Every B2B marketing team needs to be agile (and I mean agile in the primary definition of the word – coordinated, quick and nimble). Everything around you is constantly in motion: your competitors, your customers, your product, even your own sales team and MarTech stack.
In fact, your only constant is change – especially in a high-growth company. You set plans at the top of each year (or quarter) based on the best information you have. It’s a given that these plans will need to adapt and evolve as new insights and information come to light.
This agility even extends to your “ideal customer profile” (ICP). While the word “ideal” may imply a lasting state, when chasing growth, organizations must uncover and quickly act on promising new opportunities. This means the account criteria that looked like “Mr. Right” at the top of the year may simply be “Mr. Right Now” – that’s how fast agile marketing moves.
I hear many of you starting to protest, “… but it’s already so hard to find accounts to build inbound and ABM programs, and to find contact information for our sales team. It takes so long to pull it all together. There’s no way we can do it more than once a year.” If your CEO is expecting growth, that response just won’t cut it. You need to be actively exploring tools and technologies that help you spot new growth opportunities, and help you define and act on those changes to your ICP.
Here are 5 best ways to stay agile with your ICP:
1. Be Realistic and Data-Driven
An ICP is there to align marketing and sales around companies that struggle with the problems your company’s solution can solve, today. If your objective is to sell more this quarter, you need to be brutally honest about where you’re at right now. Bottom line: It’s not the time to be aspirational.
Taking a data-driven approach is a great way to remove biases and wishful thinking from your ICP. Your customers, especially your most recent wins, provide a good foundation. However, if you try to do this with just basic firmographics (industry, geo, revenue, employee count), it will fall short.
Why? Because you need to uncover the non-obvious attributes of each company – it could be their unique technology stack, their unique growth trajectory, or their unique products and services. These factors truly separate those who are a “high-fit” to your desired profile from those who aren’t. Without this insight, you’ll waste valuable time, budget and resources. Purpose-built AI solutions for B2B sales and marketing organizations (like the EverString Audience Platform), are able to ingest and quickly synthesize large quantities of disparate data elements about every potential company and quickly identify all net-new companies who are most similar to your desired profile.
Using data to inform your ICP keeps it realistic, and using AI platforms like EverString keeps you nimble because it can incorporate far more data elements, do it on a continuous basis and analyze it far faster than any person can.
“AI tools and technologies like EverString are built to give you that secret superpower you need to be speedy and data-driven at the same time.”
2. Create a Forward-Looking ICP
Existing customers are a good start for building an ICP, but your organization’s growth will not be sustained by only looking into the rearview mirror. You must also be forward-looking, creating ICPs for new audiences that show early momentum. Every B2B team with at least one inbound lead source has experienced this phenomenon: You realize during a sales team meeting they are talking about yet another company that does X, or is located in Y, or has Z technology. Obviously, you want take advantage of the momentum and build a program around it.
The best AI solutions for B2B were built to help teams do exactly this. Simply input the domain(s) of the companies you heard in the meeting, and let the purpose-built AI do the heavy lifting. Use the technology to define a new ICP and, with that, identify all of the companies that match that forward-looking profile. The right technology with purpose-built AI lets you to quickly take advantage of early momentum to meet growth goals. In the end, you shouldn’t have to build thousands of rows of training data in order to benefit from AI-insights.
3. Companies Newly Active in Your Market are Also “Ideal”
Agility is both a quick and intelligent response to stimulus. It’s not enough to be fast, you also need to be smart. With that in mind, companies who are newly entering your market shouldn’t be overlooked. Each day there are companies who are beginning their research process – they’re searching topics in your space, visiting your competitors’ sites and even your own company’s site. You want to get in front those prospects quickly – especially before your competitors do.
Determining which companies are “active in market” as soon as these behaviors begin allows your sales team to suit up and take fast action. At EverString, we use intent data signals (another aspect of our purpose-built AI platform) through our partnership with provider Bombora to “see” the intent signals from customers that are already looking for our products. This is just another way that AI is infused into SaaS solutions so your sales teams can strike while the iron is hot.
4. Agile ICPs Need SaaS solutions for Speed and Accuracy
Given the speed of change surrounding B2B sales, employing a self-service SaaS solution far outweighs any list buy or managed service approach. Like a new car depreciating as soon as you drive it off the lot, lists also lose their efficacy, especially over time. A SaaS platform supporting the sales team every day with current insights about each account and its decision makers is invaluable.
You want every marketer, SDR and AE to be able to harness powerful AI for data-driven insights in their everyday workflow. You don’t want momentum stalled waiting on specialized resources with long backlogs. Nor do you want them going into a call unprepared with weak talking points because of out-of-date information. Growth-focused teams need specific solutions like EverString with intuitive user interfaces that mask the complexity of powerful AI, so it is easy for every team member to both create and access all of the actionable insights they need.
5. Use Agile ICPs for Growth
Growth requires flexibility and agility built on data-driven insights. You can’t hang on to an old dusty ICP and expect to see growth. Although B2B platforms built with agile marketing capabilities can help, you also have to continually be looking at your results to see potential sales opportunities both inside and outside your funnel, as well as opportunities in new markets.
AI tools and technologies like EverString are built to give you that secret superpower you need to be speedy and data-driven at the same time. With a forward-thinking mentality and a high-powered platform, the entire organization can take advantage of early signals and everyone on the team is able to be agile in order to sustain growth momentum.
EverString is purpose-built for B2B teams – want to see how it can help you stay agile with your ICP? Try it out for free.
If you want to learn more about ICPs and how they tie into account-based marketing, don’t miss our upcoming webinar with FlipMyFunnel during ABX week. We’ll be discussing all things ABM, from marketing to sales to customer success.