In today’s digital world, one of the biggest mistakes most software development companies make is neglecting the importance of identifying their ideal customer profile. In the end, they find themselves in deep waters, as by then, they would have already spent most of their valuable resources on chasing unproductive leads.
“Ideas are easy. The thing that actually separates– Sue Grafton, Veteran American Author
the sheep from goats is the execution of these ideas.”
The thing about sheep is that it doesn’t chase unproductive leads.
By identifying your ideal customer profile, you will be ensuring that your software development company’s resources are being spent on acquiring plus retaining deals that are not just worth more than others ones out there but also will contribute towards the company’s growth.
It’s one of the most popular tried-and-tested methods to generate more leads. ICP for an IT company is nothing but a made-up description of the type of company that’ll benefit the most from purchasing your services and, three in return, provide significant value.
After successfully identifying your ICP, you can arm your marketing team from tooth to nail with all the information they need about your target audience for turning your marketing activities highly-targeted and much more effective.
In addition to this, they can start implementing core value propositions as well as effective messaging to help you put your services in front of the companies who are most likely to reach out to you.
This will be followed by your sales team pursuing them and pitching the most relevant solutions, depending on their pain points and business requirements.
There have been countless misconceptions about the difference between an ideal customer profile and customer persona until now.
Before we get down to learning how to create an ideal customer profile for your business, it’s essential to clear the basics and shine some light on the subject. This will clear up the misconceptions from the get-go, helping you understand the subject from a fresh perspective.
Let’s get rolling!
Table of Contents
The 2 B2B Tech Buyer Personas
For B2B software development services companies, it takes way more than designing and developing a premium-looking website to land high-paying clients.
Right from the beginning, you’ll have to focus on your B2B content marketing efforts, run social media campaigns, offer lead magnets, and do so much more to generate high-quality leads.
And that’s not where it ends. After successfully generating leads, you’ll have to nourish them to convert them into paying customers.
But way before you even start building a marketing strategy and sales funnel for your company, the first and most important thing you need to take care of is understanding your target audience plus its demographics.
Right from the C-level decision-makers to the technical users, it’s crucial to know all the ins and outs.
Your target audience might play different roles in their organization, but almost all of them fall into one of the following B2B technology buyer personas:
- The Decision Makers
- The Recommenders
Let’s dive deep into each of these categories one-by-one.
The Decision Makers
The first ones in our list are the decision-makers.
Decision-makers, regardless of their titles like CIO, CTO, VP, CISO, etc. aren’t much interested in understanding your proposed solution’s nuances. Hence, you should avoid deep-diving into the features of your solution much. This might end up doing you more harm than good.
They are highly interested in understanding whether you’ll be a perfect fit for their organization. What you should do here is create content that’s highly-relatable with compelling CTAs on your “Who We Are” & “What We Do” pages. In addition to this, they will even be interested in customer testimonials, comparison charts, ROI calculators, etc.
Our second buyer persona category, the Recommenders ideally are Senior Managers or Directors of Information Security, IT, Cyber Security, and analysts, developers, engineers, project managers, and technical consultants and some of them will be using these products, so it’s super-important to focus on the content on support pages, blog section (in-depth blog posts and articles)
Plus, it’s equally vital to build highly-detailed pages for each of the services you offer, white papers as well as case studies as these folks will be the ones recommending the decision-makers to outsource some work to you.
Landing B2B clients isn’t a piece of cake. Positioning yourself as a perfect fit is highly-challenging, even on the most basic level. That’s because people in a B2B environment can’t make snap decisions without consulting with their team or higher-ups. Most of the time, their hands are tied.
Listed below are some of the most crucial points you should know about the software development outsourcing buyers:
- They don’t make snap decisions and end up buying instantly. Instead, an entire team is involved in the decision-making process. Various stages are involved in the buying process. Sometimes, you might even torture-test your joy and pride, only to know whether it shatters.
- They are well-informed and smart. They might already be in touch with your competitors. Prior to doing business with you, they’ll carry out thorough research and look for alternatives that suit their business requirements.
- They are always worried about losing their jobs. Even a single-wrong decision may get them fired or result in the company facing a tremendously huge loss.
- They are super-hard to get in touch with. And if you are, in the end, able to contact them, the real decision-makers may end up postponing the scheduled meetings. They avoid cold-calls. With tools like content marketing, social media platforms like LinkedIn, participation in the industry events and forums, etc. you can reach out to them.
- They love building long-lasting relationships and respect the hard work you carry out for them. They’ll appreciate the steps you take to understand their pain points, challenges, and ambitions. It’s a long road ahead, and you’ll have to earn their trust.
Just because different buyer persona groups are a part of a single organization, that doesn’t mean you should not consider sending them custom-tailored personalized messages to suit their needs.
And that’s not it.
It’s important to note that they are super-powerful and possess all six-infinity stones, just like Thanos did. And their reign has just begun.
In the past, vendors possessed significant power. However, with the introduction of the cloud, the tables have turned.
These companies appreciate the other company taking efforts to make sure that the entire buying experience is easy and convenient for them.
Who Actually is Your Buyer?
Businesses don’t really know who they are actually targeting, as there are so many people involved in a B2B environment.
As they aren’t able to figure out who they are really targeting, they come up with buzzards like “We market to tech executives.”
So, the question is, “Who Actually is Your Buyer?”
Well, to begin with, you, undoubtedly, should aim to connect with the decision-makers and the influencers. But on your way up, you should carry out thorough research, start networking and do social media and industry outreach to learn who actually it is you should target within every organization as well as their pain points.
Not always will the decision-makers be doing the assessment and testing. Instead, they will have a momentary presence throughout the entire process.
They may kickstart the process and even be a part of it in the end. But you need to know who’s the one doing the grunt work.
You need to be perfectly prepared to pitch your software development services in front of almost everyone involved within the organization.
Of course, your main aim would be to target the CTO or CIO. And that makes complete sense. That’s because they are the higher-ups and play a huge role in the decision-making process. They are the ones who think about bigger-picture work like:
- Planning Deployment
- Integration Testing
- Risk Management Practices
- And so on!
No matter the software development service you are offering, the C-Level executives may be the ones buttering your bread.
But trust me, if they have heard your name, you are on the right track.
Attending conferences, social media, or industry outreach and PR can help you put your company’s name in front of them.
The Director of Engineering & CTO Buyer Persona
The Director of Engineering can be considered a “Sweet Spot” for you.
That’s because he/she is responsible for ensuring whether the necessary steps are being taken to hit the company’s goals in terms of the technology stack. In addition to this, he/she plays a major role in determining the tools that are required to achieve these goals.
The Software Architect Buyer Persona
A Software Architect is responsible for defining the vision behind the architecture being deployed.
His/her main responsibilities include:
- Providing architectural blueprints plus technical leadership to the IT team
- Evaluating tools, processes, technologies
- Creating spec documentation for the components and apps
- Validating & Re-validating the architecture
A software architect may be your primary target, but in the end, all of it depends on the company’s architecture. You need to know whether he/she is kept on loop while making purchase-decisions.
The bad news is that most of the time, they aren’t involved in the decision-making process.
Startup Founder, Product Manager & IT Manager Buyer Persona
Another sweet spot that you can consider targeting is “The Developer.”
If they act as specifiers and recommenders within an organization, they can have a major influence.
They interact with fellow developers in the developer communities and open the door to countless opportunities via word of mouth.
But what value do you provide them?
Well, they obviously want to appear good in front of their bosses. Along with solving their needs as well as helping them build their knowledge base, you can help them make a good impression in front of their bosses.
DevOps & CISO Buyer Persona
Depending on what you have to offer, the DevOps & CISO teams might even be involved in the process.
They’ll be responsible for:
- Conducting Security Audits
- Assessing Your Operational Requirements & Reliability
- Monitoring Your Services
Procurement or Sourcing Managers Buyer Persona
Despite the popularity of cloud is at an all-time high, procurement or sourcing managers haven’t lost their touch.
When it comes to the larger deals, they are a formal part of the entire process.
They are responsible for:
- Issuing RFPs or Bid Requests
- Managing the Evaluation Process
- Attending to the Most Important Aspects of Finalizing a Contract
4 Crucial Steps You Should Follow to Create an Ideal Customer
Profile the Right Way
To create the perfect ideal customer profile, you should consider knowing your company from their perspective. In addition to this, learning what makes up a successful customer is equally important. And to gain all that information, you’ll have to reach out to and communicate with your clients.
So, how can you gain access to all of this information?
Let’s take a look.
Create a List of Your Best Clients
The first step? You need to compare and review the projects you have carried out for your existing customers and take into consideration why they love working with you. We’d advise you to go through the past feedback data and the NPS score to have a better understanding of the clients who are really happy with your services.
After you have created a list, enter the following details:
- Annual Revenue
- Employee Size
- Geographic Location(s)
Depending on which industry you belong to, you can add more information to the list.
Schedule Interviews with Top Clients
Scheduling and conducting interviews with top clients will help you learn more about their experience within your organization’s ecosystem. Ultimately, the goal is to collect data related to goals, buying processes, challenges, etc.
Some of the questions you should ask to learn more about their buying behavior are:
- Who is responsible for making purchasing decisions?
- How do they come to know about businesses like yours?
- Why have they been using your services?
- What’s the amount of research they carry out prior to making purchasing decisions?
- Why did they go with you over your competitors?
These questions will help you understand their challenges and goals:
- What are the biggest challenges they face?
- What do they aim to achieve with your company?
- How do your services solve their business problems?
Gather All the Data & Identify the Ideal Customer Characteristics
Gather all of this data in a single place, you may consider using a CRM software for this. Look for the common threads. With the help of this data, your goal is to identify the characteristics that are shared by some of your top customers with respect to their business goals and buying behavior.
Fill in the ICP Template
Identified the ideal customer characteristics?
With all the data you have gathered, it’s time to create profiles and fill all the necessary information to each field into the ICP template.
Here’s what it looks like:
Let’s Get Started
“Personas” is just a made-up marketing term. But in the end, you should note that they are real people just like us.
In the end, the one thing you can’t replace is the power of connection and empathy.
But to win their hearts, you will have to work hard. There’s no magical road that will take you to the top.
To achieve success, you will obviously have to build a replicable model to attract B2B clients. But while playing the long game, the one thing you should keep in mind is to heavily focus on building meaningful relationships with your prospects and customers.