There’s a tool that CSR employs with all of our clients looking for strategic growth. That tool is the ideal client profile or ICP. The ICP is a lovely tool because it’s quite the Swiss Army knife with its many uses and benefits. We’ll break down those utilities and how your organization might get sharply focused.
The ideal client profile is a way of defining – in great detail – what makes the perfect client for your company. In order to determine that, we take our own clients through this exercise: picture your very best client. Now think about reasons WHY they are your very best. What behaviors or interactions make them so valued? Then document the factors or attributes that describe that ideal client.
Once an ideal client profile (or in some cases, profiles) is defined for an organization, the applications are multi-pronged: 1) strengthening one’s current client base; and 2) growing one’s client base with more of the ideals.
Using the lens of your ideal client profile can give your operations and service teams new focuses for growth and retention. It helps set priorities for how you spend your time and where you want to invest. And while customer losses can be painful, when they don’t pass the ICP screen, it lessens the sting and puts things in perspective.
When your company has a clearly defined ideal client profile, especially one with factors and attributes, it gives your marketing and business development team members a great strategy for growth. You only want to add more ideals to your base so that’s where you set your sights. What are the referral opportunities from present ideal clients? Where are prospective ideal clients likely to work and play? And using those ideal client attributes during the proposal process to assess this new relationship are the keys.
Lastly, defining your ideal client profile should not be a one and done process. It is iterative and should be reviewed at least twice a year within your organization. The exercise of talking through your ideals is a very important communication team project, and it brings clarity and focus within your functions. If you’d like to discuss how to deploy this strategy within your company, we’d love to hear from you.