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11 Ways an ICP helps Sales Enablement


Whether you are just beginning Sales Enablement efforts, refreshing them or a long-term practitioner, your efforts can benefit by leveraging a strong ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) foundation.

If you have a generic ICP across your entire company or one that just lives on a slide or two it is not strong enough. The ICP needs to be tailored to your channels or routes to market and provide a bottoms-up view at the account level. Each account should be tiered and have an estimate of potential. This is necessary because buyers in a well-defined segment of the ICP will prefer to buy services in their own way.

For more on this topic refer to Its' time to Upgrade your ICP

With a great ICP, your sales enablement will benefit in the following ways;

1. Use cases & routes to market

2. Messaging & sales plays

3. Persona’s and buying teams

4. Competitive positioning

5. Pricing

6. Territory Design

7. Quota setting

8. Forecasting & Sales Plans

9. Alignment across sales, marketing, and product marketing

10. Funding

11. Tracking

Here is a breakdown of how each benefit from a strong ICP.

Use cases & routes to market: An ICP should not be monolithic but should allow you to define distinct routes to market or routes to revenue. This means the ICP can be broken down by customers vs new logos, geographies, size of companies, sized by sales channels, by industries and/or sub-industries etc. Whichever breakdown is appropriate for you, the sales and marketing tactics to capture the opportunity in each route will differ. This will help your sales enablement be more relevant. The ICP will also provide the size of the prize in each.

Messaging & sales plays: With differentiated routes to market, specific value propositions, messaging, scripts etc. can be created for each route to market and/ or sales channel. Sales plays can be customized with higher impact.

Personas and buying teams: You can now layer in specific personas; tailor messages then help sales approach each member of the buying team. Tie these to your sales plays.

Competitive positioning: Each of your routes to market or sales channels may have products that are valued differently by your target audience. Therefore, different competitors or offerings from them will be in play. Following this thread, you can now position your offering appropriately and tie to your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Pricing: By going through the above steps, you should be able to determine the willingness to pay (WTP) of the buyers in each route to market. If you do not know the WTP there are defined steps you can take and/ or of course leverage specialized firms who do this every day. Understanding WTP will improve messaging and help optimize pricing and offers.

Territory Design: Switching to the ‘sales’ part of sales enablement, you will have a fact-based way to help sales assign the right people, right # of people & right number of accounts to each sales channel or route. By layering in well designed sales roles and their capacity, you will have what you need. Make sure to consider the business rules or strategy of how territories should be built for your specific situation. Territories will also have the existing revenue within each that needs to be supported and grown.

Quota Setting: With well-defined territories, account potential from the ICP work and past performance; leaders can set quotas. In addition, your appropriate colleagues can use when re-designing compensation plans.

Forecasting & Sales Plans: The outputs of the quota process will enable forecasting. Do this step and you will have a bottoms up, data driven approach to know how much revenue will come from each territory, sales channel and route to market.

Alignment: In this phase you can leverage the work to create a well-defined go to market plan across marketing, sales, product marketing and product development. Each business unit will be acting on a common strategy of how to capture the opportunities in front of you. This allows each to act on their independent strengths to achieve the common goal.

Funding: More than likely you will need to make investments and allocate time, money, and resources. You may need funding within sales enablement, marketing, sales, product and/ or corporate development. With the above you can build business cases and understand what needs to happen to realize the goal. A former colleague’s way of putting this is to determine “what needs to be true” to achieve your goals. This can also mean fund raising. Some clients focused solely on this as their best use of an ICP.

Tracking: With your plan in place, you can set about determining the leading and lagging KPI’s or OKR’s, quarterly rocks etc. that will let you know if you are on track or not. With a diligent review of this you will be able to course correct which will undoubtedly be necessary.

Working on these steps can also elevate your impact to your organization.

As a consultant it is always interesting and a privilege to see how clients tackle the above, what they focus and in which order.

If you would like to hear how others go about this, please feel free to reach out for a free consultation to discuss any of these topics.

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