Ideal Customer Profile Framework

ideal-customer-profile-q12016I can’t over-emphasize how important it is to have a clear definition of your Ideal Customer.

Your Ideal Customer Profile – ICP – dictates (or should dictate) everything from the features and functionality of the SaaS product you build, to the words you use and the emotion you invoke or tap into in your marketing.

I think people forget that you actually get to choose your customers. You get to choose who you want to do business with. So creating an Ideal Customer Profile isn’t limiting… it’s empowering!

In fact, if you don’t choose who you want to do business with, your customers will choose you… and they may very well be less-than-Ideal.

There are obviously lots of ways to come up with your Ideal Customer Profile, lots of methods and templates and canvases… but over time I’ve developed this framework that works well for me.

And I continue to evolve it. When I do, I will update this post. The current version is for Q12016.

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Customer Success and Logical Account Expansion

customer-success-and-logical-account-expansionCustomer Success is a powerful growth driver.

Sure, in the early days when you’re putting out the fires of churn, Customer Success seems less like a growth driver and more like a stop shrinking driver.

But once you move past churn busting – or if you avoid that altogether by being smart about customer acquisition in the first place – Customer Success starts to come into its own as a true driver of growth.

One of the ways Customer Success drives growth is through account expansion or getting existing customers to pay you more over time.

When you can grow revenue from your existing customer base, you could essentially turn off new customer acquisition and not just stay at the same level of revenue, but continue to grow.

Sure, it’s probably a good idea to continue to acquire net new customers, but the impact of account expansion to both the bottom line of a company as well as the valuation (something very important when raising money, going public, or being acquired) is potentially transformative.

But for account expansion – upsells, cross-sells, add-ons, price increases, etc. – to be a consistent and long-term driver of growth, it cannot be arbitrary or expected to occur organically.

Account expansion must be orchestrated, and that starts with applying logic to the process. Let’s explore…

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Reasonable SaaS Free Trial Conversion Rate

Reasonable Free Trial Conversion Rate

What's a reasonable conversion rate from free trial to a paid customer?I get some form of this question from time to time and I've answered it several times over the years.Well, I got it again so it's time to revisit this very simple … [Continue reading]

Acceptable Churn Rate for Small Accounts


What drives a company to focus on Customer Success is changing. In the past, churn (or retention, depending upon how you look at things) was generally the catalyst.Once churn is under control, the catalyst changes to expansion; driving use, … [Continue reading]

Success is Uncomfortable


I've talked before about holding customers accountable and how customer success isn't about making customers happy.Sometimes you have to push customers out of their comfort zone and - if you'll allow me to channel my inner Tony Robbins -progress … [Continue reading]

The Risk (and Opportunity) in Stealing Customers


Picture it, São Paulo, Brazil, October 2015.After one of the sales and customer success workshops I did, a few of us went out for a snack - fried polenta sticks - and to talk shop... and the idea of Success Gaps came up.In particular, we … [Continue reading]

A Foolproof Way to Get Testimonials Without Asking for Them

A Foolproof Way to Get Testimonials Without Asking for Them

Personally, I've always found it difficult to ask for testimonials. It just doesn't come naturally to me.In fact, one of the reasons I like doing calls on Clarity is that the platform closes the loop with the client for me, asking for a star … [Continue reading]

Success Milestones and the Path to Desired Outcome


I talk about Success Milestones all the time, not just in the context of Customer Success, but in the context of the overall success of my SaaS clients and the companies I work with through Gainsight.The concept of Success Milestones is a … [Continue reading]

Customer Accountability: Pushing Back to Drive Them Forward


A little while ago I introduced the concept of the Success Gap and how customers can use your product to the fullest and still not achieve their Desired Outcome.And as the vendor you can either ignore the phenomenon and let customers fend for … [Continue reading]

This Customer Acquisition Mistake Can Kill your Growth

This Customer Acquisition Mistake Can Kill your Growth

Can the customers you're actively going after actually achieve success with your product or through their interactions with your company as things are today? If not, that's a problem.The reasons they might not achieve success range from their … [Continue reading]

5 Terms to Avoid in Customer Success

5 Terms to Avoid in Customer Success

Ugh... isn't dealing with customers that don't get it and having to hold their hand along the way or check-in with them to make sure they're okay, annoying? It's so nice when you can hand 'em off to someone else, right?I hear that all the time … [Continue reading]