If you are the owner of a software development company, most likely, you are actively involved in lidogeneration on the social network LinkedIn, or on the freelance platform Upwork. In both the first and the second case, in order to make your lead generation process efficient, you need to create a so-called Ideal customer portrait or, in short, ICP.
ICP is a conditional description of your ideal customer, in which you specify the criteria by which you must understand that the intended company is your ideal customer.
The main criteria that can be used when describing ICP:
- the country in which the company is located;
- the number of employees in the company;
- annual turnover, which is the company’s income;
- market segment in which the company operates;
- basic goods (services) provided by the target company;
- company problems that you can solve with the help of your company’s services
Let’s analyze in detail each criterion:
1 Country (location) in which your client works.
If we talk about the provision of IT-outsource services – then this criterion has the greatest impact in determining the portrait of the ideal client. This importance is due to the fact that depending on the country in which your potential client works, you may be more or less interesting to him. For example, the rating of developers in Poland is approximately equal to the rating in our country, respectively, the opportunity to find potential customers there on your outsourcing services is clearly lower than in countries where the developer’s rating is much higher (eg Switzerland, Norway).
Yes, you can “sell” your domain expertise, but believe me, if your rate is 2 times higher than the rate of a local developer – then for your end customer hiring an outsourcing company does not make sense, because there are many other nuances that you do not have, for example, mentality, the language of the customer company and more.
2 The size of the company.
If the size of your company is 20 people, and the required ICP for you – 1000+ people, believe me, most likely your efforts will be in vain, because the minimum need for developers in such a company may be more than 5 people and, accordingly, you can not immediately provide that number of developers. Also, in large companies, as a rule, when there is a need to provide services, a tender procedure is opened, and they describe their “portrait of the ideal supplier”, in which the size of the company – IT service provider plays a crucial role.
3 Annual turnover.
An important but not decisive factor to consider when describing the Ideal customer portrait. Profits understanding is much more important. Very often, companies that did not make a profit last year – start making it, and, accordingly, plan to expand their IT capabilities, or, companies that do not make a profit plan to “restart” their services and want to invite IT consultants.
4 Market segment.
If your IT company has previously carried out several projects in the field, for example, fintech, it would be logical if you, when describing the ICP, indicate the companies working in this field as a priority. But you need, of course, to further explore the market segment to understand the risks that may be, although some of them are difficult to predict (for example, almost complete cessation of the Travel and Hospitality industries in connection with the pandemic). Such risks can be reduced by diversifying risks by betting on several potential market segments.
Compliance of the services that your company can provide with the services that your potential client may need is a fundamental criterion, because if you have some .NET developers in the company, and you “knock” on LinkedIn to the CEO of Python software development company – your chances are high. Although, if when you compiled your ICP came you bet on solving business problems, then the technology stack is less important than solving business problems, and accordingly, this ICP is right for you.
6 Solving problems (pains) of a potential client.
If you do not understand the problems of your potential client, it is unlikely that you will be able to interest him. For example, if you write to the owner of a software company in the west, then you need to have a clear idea of the problems, benefits and even fears of a potential customer, because only then will you be able to write messages that encourage customers to start communicating with you.
For example, the CEO of a software development company in the United States will be more interested in your rating, the lack of a strong difference in mentality, expertise in specific market segments. If you are writing to the director of a garment factory in the UK, then you need to focus on specific problems that you can solve in his company: document automation, creating a website for distributors, building a system of employee training, etc.
Summarizing all the above, we can conclude that creating a correct portrait of the ideal customer is the most fundamental activity that allows you to create and implement a strategy to promote your company in Western markets.