Update ICP

5 Signs Your ICP Needs an Update (and How to Do It!)

Published on April 3, 2024
Sreekanth NP
Growth Marketer, Rafiki.ai

Ever been in a position where you spend months meticulously crafting sales plays, only to realize your ideal customer has subtly evolved. This hidden problem can lead to a frustrating cycle of inconsistent sales results and missed opportunities. The good news? There are telltale signs that your ICP needs an update.

Let's dive into why ICPs can evolve and 5 signs that can tell you if yours have.

5 Signs Your ICP Needs an Update

Before we get into the signs, let's take a look at different reasons for why ICPs can be the moving target we know they are:

5 reasons for ICP evolution

Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is the foundation of your sales strategy. It dictates everything from who you target to how you message your value proposition. Here are 5 warning signs that it's time to revisit your customer profile and how you can address them:

Sales Stagnation

Is your win rate mysteriously dropping, and your pipeline clogged with lukewarm leads? An outdated ICP could be attracting companies that no longer align with your ideal profile i.e. unqualified leads. Rafiki's Smart Call Scoring can uncover hidden insights from past sales conversations. By pinpointing where reps struggle to connect with prospect pain points, it can reveal if your ICP needs to be refined.

Increased Customer Friction

Are existing customers expressing frustration or feeling like your product isn't a perfect fit? This could be a sign that your ideal customer has evolved, and your offering no longer matches their needs as well as it once did. Rafiki's Smart Call Summary helps you understand what exactly happened in each call in a concise manner. What were the objections like? Did your rep handle it well? This lets you know if it’s just a matter of objection handling or a need to update the ICP itself.

Missed Market Opportunities

Are there new industry trends or emerging customer segments that your ICP doesn't address? A rigid ICP might be causing you to miss out on promising new markets. Rafiki’s Market Intelligence can help you understand how market changes are affecting your prospects/customers and whether or not they have dropped out of the sweet spot you need to be targeting.

Internal Team Misalignment

Is there constant disagreement between sales and marketing about who your ideal customer is? An unclear or outdated ICP can lead to internal confusion and hinder overall sales effectiveness. Rafiki's Smart CRM Sync automatically populates your CRM with key customer data gleaned from sales calls. This ensures both teams have access to the same up-to-date customer insights, fostering better alignment and collaboration.

Competitor Success

Are your competitors consistently stealing deals from you, even when targeting similar customers? This might be a sign that their ICP is more finely tuned, allowing them to connect with prospects on a deeper level. Use social listening tools to understand what their reps are posting about, or ad managers like Meta’s or Google’s to observe the messaging on their ads. This research will tell you if they’ve switched or updated their target and whether you should do the same.

These are just a few warning signs. By staying alert to these red flags and leveraging tools like Rafiki, you can ensure your ICP remains a dynamic roadmap to sales success.

Keeping Your ICP Dynamic: Embrace Continuous Improvement

An ideal ICP shouldn't be a static document gathering dust on a shelf. Think of it as a living blueprint that evolves alongside your business and the market. Building ICP from scratch is one thing, but here's how to imbue adaptability in your ICP and fuel long-term sales success:

Embrace Data-Driven Insights

Don't rely on gut feelings alone. Leverage sales data using tools like Rafiki, website analytics, and customer feedback to identify trends and uncover hidden opportunities.

Rafiki Analytics

Cross-Functional Collaboration

Sales, marketing, customer success, and product teams all have valuable perspectives. Regularly gather insights from these departments to ensure your ICP reflects a holistic view of your ideal customer.

Schedule Regular Reviews

Don't wait for a crisis to revisit your ICP. Schedule quarterly or bi-annual reviews to assess its effectiveness based on market changes and new data insights.

Identifying Adjacent ICPs: Expanding Your Horizons

Your ICP is your core customer base, but there's a whole world beyond it. Identifying adjacent ICPs, customer segments similar to your ideal profile, can unlock significant growth potential. Here's how to find these hidden gems:

Analyze Your High-Value Customers

Look for commonalities among your most successful customers. Are there shared industry trends, company sizes, or firmographic details? These shared traits could define an adjacent ICP. Look for your high-value customers’ partners - those who do co-marketing or co-selling with them. Affiliates, Resellers, Technical Partners and so on.

Industry Trends & Competitor Analysis

Stay on top of emerging market needs and keep an eye on your competitors. Are they targeting new customer segments that might be a good fit for your offering?

Leverage Customer Feedback

Listen closely to customer feedback, even from those who aren't a perfect fit. Sometimes, their pain points can reveal an unmet need that aligns with a potential adjacent ICP.

Tailoring Your Sales Approach: The Right Message for the Right Customer

A one-size-fits-all sales approach won't cut it in today's competitive landscape. To update each ICP, and even segments within an ICP, might require a nuanced sales strategy. Here's how to tailor your approach for maximum impact:

Sales Methodology Alignment

Choose the right sales methodology for each ICP. For complex enterprise deals, a Challenger Sale approach might be ideal. For smaller, quicker purchases, a Solution Selling approach might be more effective. Gap Selling might be the best if trust & a long term relationship is what’s required for your ICP.

Gap Selling vs Solution Selling vs Challenger Selling

Understand ICP Nuances

Deeply understand the specific needs, challenges, and buying journeys of each ICP segment. What motivates them? What are their biggest pain points?

Messaging and Value Proposition

Craft targeted messaging that resonates with each ICP's unique priorities. Highlight how your solution directly addresses their specific challenges and delivers exceptional value.

By tailoring your sales approach, you can ensure your reps are having impactful conversations that convert leads into loyal customers. Rafiki's Smart Call Scoring can further enhance this process. By analyzing call transcripts, it identifies areas for improvement in a rep's pitch and suggests talking points that better resonate with specific customer segments.

Going With The Flow

An ICP that adapts with your business is the key to sustained sales success. Don't be afraid to revisit and refine it as you gather new data and navigate an ever-changing market. Remember, your ICP is a living document, not a relic of the past. By embracing a data-driven approach, identifying adjacent markets, and tailoring your sales strategy, you can ensure your ICP remains a powerful tool for attracting high-value customers and driving long-term sales growth.


Explore how Rafiki can help your team refine, update & implement best ICP practices in your sales org by signing up for a free 14 day trial!

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