Operationalize your ICP: How to generate audiences with high revenue potential in Clearbit
Revenue-driven marketing requires a center of gravity: a shared ICP definition around which your entire company can align its go-to-market operations.
But far too often, teams spend weeks (if not months) describing their ICP, only for it to live on a slide, becoming outdated by the minute.
We’ll show you how to make your ICP actionable by plugging it into Clearbit, where you can create tangible audiences to send to marketing tools.
When you use the same ICP definition across teams and tools, your campaigns and touchpoints will use the same logic for targeting, personalization, and filtering for sales. Everything’s moving in the same direction, toward the same high-revenue-potential prospects.
To make this work, you need to figure out which companies have the most revenue potential and then find the concrete attributes that set them apart and help you identify more companies like them.
Define your ICP
Here's an overview of the steps to operationalize your ICP.
Step 1: Build the data foundation
Enrich your source of truth (CRM software, CDP software, etc.) with accurate and fresh data. To accurately define your ICP, you’ll want to make sure you have complete firmographic and technographic data (like company size, technologies used, industry, etc.) for accounts in your database.
Step 2: Define success criteria
First, choose metrics that describe your best customers, taking into account your business’s current goals.
For example, if your company is oriented toward growing revenue at all costs, your success metrics might be customers with high ACV, low CPA, and ease of conversion. However, if your business is prioritizing sustainability and customer retention, your metrics might be high LTV, low churn risk, or cross-sell potential.
Step 3: Look at the past and identify your best customers
Pull a shortlist of customers who meet your success criteria, using historical revenue data and qualitative feedback from CS and sales.
Step 4: Analyze for shared traits
Identify shared firmographic and technographic attributes these customers have, such as industry or number of employees.
Step 5: Create a silhouette of your ICP
List out the attributes that will best predict whether a new prospect will be a good customer — a data sketch.
For example: “B2B SaaS companies that use Hubspot, have 50–1,000 employees, and have at least $10 million in funding”.
That’s the high-level approach. For more detailed instructions, check out ”How to reverse-engineer and activate your ICP.”
Next, generate lists of real companies that match your ICP definition.
Creating audiences to target in Clearbit
Now that you’ve defined an ICP, you can use Clearbit’s Data Activation Platform to find companies in your TAM that match. From there, create audiences to send to your marketing tools and platforms, like Facebook Advertising.
By designing highly targeted audiences, you ensure highly targeted campaigns. Here’s how to do it in Clearbit.
"Clearbit is a critical tool for operationalizing our ideal customer profile. When we target digitally on Facebook or Instagram, our audience segments can map to our ICP criteria — from industry, geography, company size, and more."
Robert Bethell, Head of Demand Generation, RStudio
1. Pull a list of companies that look like your ICP (net-new or existing prospects)
To find ICP-matched companies in your universe, take your new ICP data silhouette and plug those attributes into Clearbit.
In the following example, the ICP is “mid-size venture-backed B2B SaaS companies.” Data attributes include 10–1,000 employees, more than $10M in funding raised, and the use of technologies like Salesforce, HubSpot, or Marketo.
Clearbit will generate an audience that fits those criteria. These companies are either in your current CRM or net-new to you. You can specify whether you prefer one or both.
To quickly try this now for free, check out Clearbit’s TAM calculator. It lets you gut-check your ICP definition and quickly iterate on segments by plugging in attributes.
2. Divide your ICP into audience sub-segments for better targeting
Next, create smaller audience segments within your ICP audience so your list can be even more targeted. You can divide your ICP into meaningful groups with attributes like industry, company size, or even employee persona.
For example, you may sell your product to designers and engineers. Creating different audience segments for each role will allow you to run designer-focused and engineer-focused ad campaigns, with relevant creatives and messaging.
To do this, make sure your ICP definition in Clearbit is correct, then add another data point or two to narrow down to a sub-segment.
In the example above, the ICP definition is “B2B SaaS companies in the United States that use Salesforce.” We’re creating a sub-segment to target only marketing leaders, using the Employment Role and Employment Seniority (“Executive” or “Director”) criteria.
3. Send audiences to your GTM tools
Next, send those audiences you created in Clearbit to the tools in your activation layer, so they can get to work with targeted marketing.
For example, you can sync an audience directly to Facebook to run a Facebook Ads campaign to only the prospects you’ve filtered for. Or, sync them to Salesforce or your email marketing tool so you can run outbound efforts or a targeted nurture sequence.
Putting your data to work
An ICP definition is only useful if it helps you — and your tools — automatically recognize similar companies in the wild. A data-driven definition, based on concrete firmographic and employee attributes, makes this possible.
No more ICP persona sketches napping on a slide deck. With Clearbit, you can plug in your ICP attributes to find your TAM, then whittle down to even more specific segments to create targeted audiences for your GTM tools.
When all tools are operating off the same ICP definition, they work together to roll out the red carpet for your best revenue-generating prospects — a star-studded walk down the funnel.