March 17, 2023

How To Create an Ideal Customer Profile for Your B2B SaaS Product in 5 Simple Steps

Hannah Peritore

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To truly engage prospects at the top of the funnel, you need to take an education-first approach.

But to offer valuable education, you need to know who you’re offering it to. Otherwise you can’t possibly know what’s valuable—to them.

It’s time to get intimately acquainted with your dream prospects.

Step 1: Find out where your ICP hangs out

Whether it’s forums like Reddit or socials like LinkedIn, go there and read everything they say.

Make a list of your customers, look up their LinkedIn profiles, see what they’re engaging in and talking about.

See what they’re writing about. How people are engaging. Read the comments. Look at which ones have the most upvotes. Make notes.

Treat it like a first date.

Really dive down the rabbit hole and try to find out their needs, wants, and desires for a product like yours.

Step 2: Read competitor reviews (and your reviews)

Don’t just go right for the 5-stars and ignore everything else.

Read the 5-stars to find out what people love, the 3-stars to hear pain points and alternatives, and the 1-stars for some really juicy insights into what people hate.

You can get some great copy ideas for your ads just by doing this alone!

Make notes, jot down messaging ideas—heck, swipe entire reviews. Turn negatives into positives and position positives as negatives.

But—and this is important—don’t get boxed in by competitor messaging.

Knowing what your competitors are saying about their product and how they’re positioning themselves is important—but you should always be messaging around your unique selling proposition (USP).

Step 3: Find out your ICP’s most common questions about products like yours

Now that you’ve gotten to know your ICP’s interests a little better, you should be able to make a list of common questions they might have about your product.

Sites like Quora and Reddit are great for rounding out your list with actual questions your ICP is asking.

Source: bizadmark

Step 4: Develop a deep understanding of your ICP’s wants, needs, and frustrations

Once you know your ICP inside and out, you can start to think of them as a person.

Bob, for example.

And create a message that’s so specific that all the Bobs out there feel like you’re talking directly to them—about their life, their needs, their frustrations, and providing the exact solution to all their problems. (Or, at least, the problems you can solve).

Here are 2 proven strategies to uncover valuable insights:

Jobs-to-be-done Framework

This is the idea that businesses ‘hire products’ to do a job. So ask yourself, what job would your ICP hire your product to do? And how might they answer questions like…

What was the outcome you were hoping to achieve when you started looking for a new software solution?

Can you tell me about a time when you tried a solution that didn't work for you?

What made you decide to stop using that solution?

What would have to happen for you to consider trying that solution again?

Good Jobs-to-be-done questions are open ended so the answer isn’t influenced by the question in any way.

Source: LeanLabs

The 5 Whys

Starting with a major pain point, ask why your product solves the problem… Then ask four deeper and deeper ‘why’ questions, until you’ve identified the core issue.

It may take more than five questions to get there, but you’ll often find the deepest answer is different from what you expected.

You can try these strategies with your team, or…

Step 5: Ask your customers or prospects directly

As a general rule, people don’t like being sold… but they love talking about themselves.

Sales team landed a whale lately? Call them up.

Ask them illuminating questions, like:

  • What questions do you have about our product?
  • What did you like/dislike about other similar products?
  • What sets our product apart?
  • Why did you choose our product?

The more open-ended the questions, the better. That’s how you’ll really get deep insights into their behavior, opinions, and motivations.

Better yet, reach out to your dream prospects on LinkedIn and ask to interview them.

They might ignore demo requests—but a chance to give their opinion in an interview… they might feel honored and gladly accept.

Heck, then post the interview on your LinkedIn (with their permission, of course)!

Then you’ve used one interaction to…

✅ Better understand your ideal client profile

✅ Build a relationship with a dream prospect (who’s a lot closer to think of your product when they need a solution down the line)

✅ Create some great ToF content for your audience

Three birds, one stone.

How To Create Top of Funnel Ads for Your ICP That Engage, Entertain, and—Most Importantly—Educate

Now that you have a deep and incredibly thorough understanding of your Ideal Customer Profile, it’s finally time to market to the 98%.

But remember, this is Top of Funnel content. Meaning, you aren’t selling to them… yet.

The purpose of ToF content isn’t to sell now. It’s to sell later. Now is the time to educate.

Your entire ToF strategy should be built around educating your prospects on key problems your product solves. By doing this, you’ll generate awareness among your ICP of the problems they face and how you can solve those problems.

And the more of your content they consume, the more they’ll be convinced that your product is the solution for the problems they face. 

Source: Skuid

Keep in mind, prospects at the top of the funnel aren’t looking to buy.

They might not even know they have a problem that needs to be solved. Or how a solution like yours could benefit them. They won’t respond to salesy messaging, because they aren’t in a buying state of mind.

But, people are always open to improving themselves. And they remember who helped them along the way.

So, here’s an example. 

Let’s say I’m the cook in my family, and I see an ad for some fancy new cookware. I might be interested, but the problem is… I already own pots and pans. I don’t need new pots and pans.

But suddenly, I start seeing educational content from the cookware brand on things like proper knife handling, sautéing techniques, and how to improve my ingredient knowledge… and I start becoming a better cook by following the advice.

Eventually, my pans break, or rust, or start to stick. I need new pans. Am I going to start researching cookware? Or am I just going to buy pots and pans from the company that made me a better cook?

It’s the law of reciprocity in action.

After you’ve completed the research phase, you should have a long list of topics that interest your ICP, so you can start creating high-value, educational content that meets them where they’re at—making them a ‘better cook,’ if you will.

The big takeaway?

By the time your ToF prospects are ready to buy, they won’t need to do any research. Won’t need to compare products. Because you’ve positioned your brand as the best possible solution.

And your product will be the first thing they think of when they finally get fed up with their current solution…

or it needs to be replaced…

or you help them recognize a problem they didn’t know they had…

You’ll be the Kleenex to their runny nose. The Band-Aid to their scrapes.

And all because you cultivated a relationship with them through truly kindhearted, no-strings-attached, educational content that genuinely helped them.

Now that you’re best friends with your ICP, it’s time to put that knowledge to work by running some ads on LinkedIn—the best place for B2B brands to educate and engage their ICP with ToF content.

Not sure you agree? We’re convinced that LinkedIn is the B2B marketers best friend, and it’s a shame that more B2B brands aren’t leveraging LinkedIn to engage their ICP.

More on this in our blog: The Flaws in Traditional Attribution Models for B2B SaaS Marketing.

And if you find yourself in need of a marketing partner to help engage your ICP with educational ToF content, shoot us a message. We’d love to help.

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