February 21, 2024


one of the The biggest mistake a startup can make in the early stages is not identifying their ideal customer persona (ICP). It’s totally sensible, though, because all your hard work in this growth phase is usually spent finding product-market fit and acquiring whoever and anything that walks through your front door.

By identifying your ICP first, you’ll discover product-market fit more quickly and identify the right customers to sell to.

First, an ICP is just a description of your client base – whether they’re a creative agency with 10+ employees, a company with 100+ employees, or both.

Startups that use ICPs tend to generate more, higher quality leads and are able to shorten sales cycles. Ideally, you’ve identified a few ICPs, but no more than 5, as this spreads out the team’s work.

To start leveraging ICPs in growth marketing, we’ll dive into what first helps identify ICPs effectively, and then examine how their newfound segments can be used.

Identify your ICP

I really like surveys that measure Net Promoter Score and overall customer feedback, but I don’t think these are the best formats for identifying ICPs. In the early days of your business, you should talk to every customer you can to better identify your ICP.

By first identifying your ideal customer personas, you’ll discover product-market fit faster and identify the right people to sell to.

Capturing this information requires more than simple multiple-choice answers or ranking scores from 1-10. Rest assured, I’ve created a three-tier approach (conveniently called ICP!) to guide the conversation and question topics you should use with your clients:

  • I: Individual (e.g. age, gender, etc.)
  • C: current solution
  • P: pain point

When talking to customers, if you follow the general principle of understanding pain points and what the ideal solution looks like for them, you will have a good idea of ​​which ICP they belong to. Instead of providing a general script for conversations with customers (which can often feel robotic), I’ve listed a few questions that fall into each category:

personal

  • What is your age range?
  • what is your gender
  • What is your occupation or position?

current solution

  • What are you currently using to solve this problem?
  • How long have you been using your current solution?
  • What do you like/dislike about the current solution?

Pain points