The Differences Between Buyer Personas and Ideal Client Profiles (ICPs)

When discussing Account-Based Marketing, the strategy that almost 85% of marketers measuring ROI say outperforms other marketing investments (ITSMA), there is usually some confusion between Buyer Personas and Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs). Since they both represent characteristics of your company’s ideal target, they do have some similarities but are focused on two different objects: companies versus people.

Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs)

ICPs describe the best types of companies for your organization to market and sell to. The criteria and qualities help your company determine if an account is worth going after. Such criteria can involve the company’s industry, company size, department, responsibilities and more. To obtain this information, you can evaluate your current customer base along with additional info revealed through research or client conversations.

Buyer Personas

Buyer persona

Buyer Personas are detailed analyses of people, usually with decision making influence at a company. They include information such as the person’s background, objectives, pain points, who they report to and more. This type of information allows companies to adjust their messaging, which in turns proves to the potential buyer how an offering can help their company and more specifically, them in their everyday role. Do this for the decision makers within a company and when they have an internal meeting to review an offering, they will be more likely to go forward with the solution as they know exactly how it will help them as a company and individuals.

Where to start

Knowing the difference between the two, the next question is, which one to start with? Which came first, the ICP or the persona? It’s a lot easier to start with the ICP as that insight will give companies an idea of what goes on in the daily roles of each persona. For example, if we’re trying to create a Buyer Persona first, we wouldn’t know the specifics of what they do every day. Sure, if they’re the head of accounts receivable we can associate some typical, general solutions but it’s not going to grab their attention. If we know information about their company such as they have trouble tracking invoices, we can message to them that our solution will help cut their DSO up to 50%! (Check it out here, EZ-AR™).

If you need any assistance on creating a Buyer Persona or ICP, fill out the form below and let us know! If you’d like to learn more about Account-Based Marketing, download our ABM guide for B2B marketers here.


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