You’ve Got an Ideal Customer Profile, Now What?

(What is an Ideal Customer Profile?)

The concept of an ideal customer profile can be revolutionary for executives who have assumed that all business is good business. The exercise of pinpointing the best clients can dramatically improve sales results and accelerate business growth.Ideal Customer Profile

Time spent with prospects outside the target profile takes businesses further from their goals, making success elusive. When entrepreneurs focus their efforts on the most profitable customers, they reduce wasted time and effort, alleviating the stress of trying to serve customers who just aren’t the right fit.

To avoid being distracted by customers that don’t match your ideal customer profile, arm your sales team with a simple checklist of key customer characteristics, such as knowledge level, business role, and attitudes that you look for in the best prospects for your business. Keep the list short, with 5 or at most 6 essential criteria.

Applying the principle of an ideal customer profile takes work at first. It will likely lead to shifts in thinking about new business opportunities and you will need to say “No, thanks” to opportunities that aren’t a good fit.

It can seem counter-intuitive to walk away from active opportunities just because they don’t line up with the profile. You and your sales staff may feel frustrated at what feels like leaving money on the table. That is until you see the power of the profile at work.

Once the profile becomes part of your regular sales qualification process, closing deals will become easier because you are working with the right contacts from the start. Instead of dealing with endless objections, you’ll be illustrating value and sharing successes.

For a business that depends on referrals, finding the ideal customer profile can have a positive downstream impact on the businesses brand and reputation. Working with the right customers improves satisfaction because you are better able to serve them when they fit your business model perfectly. Happy customers spread the word, attracting more customers like them. This creates an ongoing pattern of decreasing sales cycles and increasing profitability.

To make sure your pipeline is filled with highly qualified prospects, sales and marketing staff will need to be educated on how to integrate the profile into your communications. Your sales presentations, collateral, and advertising should appeal clearly to your target prospects. Test your message with people who fit your ideal customer profile, and incorporate their feedback to improve the quality of your materials.

Avoid a hit or miss implementation which will slow down the value that will be created by using an ideal customer profile. Stick to your guns and apply the profile consistently to enjoy the full power and impact of laser-focused targeting.


  1. I don’t know if the profile should be set in stone. You never know who the influencers are and who the decision makers are–both are equally important. Obviously you don’t want to waste time but if someone’s “close” to the profile it might still be worth it.

    1. That’s a great point. It’s not all or nothing. Think of the ideal client as the center of your target, a bulls-eye. Other prospects may be on the board, but not dead center. They can still be good clients, but the further you move from center, the more unfocused (and less productive) your sales efforts will become.

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