria that correspond to your Ideal Customer Profile.

Find Decision Makers

As we’ve learned before, outbound always starts with companies. The next step is to identify decision makers.

In the Oxyleads business data platform, you can click on the tab “Persons” and get a list of people working in the companies that you’ve identified as your potential clients. In our example, the contact information of 223.200 people is available.

To find decision makers and to get a more targeted lead list, at least one additional search criteria has to be added. Let’s say, that while creating our ICP we’ve found out that the CEO is a decision maker, and we can add this information to our search.

Keep in mind that the same position can be called in different ways and while looking for

potential clients try to think about other ways to name the same job. I’ve covered this in our Oxyleads blog post “How to Get More B2B Leads Using “Position Title” Search.”

By typing a position name in the “Position keywords” field, you’ll get some suggestions that you can also use to get better search results:

Now, when we added a position title, we can narrow down our list up to 836 decision makers whose email addresses we can generate.

So, to sum up, make an effort and create the Ideal Customer Profile. Use it to discover new markets, identify potential clients, and perhaps give a go at our product. It may help you out!



Mia Rossman

A CMO at that pours hot water over ground coffee and calls it a good cup.