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Potential client qualification and ideal customer profile (ICP)

If someone spoke at a meeting about the importance of qualifying your organization’s leaders, would you know what they were talking about? Qualifying your prospects before entering the funnel is just as important as the sales process itself, so you can bring in companies that are in your Ideal Buyer Profile (ICP). In this article, we’ll take a closer look at lead qualification and what ICP is, how to recognize it, and why it can help your business sell more.

How the qualification of a potential client works

The concept of lead qualification consists of segmenting your potential audience to understand which people are most likely to buy from your company, or potential customers. This process automatically creates better business opportunities and greatly optimizes the time of your sales team, without wasting time on leads that are not ready to convert.

In the framework of the inbound methodology, qualification begins with the generation of potential clients. The type of material you offer visitors before they become potential customers affects the quality of your base. As you develop specific materials aimed at the doubts and objections of your buyer persona, or your ideal customer, the leads generated are likely to be more qualified, since they have consumed content targeted to their needs.

Qualifying each prospect in your database is key to defining how each one will work within your strategy. In the end, you need to determine whether the prospect needs to be reworked by marketing, nurtured, targeted for immediate commercial action, or simply disqualified. This is a strategic way of assessing your real chances of making a sale at this point, and it also creates an opportunity to close other negotiations over time, making the dynamic between the company and potential customers very close. Communication becomes more direct and the results are satisfactory for both parties involved.

The fundamental characteristics for determining whether or not a potential client is suitable are: need, suitability, budget, authority and time.

  • Need – Defining whether the potential customer has a problem/pain that your products/services can solve is the most important factor.
  • Adequacy – Can your company meet that potential customer? He may seem like the perfect prospect, but he’ll never be a customer if he’s not the right fit.
  • Budget – You need to inform your base how much your solution costs. Your potential clients need to know if they have enough budget to become a customer.
  • Authority – Does your potential client have the decision-making power to become a customer? Especially in the B2B market, some decisions can only be made by higher positions in the company’s hierarchy.
  • time – Identifying the timing of your lead is key to understanding what actions to take. There are highly qualified prospects who are not yet ready to become customers.

With these definitions in mind, you need to develop an effective qualification method for your company. Counting on an automated qualification tool, which stores data on each potential client, making it available to the entire team and marking the result. Based on the results, your team will be able to define what to do with that lead. It is very important to have a qualification method and always look for new ways to improve this process. Thus, the marketing team can define the focus of their strategies. In addition, the sales team must invest time only in those prospects who can become customers. This continuously increases the conversion of potential customers into customers and reduces costs.

During prospecting, it is possible to capture a large amount of data about the customer. In the qualification, it is necessary to deepen the knowledge about the potential customer in order to decide what is the best way forward and which automation list this potential customer will enter. For example, if he’s already downloaded e-books and clicked on newsletter materials, it might be time to offer a discount on the product.

It will be necessary to manage those first stages of the sales funnel. CRM is the best resource for that. This is because as you progress through the funnel, the lead becomes the lead. That’s where approaches will start, when you’re looking for more advanced information — trying to follow up — or even working a little harder on your qualification. When you choose a good CRM software, all advances are automatically recorded. Data is archived in one place, which can be accessed by both sales and marketing teams. In this phase, the gaps we talked about will be filled, based on the data provided by the manager.

From there, lead scoring is generated, another essential resource. With it, you will be able to identify – quickly and completely visually – the relevant information about the leading result. This will provide the best contacts to the sales team. In addition, segmentation becomes simpler and marketing actions more precise.

If it’s not yet the ideal time to take the next step, you may need to do more research into qualifications and nurturing sources, as I mentioned earlier.

In addition, it is important to have the help of a lead tracker, a tool that can track everything the lead does in relation to the company. That way, you know about every interaction, from the first contact to the moment he closes the purchase. This can be used strategically to your advantage. Lead Tracker helps, among other things, adjust your overall sales strategy, identify the most valuable content offered, identify ROI trends for those materials, verify the actual path a prospect takes to purchase, and a new call to action.

A potential client meets the requirements to become a customer. This is a special moment in the qualification process. The faster the commercial contact, the higher the probability of conversion. In order for the lead to be qualified in the right way, and the actions to give excellent results, it is very important to have a defined integration of marketing and advertising. One of the most common mistakes most companies make is insufficient integration of these sectors. The qualification process loses value if there is no good communication between the marketing and commercial teams. The result of this alignment is: greater simplicity of ROI analysis of marketing and commercial actions, in order to propose continuous improvements.

Without a well-done lead qualification, your ROI is very likely not good. There is a real cost to not having a lead qualification method and you don’t have to suffer the consequences.

What is ICP and why is it so important to sales?

ICP is an acronym for Ideal Customer Profile. This is a representative profile of key customers on which the company should focus its prospecting efforts in order to have more sales results.

More than tracking the target audience for campaigns or defining a fictitious persona, ICP more objectively indicates on which profile of potential customers we should focus our approach and negotiation efforts. The idea is to find, capture, approach and negotiate with those who really have a chance of becoming customers, rather than wasting time with potential customers who are not yet ready to consider buying. Focusing your sales efforts on activities that can really increase your conversion rate makes perfect sense in this context, and that’s exactly what ICP allows you to do.

By determining the profile of an organization’s ideal customer, it is possible to outline an approach and negotiation strategies that are more focused on the potential customer and, therefore, much more assertive. In addition, it is a way of aligning the efforts of different teams within the company – it will be easier and more tangible for the marketing team to conduct more accurate and qualified prospecting and thus send better opportunities to sales representatives. This makes it possible to get the most out of the quality and quantity of captured potential customers, while optimizing conversion rates throughout the entire sales funnel. What matters is increasing sales efficiency and bringing more revenue to your company.

Consider these benefits of defining an ideal customer profile (ICP) for your organization:

  • Increased efficiency in marketing and sales
  • Shorter sales cycles
  • Higher conversion rates
  • expense reduction
  • Higher average sales ticket

Defining an ICP basically consists of identifying the essential characteristics of a group of key customers, for example:

  1. Analyze the characteristics of your main customers – the data your company already has is an incredible source of information and insight to identify your ideal customer profile.
  2. Identify clients with the best return on investment (ROI) – ideally, analyze the portfolio of clients and identify the main characteristics of those that bring the best return on investment in the overall picture.

It does not make sense, for example, to evaluate only contracts of higher value if these contracts are from customers with cases of non-payment or who have reported several complaints over time. The differential for determining the ICP is also the analysis of the results of satisfaction surveys. Surveys such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) show clients who can become business promoters and recommend services to other potential clients. And finally, define the profile of the ideal customerdirect all sales and communications to this profile.

To define ICP when you do not yet have a customer base to analyze, such as start-up companies, it will be necessary to make hypotheses. The definition of ICP, in these cases, will come from the intended customers – taking into account the main customers of potential competitors. As the customer base increases, it will be necessary to analyze the data and review the previously identified ICP, in order to understand whether the target customers are indeed part of the ideal profile for the business.

André Vasconcellos is the CEO of SalesRush

The post Lead Qualification and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) appeared first on DNEWS.

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