The 5 Dimensions of an ICP (That Most Companies Miss)


It’s all about the leads.

Success in sales hinges on numerous elements, but ultimately, the quality of the leads you pursue is paramount.

Are these leads representative of companies that genuinely require your product and have the potential to transform into satisfied customers? Or are you wasting your time on leads that, in reality, are not a suitable match?

You can determine this by crafting a robust Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). ICP has become a familiar acronym to most sales managers who can probably recite it in their sleep.

However, for many businesses, the ICP remains too simplistic, relying on a limited set of standard criteria. While these aren’t inherently incorrect, they don’t delve deeply enough to be truly effective in day-to-day sales operations.

In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to the 5 dimensions that can enrich your ICP, providing a more nuanced and actionable understanding of your customers.

What is an ICP and Why Does it Matter?

An Ideal Customer Profile is essentially a detailed description of the type of customer who derives maximum value from your product or service and is the focal point of your sales efforts.

The aim of defining an ICP is to paint a picture of the types of companies that both your marketing and sales teams should target. It serves as a benchmark for prioritizing your messaging and defines the types of leads sales teams should engage with.

Articulating your ICP can be instrumental in achieving internal alignment regarding who your crucial customers are and how the product should be pitched to them. However, its full potential is realized only when you apply it in your prospecting efforts.

And here lies the area where many ICP descriptions fall short.

A standard ICP won’t cut it

When you read most descriptions of what an ICP should entail, the list goes something like this:

  • Geography
  • Industry sector
  • Number of employees

This is a decent starting point, as it helps narrow down the field.

However, within these leads, you will still have a lot of companies that, for various reasons, are unlikely to become happy customers.

For some companies, the ICP really is super simple and consists of just a couple of parameters but in most cases, you will need to add more layers and dimensions to use the ICP effectively in identifying the ideal leads you wish to engage with.

The 5 ICP Dimensions You’re Missing

1. Pain Points and Ambitions

Let’s start with the softer aspects. It’s crucial to understand the primary challenges your customers face. How do they manifest and what impact do they have left unaddressed? Also, envision their goals and ambitions. This understanding is vital to communicate the value of your product in a way that aligns with their objectives.

It’s not always easy to translate these diffuse parameters into more tangible things that you can go out and find information about to identify the right leads. However, it’s still very important to have an understanding of it because you need to use this insight in your sales dialogue.

Sometimes, though, it can be broken down into more tangible terms. For example, this could translate into rapid growth in headcount or revenue combined with the fact that they don’t have a professional ticketing system installed on their website. Now you have something specific to look for when finding new leads.

2. Organization

The structure of a customer’s organization is often a crucial dimension. This could be whether the company has specific departments or specific roles.

For example, if your product is GDPR or compliance software, you will probably want to target companies with specific departments or roles related to compliance as this is a strong indicator of their recognition of this need.

Additionally, aspects like the size of a particular department within a company can define a good fit. For instance, an HR department with 10 employees might have a greater need for a tool to streamline processes compared to a smaller department.

3. Technology

Particularly for SaaS companies, understanding the technological landscape in which customers operate is important. Maybe your product is an ideal substitute for a specific technology currently in use by the customer. Or perhaps it fits well with businesses using certain technologies, like Shopify for webshops.

The techstack can also indicate the customer’s maturity level, relevant if you’re looking for customers already actively addressing the problem your product solves.

4. Online Presence

A company’s online presence can reveal a lot about its maturity and ambitions.

For instance, if your product is aimed at online stores, it might not be equally relevant to all. It could be more suitable for webshops with certain metrics, such as over 10,000 visitors per month or more than 200 products listed. You might also look for businesses actively investing in paid advertising or with a certain number of Instagram followers. This is all available information that can help refine your ICP.

5. Financial Metrics

Considering financial parameters also often makes sense. Publicly available financial statements can provide insights into whether a prospect has the potential to be a good customer. Is it a growing company likely to invest in further growth? Or do their financials indicate a need to cut back on expenses? These insights can also give you an idea of the company’s ability and readiness to buy.

Tailoring Your ICP to Fit Your Business

What your ICP should look like and the aspects you emphasize are, of course, entirely dependent on your product and strategy.

The five parameters outlined above may not all be relevant to you, but selecting those that add significant depth to your ideal customer profile will refine your segmentation to such an extent that you’ll be left with leads that are a perfect fit for your product.

This approach ensures your sales and marketing efforts are not just casting a wide net, but rather fishing with precision, targeting those who are most likely to become valuable customers.