How to define your ideal customer profile (ICP): framework and template

    By defining an ideal customer profile you can align sales and marketing efforts and position your product or service more clearly in the market.


    Last Updated: March 29, 2024

     by Lari Numminen.

    An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a detailed description of a fictitious company or entity that represents the type of customer that gets the most benefit from your product or service.

    This profile has become increasingly popular in the field of account based marketing and sales, as it helps businesses focus their go-to-market efforts on leads that are most likely to convert into high-value customers.

    Why define an ideal customer profile?

    Creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a strategic approach to understanding the very best customers that your company can serve. Unlike buyer personas, which may detail out semi-fictional representations of your broader audience, an ICP sharpens the focus primarily on those customers who provide the most value to your company.

    Not only does an ICP lay out a clear archetype of whom your sales and marketing should be targeting, but it also aligns sales and marketing efforts to focus on high-quality leads that are more likely to convert, have a greater customer lifetime value, and resonate with the product or service offerings.

    How to create an ICP framework

    To construct an ICP, businesses typically use a framework that includes several dimensions of data. Each provides insight into different facets of what makes the ultimate client company most likely to benefit from your product or service.

    The ICP framework can include dimensions such as:

    • Company size and revenue: for example, companies with 500 or more employees, or revenue above €100 million.
    • Industry and type: for example, manufacturing or service businesses, pharmaceutical companies, retailers.
    • Geography: Companies with a single geographic presence or multinational companies.
    • Organizational complexity: for example diversified companies with many business units or government organizations.
    • Technological maturity: this could be for example companies with a lot of legacy IT systems, or modern scale-ups built on cloud-based technology.

    The difference between ICP and buyer persona

    While both tools can be used to improve the effectiveness of marketing strategies and sales pitches, the ICP focuses on companies (in a B2B context) that are the best fit for your product/service, often characterized by size, budget, or need. 

    Buyer personas, on the other hand, are more detailed and personalized on the decision maker. They can include personal preferences, behavioral tendencies, and may represent different roles within or outside of a company that might interact with your brand. In essence, buyer personas offer texture to your audience understanding, while the ICP zeroes in on the highest potential accounts.

    How ICP aligns B2B marketing and sales efforts

    The ICP represents a unified customer target that both sales and marketing departments pursue. It ensures that marketing efforts are not wasted on leads that sales cannot close and conversely, that sales efforts are concentrated on leads that have been nurtured and scored as high-value prospects.

    Alignment comes from a shared understanding of which customer accounts are prioritized and why. When both departments work from the same ICP, marketing strategies can be tailored to generate demand and preference among this group, while sales strategies can be customized to address the specific pain points and values that the ICP reflects.

    Marketing content, sales pitches, and even product development can reflect the insights gained from a well-constructed ICP. It streamlines cross-department efforts, increases efficiency in lead generation and conversion, and ultimately aims for acquiring and retaining customers that offer the most long-term value to the company.

    Template to create your own ICP for B2B sales

    When defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in B2B, it’s important to consider various dimensions that accurately define who your absolute ideal client is.

    You can use this template to help you identify and understand the most valuable customers for your business.

    1. Basic Information

    • Industry: The specific sector or industry the company operates within.
    • Size: The company’s size in terms of number of employees or annual revenue.
    • Location: Geographic location or region where the company operates.

    2. Firmographics

    • Revenue: The company’s annual revenue range.
    • Growth rate: Year-over-year growth rate.
    • Market share: The company's share within its industry.
    • Type: Type of company (e.g., public, private, family-owned).

    3. Decision Makers

    • Titles: Job titles of key decision makers and influencers.
    • Roles: Their roles in the purchasing process.
    • Channels: Preferred communication channels (e.g., email, phone, in-person).

    4. Technographics

    • Current solutions: Technologies the company currently uses.
    • Pain points: Limitations or issues with current technological solutions.
    • Preferences: Desired features or technologies the company prefers.

    5. Psychographics

    • Values: The company’s core values and culture.
    • Goals: Short-term and long-term goals of the company.
    • Challenges: Key challenges the company is facing.

    6. Behavioral

    • Buying behavior: How the company makes purchase decisions and their buying cycle.
    • Usage: How the company uses similar products or services.
    • Loyalty: Factors that contribute to brand loyalty and retention.

    7. Needs and Pain Points

    • Needs: Specific needs that your product or service fulfills for the customer.
    • Pain points: Problems that your product or service solves for the customer.

    8. Legal and Compliance

    • Regulations: Any specific regulations that impact the customer’s business operations.
    • Compliance: Compliance requirements and concerns relevant to the customer.


    An Ideal Customer Profile is a useful tool as it summarizes  the characteristics of their most valuable customers, guiding strategic decisions across marketing, sales, product development, and customer service. By understanding who benefits most from their offerings, companies can tailor their messaging, prioritize product features, align sales efforts, and ultimately, drive more efficient and effective business growth.

    However, markets, technologies, and customer needs are not static; they evolve. Regular revision of the ICP is crucial to ensure it remains aligned with the current market environment and the company’s strategic direction. This proactive approach ensures that resources are always focused on engaging and satisfying the most relevant and impactful customer segments.

    Lari Rounded 200x200

    About the author

    As a growth advisor I help B2B and SaaS companies accelerate organic growth. As a CMO I was able to 22x organic traffic within a year using generative AI in SEO. Could I help you achieve superhuman growth?