One of the most critical decisions you can make for your business is your target audience. Before you even start to develop the concept behind your venture -- and this is especially true for the subscription-based model used by SaaS businesses -- it is an absolute necessity to know who your customers are. Such an understanding early on in your business will guide the many decisions ahead and make it that much easier to connect with your customer base.
Yet, despite this fact, many companies fail to effectively develop an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), and as a result, they are missing out on the opportunity to build their business with a sturdy foundation and foster growth from the start. Even if you’re not familiar with an Ideal Customer Profile, don’t worry because today’s topic will get you up to speed in no time. Let’s delve into one of the most important elements in ensuring the long-term success of your SaaS business.
Meet Your Ideal Customer
As the name implies, an Ideal Customer Profile aims to develop a keen understanding regarding who your SaaS business aims to serve and, by extension, how you can best meet their needs. Oftentimes, this is easier said than done, and many businesses simply forge ahead without any clear knowledge of their Ideal Customer and pay the price as a result. The details will vary greatly from one business to the next, but there are some simple steps you can use to get started.
First, you need a framework to help refine the type of customer you’re targeting. You may very well be aiming for multiple demographics, and in that case, it’s wise to repeat the process to identify each group you believe your product or service benefits and to establish the inherent value therein. These steps will reveal your Ideal Customer, making it easier for you to proceed with testing to confirm that your conclusion is accurate. Sales cycles, NPS scores and other metrics can go a long way toward confirming your Ideal Customer.
Who Are You Marketing To?
Once you have a clear vision of your Ideal Customer, you can then use this knowledge to guide your marketing strategy accordingly. With a better idea of who your target audience is, you’ll be prepared to reach them wherever they are and customize your marketing efforts to their needs. You may even opt to develop buyer personas -- a more personalized approach to describing the individuals who would be interested in your product -- to take your Ideal Customer Profile a step further.
Even though focusing so closely on a specific customer type may feel restrictive, it ultimately sharpens your business’s focus and maximizes your ability to establish a long-term relationship with the customers most likely to maintain loyalty to your brand in the first place. Imagine the fine-tuned marketing initiatives you could launch if you have such a research-based concept of your target market steering you toward future success. Every piece of your campaign can be tailored specifically to the perspective of your Ideal Customer, making immediate impact on their relationship with your product.
Watch Out for These Red Flags
Granted, your Ideal Customer Profile isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to any obstacle your business may face, but it can help you identify and course-correct many issues that could ultimately wreak havoc on your business if not identified and addressed early. For example, you might face an abundance of low-quality visitors to your site, lower than expected conversion rates and a low impact of your content marketing (often indicated in part by social media shares). In this case, you may need to develop sharper insight into how your business serves end users.
Such problems can develop when your Ideal Customer Profile has not been developed or are not being effectively implemented in your business practices. Perhaps the content your site offers doesn’t match up with the individuals you’re trying to engage with, or there could be some level of disconnect between your Ideal Customer Profile and the true nature of your audience. Considering all the nuances involved, such a scenario is not unheard of. Thankfully, they can be rectified. If any of the above sounds familiar, the time for action is now.
Let’s Make it Ideal
So we’ve discussed what an Ideal Customer Profile is and have outlined some of the key benefits of having yours nailed down as soon as possible. However, our cursory overview only just scratches the surface of what’s possible. Hopefully, now that you’re more familiar with Ideal Customer Profile, you’re already pondering ways in which you can better serve your customers and develop a greater understanding of their needs. After all, customer engagement is paramount and a strong indicator of your business’s long-term prospects.
Without your customers, your SaaS business wouldn’t exist at all. So don’t underestimate the role they play by neglecting to stay informed about the ever-changing nature of your customer base. Developing and maintaining an Ideal Customer Profile goes a long way to keeping you plugged in to how your business enhances the lives of those it serves. Be sure to act now if you don’t already have one at your disposal. Although it may take some initial effort, the rewards are endless and will instantly affect your bottom line.