Defining your ICP for the Manufacturing industry
By Brenna Lofquist, Senior Marketing Consultant / Client Services Operations at Heinz Marketing
Manufacturing is one of the last frontiers for modern marketers. In the manufacturing industry, historically, marketing has been seen as the ‘arts and crafts’ department while sales does all the work of finding and nurturing relationships and closing deals. But recently, the pandemic has forced manufacturers to adopt new strategies to remain effective. Loss of trade shows and in-person activities have flipped traditional selling methods on their head and marketers have been called upon to implement digital efforts. As manufacturers continue to modernize the factory floor, there’s consensus that marketing and sales must catch up to support the business for the long-haul.
While this “catch up” won’t happen overnight, there’s a handful of things marketers can do to help their manufacturing business thrive. The first step in this process would be to define your Ideal Customer Profile.
What is an Ideal Customer Profile?
Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) includes the firmographics, technographics, behavioral and environmental qualities surrounding your ideal customer. The components should be defined from the perspective of the company, not one individual in the buying committee. Your sales and marketing teams should be aligned on the ICP because not only is it a foundational element but it drives the targeting for your sales and marketing efforts. Before we get into the components, let’s talk about how to define your ICP.
How to define your ICP
Data. data. data. It’s the most reliable way to define your ICP. You don’t want to arbitrarily come up with your ICP using anecdotal information, it’s not going to be accurate. If your organization tracks annual contract value (ACV) or lifetime value (LTV), these data points can be used to define your ICP. Start by pulling a report of your top 20 customers using these data points. Analyze the data to determine if there’s any patterns such as industry, revenue, geography, etc. You are looking for anything that can be used to define a component of your ICP because you want to continue targeting accounts that look similar to your top customers.
Qualitative, quantitative and predictive data are all important when defining your ICP.
Qualitative inputs from key stakeholders and customer facing roles can be very important in defining attributes that can’t always be discovered using data. For example, a sales rep has the VP of Supply Chain on the phone and they mentioned a new product in development. You’ve identified this as a situational trigger but it’s not something you could identify from a database, it has to come up in conversation.
While qualitative data is equally as helpful, I would recommend supplementing with quantitative data, and don’t rely solely on qualitative data to drive development of your ICP. You’ll have to make some inferences and test them out – developing your ICP isn’t a one and done thing.
Third-party predictive analytics can enhance your ICP development after inputting known data from your analysis. Predictive analytics can reveal additional attributes that you might not have found in your own databases.
Components of your ICP
Now, let’s get into the actual components of the ICP as it relates to the manufacturing industry. As mentioned previously, most of the components are standard but in some cases, you might subtract or add, depending on the business segment, industry, etc. Use the information from the previous section to build out each component of your ICP.
- Does your business serve customers outside of the US?
- Are there specific states you’d like to expand into or focus on?
- Does your business manufacture for specific industries?
- Are there specific industries you’d like to expand into or focus on?
- Are there companies that focus on a shared niche or specialized market?
- Verticals can span multiple industries
- Example: surgical devices/robotics, orthopedics
- How much revenue are companies generating?
- How large are the companies (by employee size)?
Buying Intent Signals or Situational Triggers
- What signals or triggers indicate they might be ready to buy? These could be pain points or things happening within the company
- Example: New product in development, issue with current marketable product, has multiple locations, transports non-fragile commodities
- Are there specific technologies that are required?
- Are there technologies that would indicate an account is an ideal prospect?
- Are there socio-cultural, legal, economic, or political factors?
- Example: supply chain issues due to oversees production
Once you have defined the components of your ICP, it’s time to make sure everyone is aligned. Whether that’s scheduling a meeting with all teams/roles or sending out the ICP via email, do whatever you have to do to ensure teams review and buy off. This will be very important as everyone sets out to accomplish their goals which is to ultimately drive revenue.
After you’ve completed this step, you can continue your foundational marketing journey and develop the buying committee and personas that make up these ideal customer profiles.
It’s clear there’s a need for a well-defined strategy as the shift to digital marketing channels continue to gain momentum and manufacturing companies move away from traditional strategies and methods.
Need help defining the foundational sales and marketing elements for your manufacturing business? Reach out to us today!