Commercial Fleet Market ICP Ideal Customer Profile

Checklist: Your Ideal Fleet Customers

Your ideal customer is not necessarily the fleet that’s most likely to need your product or service, and buy from you.

Because these factors are also important:

  • How efficiently you can convert them into a new customer
  • How profitable they are for you
  • How fast they pay you
  • They are not just a quick sale, they’re a good fit, so they become a long-time customer

An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) describes the fleets that will be your most valuable customers.

“Create an ICP” is a Need-To-Do

There’s a lot of talk about ICPs on LinkedIn, podcasts, etc. But in reality most companies don’t have an ICP! And why not? When you have a clear idea of your best customer, you can avoid many problems.

When you create this profile – and you use it to focus your marketing and sales outreach – you are more likely to avoid very low response rates, slow sales cycles that end in ghosting, and customers you can’t serve as well as you’d like which can result in churn.

As a result, your sales cycle can speed up, and you can be more profitable. You can use the ICP for strategy decisions, to not only focus your sales efforts, but also decide what market you won’t pursue right now.

This is why, defining an ICP is a strategic exercise. An ICP needs to align with your business and financial goals.

What is a “Best” Customer?

We suggest you have a clear idea of your best customer. But what is a best customer?

The definition might differ for each reader here. We do have our view. And that is, it’s not as simple as “all prospects that convert to customers.” And often, a best customer is not described only with basic firmographics like number of employees, revenue and industry. <- Defining an ICP like this, with only a few firmographics and technographics, is the biggest mistake often made.

A best customer can be found by looking at your financials: revenue, profitability, and customer lifetime value.

Also, you can see where you struggle by looking at closed-lost and churn. There’s many lessons in the patterns of prospects and customers you lose.

If you use a CRM regularly, and you’re tracking account opportunities through to closed-won revenue there, dig into the reports as homework before deciding which variables to choose from the checklist below.

If you don’t use a CRM, list out who you think are your top customers. As you review the list below, consider how these apply to your top customers. And be honest, also consider which items on the checklists below describe customers that you didn’t put on your top list! Do you find these checklist items mostly fit customers you didn’t originally think of? Something to learn from here. And, when you don’t know whether a variable below is important for you, there’s often much to learn from interviewing your customers.

Ideal Fleet Customer Checklist

An ICP describes an account – a company or government fleet. Not the contacts. Though people sell to people, that’s true, the account is really your customer. So this checklist focuses on company and fleet characteristics.

Which of these are relevant and important for you?

Company Firmographics

  • Industries
  • Employee Count
  • Annual Revenue
  • Year Founded
  • Technographics (technologies used)
  • Geography
  • Headquarters Location
  • Locations of Branches/Yards/Terminals
  • Centralized/Decentralized Fleet Decision-Making
  • Funding
  • Anything else?

Fleet & Vehicle

  • Fleet Size
  • Fleet Growth Rate
  • Duty: Light, Medium, Heavy
  • Class 1-8
  • Body Type
  • Make & Model
  • Fuel Type
  • Leased or Owned
  • FMCSA Power Unit Count
  • Private or For Hire
  • Cargo Carried
  • Trailers
  • Driver Types – CDL, non-CDL
  • FMC managed
  • Anything else?

Financial/Business Issues

  • Conversion and close rates
  • Time from lead to a sale (sales velocity)
  • Payment terms
  • Contract/legal terms
  • Discount pressure
  • Annual contract value, or annual revenue from customer
  • Lifetime value of customer
  • Any other metrics important to you?

Seeking Solution Stage

  • Currently in market for your product/service
  • Locked in contract with competing vendor

Buyer Persona – Contacts

Of course you need specific contacts to reach out to. Think about the best champions you’ve worked with at your best customer accounts. And review your CRM data. It’s likely there are common patterns in the people you work with at your best accounts. Beyond job title, consider other things that might have been triggers that resulted in a sale and a good, ongoing relationship. What problems did they have? What do they value? Had they just changed jobs to a new employer, or a significant promotion? Who are the decision-makers, and who influences the decision-makers?

  • Level – manager, director, VP, etc.
  • Function – fleet, maintenance, safety, etc.
  • They have the problem you solve – and be honest here, not every fleet has every problem
  • New in job – is this an advantage and a sales trigger, or a disadvantage?
  • Anything else?

In addition to demographics, there are behaviors and beliefs:

  • Getting value is a a two-way street between you and your customers. Will they work to get value from your product?
  • Do they agree with your point of view about your approach/solution?
  • Are they aware of their problem and searching for a solution?

Don’t Fall for “We Sell to Everyone”

And no, an ICP shouldn’t be “everyone” and “all of the above.” It’s tempting to not want to leave anyone out as a potential customer. It could be easy to think any company or government agency with a fleet vehicle is a potential customer.

For one thing, fleets tend to fall into the same general markets as most B2B: small business, mid-market and enterprise. Selling to a plumbing company with a few cargo vans is very different than selling to large fleets of 300+ vehicles. You may have the operations to handle selling and delivering to fleets of all sizes. Or you may find you excel with selling, service and financial performance to a segment of the fleet market.

Marketing & Sales Should Agree

It’s crucial for marketing and sales to agree on the ICP, especially for account-based activities, demand generation, prospecting and outbound.

And not everyone knows what an ideal customer profile is. So it’s important to do trainings and show how, when you focus on it, you can close sales faster and serve customers better.

It’s possible, if your business sells significantly different products or services, you might have different ICPs for each.

An ICP Can Change

If your business changes and evolves, your ICP might also change. It’s good to regularly revisit the definition of your ICP.

This is part of the Selling to Fleets Playbook.

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