August 24, 2023

ICP VIPs: How 3 B2B CMOs Tighten Targets

A full funnel doesn’t always = revenue. B2B marketers know this, and CMOs are really feeling it as marketing budgets are growingly contingent on dwindling lead funnels. But there’s hope—what if the line from prospect to lifetime customer might be as simple as I-C-P?  

The Ideal Customer Profile helps B2B businesses determine truly qualified leads, those who are most likely to pay for your product or service, get the most value of it, and remain a loyal customer in the long term.

In this episode, three powerhouse CMOs share how they identified their ICPs and mastered the art of refining and sharpening them. Through the lens of their experiences, we’ll delve into the intricate process of zeroing in on those pivotal targets that can transform a company’s trajectory.

Tune in to snag all the wisdom from Kaycee Kalpin of Premier, Janet Jaiswal of Cloudbeds, and Jan Deahl of Drake Star.

What You’ll Learn 

  • How 3 CMOs have identified & narrowed their ICP 
  • How to manage & market multiple ICPs 
  • How to use data to further refine your targeting efforts

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 359 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned 


  • [3:43] Kaycee Kalpin: On Agile Marketing 
  • [6:32] Getting to Premier’s ICP 
  • [10:59] Refining your ICP 
  • [13:08] Janet Jaiswal: Carnegie Mellon Alumni of the Year 
  • [14:01] Identifying Cloudbeds’ ICP 
  • [17:54] Going upmarket & tightening your ICP 
  • [21:21] Jan Deahl: 7 years in Hong Kong 
  • [21:51] Lessons from Developing ICPs… 
  • [23:51] Firing clients? 
  • [26:24] … to Narrowing ICPs 
  • [29:31] On CMO Huddles 
  • [32:00] Managing multiple ICPs 
  • [36;34] Aligning with Sales 
  • [38:04] Tech Stacks for B2B Targeting 
  • [41:16] Data to inform future decisions 
  • [43:36] Words of wisdom: Tightening your ICP

Highlighted Quotes  


“We do two-week sprints. We launch tactics to ICPs and if it isn't working, or we're getting feedback or unsubscribes, then we're certainly going to pivot and refine those strategies.” —@KayceeKalpin @PremierHA Share on X


“The sooner we can get the company to discipline themselves to focus on their ICP, the less money, time, and resources we’ll spend on those leads that will ultimately not benefit our company.” —@JanetJaiswal @Cloudbeds Share on X 

Jan Deahl

“Think of ICPs in terms of three buckets: Build your persona or your personas, build your industry targets, and then build your firm targets, firmographics, etc.” —Jan Deahl @DrakeStar_ Share on X

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Kaycee Kalpin, Janet Jaiswal, & Jan Deahl


Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m excited that you’re here to listen to another episode of Renegade Marketers Unite. And if this is your first time listening then welcome. This show is brought to you by CMO Huddles, the only marketing community dedicated to inspiring B2B greatness and that has a logo featuring penguins. Wait, what? Yeah, well, a group of these curious, adaptable, and problem solving birds is called the Huddle. And the B2B marketers at CMO Huddles are all that and more. Huddling together to heat up the coldest job in the C-Suite. And now that CMO Huddles has three membership tiers, we’re ready to inspire B2B greatness at all levels. To learn more, check out

Now before we get to the episode, here’s a shout out to the professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with him over a year ago to make this show even better and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers. Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, the top rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing obsessed individuals. You’re about to listen to a recording of CMO Huddles Studio, our live show featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles, a community that’s sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness every day of the week.

This time we’ve got a conversation with

I’m your host Drew Neisser live from my home studio in New York City. For many CMOs, 2023 has been a year of proverbial belt-tightening in which these marketers are being asked to do more with less budget, less staff, and maybe even less tech. This in turn forces the marketer to make some really hard choices, especially when it comes to targeting. Do we try to reach more people less frequently? Or do we narrow our target and hope we can convert more of a small group? What’s particularly interesting here is that refining one’s target into what the industry calls an “ICP” or Ideal Customer Profile can actually propel growth. In a podcast I did with Narine Galstian of SADA Systems, their decision to focus on only one cloud platform rather than three, led to a doubling of their business. So on today’s episode of CMO Huddle Studios, we’re going to explore the notion of narrowing your ICP as a growth accelerator and how three of CMOs have approached this challenge. With that, let’s bring on Kaycee Kalpin, the CMO of Premier Inc. Hello, Kaycee, how are you?

Kaycee Kalpin: Hi, I’m great Drew. Thanks for having me.

Drew Neisser: It’s great that you’re here. First of all also, tell me where are you?

Kaycee Kalpin: I am in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you know Charlotte, I’m in the Valentine area about 10 minutes from one of Premier’s corporate headquarters.

Drew Neisser: Very cool. And so talk a little bit about implementing agile marketing at Premiere and what that means exactly.

Kaycee Kalpin: That’s usually what people ask because it’s probably what I’ve done the most thought leadership on. And right at the start of the pandemic, I had a team that was 100% in the office, and doing stand ups where we literally stood up in a circle every Monday morning and talk through our projects and goals for the week. When we all shut down our offices and went remote, we had to get super creative. So we explored and got the team certified in something called “Agile Marketing” similar to agile for software developers. So we now speak the same language as our tech team does. And essentially there are several different models you can take, but you run sprints based on what your priorities and goals are. People really start to color outside of the lines of what their job roles are. What I found is that we had centers of excellence that would have capacity or be over deployed at certain times and so people would start learning new roles and start really working together to get to a certain area outcome or a certain goal with a campaign, and our campaigns became much more integrated, and much more minimum viable. Sometimes we over-engineer design and video and things that don’t necessarily need to be over-engineered to get to the outcome that we need. So that’s a little bit about agile.

Drew Neisser: And it’s cool, I have all sorts of thoughts going on. One of the benefits of that, that I hadn’t really thought about in this world where marketers talk about this notion of CMO+, whatever role you were doing, you’re expanding and getting a greater understanding of marketing. And I didn’t connect that with agile but now that it makes sense, because collectively this scrum has a job to get done. And do we really care who does it as long as we get it done in a particular timeframe. The point that you make about minimum viable marketing is an interesting one and I guess we’re thinking about microcampaigns and other things like that. Not big picture like brand, but we’re just talking about, we got to get this type of execution out the door.

Kaycee Kalpin: Yeah, deploying tactics and strategies around an ICP is a great example. When you narrow your focus, and you have a really compelling message with a highly differentiated offering that is great for an ICP, what are the minimum amount of touches you need, or tactics you need in order to convert that person to a conversation is really where we were at. So this is a great conversation to apply some agile principles to.

Drew Neisser: So well, explain the process that you have gone through at Premier to get to an ICP?

Kaycee Kalpin: It’s so fascinating for our company, because 90% of our revenue comes from our existing base. So we’re very much a crosssell and upsell type of company, and sales and marketing tactics align to that. And so within healthcare—which we are a healthcare performance improvement company, we have a large tech stack and service offerings to align with helping hospitals and health systems improve their performance all across the board—and within healthcare people buy in committees. And so really understanding, my most sophisticated marketers are not necessarily marketers that have master’s degrees in marketing, or journalism or comms, they’re ones that know the business and our accounts so incredibly well that we can segment our accounts, we can narrow in on who the buying committee is, and we can create ICPs based on information that we have. And I think we’ll probably talk a little bit more about this later, but an addition to intent data has been really critical for us in designing and deploying strategies on our ICPs. So not just saying, “This person is perfect for this solution, or this account is perfect for the solution”, but actually demonstrating and showing and measuring that they have some intent to buy or are in a cycle to buy us or a competitor.

Drew Neisser: So let me make sure I’m understanding this, your existing customers within them, there’s a lot more opportunity to crosssell upsell to them. And so within there, you’re refining who represents that ICP, that ideal prospect, if you will. And that’s a little twist on it, because a lot of people think about it as, alright, I’ve got this company, they’re in this category, they look like this, they behave like this and I’m gonna go for another company. But here we’re talking about individuals within an existing customer. So how are you tightening or expanding that in our current economic situation? And talk a little bit about this in more detail in terms of what those folks look like and how you work with them.

Kaycee Kalpin: So Premier represents and is connected to 76% of all hospitals and health systems in the nation. So the other 24% is what we would call green space or available to us to add to our existing market share. But like I said, for the most part, we’re selling into the same space additional products and services. So with developing an ICP you have to get incredibly creative with understanding your accounts, understanding, obviously, any sort of publicly available data within the account plan or within other systems that personified them, or help you identify them as being in need of your solution. But it also comes down to, who have we sold to in the past, who’s been a champion of our products and services, who has existing data feeds or technologies or platforms that are ours, that would be an easy build, if we were to upsell a certain solution. So you’re adding in a ton of different data layers to really not only find like what does the ideal customer profile look like, but who is scoring within those ICPs? Who’s more likely to buy based on all this other information?

Drew Neisser: In my mind I’m going, whoa, it’s a lot of inputs. How do you sort through it?

Kaycee Kalpin: I have a few really amazing marketing analysts on my staff, we are given permission in Salesforce to view and mine account plans that give us some really great information. And we just transitioned to having not free text within account plans, but more structured data so that we could mine some of those and a ton of Excel spreadsheets, a ton of analytics and dashboards, we use both Tableau and Dataroma to sort of surface those. And then once we have our accounts, and or our personas identified, we tag them in Salesforce so that we can track penetration of those accounts, or personas, or engagement score increases, etc.

Drew Neisser: And is there a point in time where you have some theories about this narrow customer, and you just say, “That theory is wrong.” Or where you’re to a place where you say, we’re gonna throw somebody out, we thought an ICP for a particular product or service looked like this. And then you just go in there, you gotta move on.

Kaycee Kalpin: Oh, every day. That’s the beauty in data and in applying agile principles, is that you can test and learn and refine. The days in my organization of creating an annual marketing plan are completely over. Like we do two week sprints, we launched tactics to ICPs, and if it isn’t working, or we’re getting feedback, or unsubscribes, then we’re certainly going to pivot and refine those strategies for sure. The other element of all of this, like I said, is the inclusion and the new modernization of data to include intent data, and to be able to see—yes, they meet my criteria, but are they in a buying cycle for us or our solution?

Drew Neisser: I’m imagining two week plans, and having to live with that. And I’m sweating over it. And I’m feeling the pain of your teams of that notion that there are no annual plans, we’re going to come back to that, because that’s gonna create some other operational challenges, not just for your team, but for the whole org. So we’ll come back to that. But let’s bring on Janet Jaiswal, VP Global Marketing at Cloudbeds. Hello, Janet, nice to see you again.

Janet Jaiswal: Hi Drew, excited to be part of the conversation.

Drew Neisser: And where are you this lovely day?

Janet Jaiswal: I’m in Silicon Valley, California. So physically, somewhere between San Jose and San Francisco, even though my company is headquartered in San Diego, California.

Drew Neisser: And I think we talked about this, there’s a lot of virtualness to your company, which with the word “cloud”, one would think that kind of would be part of it.

Janet Jaiswal: Yeah, our company is 100% remote. And so we have employees in more than 40 countries that speak more than 30 languages and customers in about 150+ countries. So being remote is the only way that we can possibly service that many customers and be in that many markets.

Drew Neisser: Amazing. So you got an MBA at Carnegie Mellon University, and I guess it’s the Tepper School of Business and earned an award for outstanding achievement and Alumni of the Year. What does it take to be Alumni of the Year?

Janet Jaiswal: To tell you the truth, I don’t really know. But it might have to do with how much I learned at CMU at Tepper School of Business and perhaps how I applied it to my early career. It’s a sharp contrast with what I learned during my undergrad at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. CMU, it’s more of a quantitative MBA. And so that’s how it influenced my career as a marketer, I learned the importance of applying a rigorous analytical approach to making better decisions in marketing. As a result, I’m very data driven, right in terms of determining what’s working and why that continues to serve me today in my current company.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, and I feel like this is going to be a good transition to the subject at hand, using data—we talked a little bit about that with Kaycee to help develop an ideal customer profile—but talk a little bit about the process that you’ve gone through at Cloudbeds for that.

Janet Jaiswal: And let me give some context, because how we develop our ICP, some parts of it are industry specific. So Cloudbeds is a vertical SaaS provider. So we focus on the lodging industry, meaning the folks that run hotels, hostels, etc. And we provide them with the hospitality platform that runs many aspects of the business, everything from helping their properties to grow revenue streamline operations, enabling them to create memorable guest experiences. So when it comes to developing our ICP, we do have some industry specific needs. But first, let me step back and say that we’re very disciplined when it comes to identifying our ICP, and then making sure that the entire company’s efforts are focused on those ICP needs. So from the early days of the founding of our company, we did the research and went through a lot of trial and error on potential markets, buyer characteristics to identify product market fit. And low and behold, we realized that the SMB market was not being addressed as well by tech solution providers. So that’s where we started our initial focus, we wanted to even the playing field so smaller lodging businesses, would also have access to the same services products that a Marriott or Hilton or Hyatt would. And so for us, part of that success early on in our company was to form our own team of researchers, we refer to them as a market intelligence group. This is the group that collected information on our target buyers, that helped us to determine the size of our TAM as well as our SAM, Target Addressable Market and Servicable Available Market. So we knew which countries had the most potential, as well as the characteristics of the types of lodging businesses that could benefit most from our solution. So product market fit was something that we had to get right very early on. And so we started with the SMB market that targeted leisure travelers. However, the information we needed to identify these types of properties weren’t necessarily captured by traditional data providers. So our internal research team also had to create our initial target list, and find information that’s unique to our industry, such as the number of rooms in each property, and that helped us to stay focused on our ICP. To this day, our internal team is still the most effective option when it comes to refining our prospects to those that are the best fit for us. So for example, when we come back from a trade show, the research team enriches all of those leads with the right information. So then we know these are ICP, these are little bit outside of ICP, so then we can prioritize and focus on the ones that we know is a good product market fit.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, oh, there’s so much to unpack there. And it’s so interesting, you define the target from the beginning with the problem that they had so you could fulfill that. But I also think this notion of the Market Intelligence Group, because not every company has that. And so they might rely on a third party to do it or it’s somewhere in the middle and rev ops or something. And I love the name of the to Market Intelligence Group, it’s very clear. I know it sounds silly, but not every group, not every company has that. Then that added step of making sure—because often when tradeshow leads come in, they either go to sales or marketing or someone in events, and then their job is to sort through them—but they may or may not have exactly the same criteria that your market intelligence group has worked out. They own it, right. I think that’s so important. Somebody has to own this. Because in economies of targeting everybody, obviously is a problem.  

All right, so we’ve talked a little bit about it in other forums about, you start with SMB, the usual path for most SaaS companies to service SMBs is to eventually go upmarket, right? Because it’s natural. It’s like, it’s just the same way with the enterprise, they were enterprise, maybe we need to go down to mid market now. And everybody’s looking to grow. And then they do it, which means in some ways, expanding ICP. So talk a little bit about first, you know, has the target continue, even within you talked about hotels as service leisure industries? How has that tightened over time with at least the SMBs?

Janet Jaiswal: You’re right, in that we’ve expanded, we’ve gone up market, it has expanded in terms of the size of our TAM and SAM. The way we’ve tightened our focus is really just doing constant testing. We’re very disciplined about testing and to a certain extent, because we’re targeting smaller customers, or we used to, we had a lot of data, you can’t really do this for enterprise where you have a few deals, and they’re huge. So we’ve always been able to take a data driven approach that way. So we’re constantly testing things we’re constantly testing, do we have the right criteria, because it varies from market to market. In our case, our market is a country. What is in Brazil is different than what’s in Spain, or in the UK or in Canada. But we are constantly testing new messaging, new campaigns, pricing changes products. And we also keep an eye out on macro and micro economic factors, because they affect travel patterns, and therefore our target markets demand. As I mentioned earlier, because we are a remote first workplace, it allows us to shift our focus to different countries where there’s stronger demand. So we continue to keep an eye out as to what is changing. And so that’s how we’re able to stay disciplined is we’ve developed a set of criteria. It’s very cross functional. So it’s not just marketing and sales at the table. product has a seat finance has a seat as well as strategy. And so we look at all of the criteria and make sure that does this market and does this ICP, continue to fit that. And if it doesn’t, maybe it’s a temporary thing. That’s cool. We’ll go back to it later. But we use that to prioritize where our resources go. So our criteria has, you know, what’s the market potential. For that geographic area, we apply a bunch of financial criteria, we look at the competitive strength, we look at our ability to serve them, as well as product capabilities, because the requirements vary from country to country. And so while we may do it on a country by country basis, you can easily apply that to your clusters within your ICP. So we formalize that process of, not just doing that initial analysis, but continuing to refine it. And so that helps us to continue to stay focused, as much as possible, on our ICP.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. So it comes down to the process and the testing and all of this because again, in your case, with all the different countries, there’s obviously a lot of variables at stake. So okay, I think I have a sense of this. We’re gonna bring on Jan Deahl now. Jan is the Executive Director and Head of Marketing at Drake Star. Hello, Jan, how are you today?

Jan Deahl: Hey, Drew I’m great. Thanks for having me. Fascinating discussion already.

Drew Neisser: I know my head is spinning at all this testing that the folks and all the variables that need to be tested. But before we get there, where are you today?

Jan Deahl: I live in Fort Lee, New Jersey and I work in midtown Manhattan.

Drew Neisser: There you go. All right. Fun fact, I saw on LinkedIn that you lived in Hong Kong for seven years. Talk about that.

Jan Deahl: That was phenomenal personally and professionally, just different cultures, languages, food, and the business landscape. Part of this discussion we’ve already hit on, global businesses, I think that gave me a really great perspective for a complex business landscape, different markets, entrepreneurial, great opportunity. So it was awesome.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, I have never worked in a foreign country. But there’s still time. It’s never too late. Yeah, CMO, Huddles can work anywhere, as our producer well knows and so to others. Okay. So we’ve talked about process so far, talk about your process for a developing an ideal customer profile.

Jan Deahl: Yeah, thanks. And I think listening to Janet and Kaycee and I’ve been at this for over two decades, it’s so situational. The way I come from it at this angle, my mission, is to build marketing efforts to drive revenue. I want to win, I want to crush the competition. And I think of this more as not an exercise but as a mindset as like a way of operating. Obviously, you need to drive revenue, you need to sell products, you need to understand your buyer landscape. And it can be very simple. It can be very complex, I think of it in terms of three buckets, build your persona or your personas, build your industry targets, and then build your firm targets, firma graphics, etc. And then as Janet started layering in, you have the regional, global etc. And then a lot of the things we’ve talked about. First of all, I think the best marketing organizations are competitively aware, they understand their industry dynamics, the competitive landscape, the buyers. So using your own knowledge, immersing yourself in the industry, and then where are you winning big if you’re an enterprise solution, your CRM, your marketing teams knowledge, your sales teams, knowledge, databases, a lot of this we’ve already talked about. And the final point I would say, is continually testing. And this is not just marketing’s job, obviously, this is the organization’s job, sales, marketing, leadership, product, everyone should be aware of the ideal customer profile and profiles.

Drew Neisser: One of the things we haven’t really talked about yet, this is probably sooner than we should, but as you’re talking and I’m thinking about your mission statement of marketing efforts that drive revenue, there are a lot of different kinds of revenue. There are customers who actually end up costing you money, because their service requirements are so high, they’re so painful, right? They’re the kind of customer that tends to just be a whiner and creates bad reviews. And then they’re sort of the quiet customer that stays for you for 10 years. The lifetime value is extraordinary, and is a referral provider and as a case history. So I’m trying to wrap my mind around those sorts of aspects of ideal customer profiles, because so far we’re really talking about—because they kind of look like your old customer, they look like this, they behave in a certain way. But it feels like there’s more that could go into this.

Jan Deahl: That’s great point, Drew. It’s a good way to think about it. I mean, I think it’s funny. I’ve had situations over my career where we’ve fired clients. We basically said this client is too difficult, the revenue is too low and it’s for a product that is not a focus. And I think that does help you tighten your ICP over time you get a sense for, okay, we have these buckets of, let’s call it product line, for example, fixed income is doing poorly. Equities is doing really well. Okay, focus on equities, what types of clients are buying equities versus fixed income? And then you can also start to look at, wow, this client type or persona A, we’re crushing it. And B, we have sort of a few stragglers, and they’re a pain and it’s requiring a lot of resources to manage. So go all in on type A.

Drew Neisser: Over the years when Renegade was an active agency, there were occasion where we had some of those clients that we did fire, but let’s face it, that there’s a challenge that you need that revenue and you want that revenue. And it takes a lot of courage to say, “You know what, they’re not right for us.”

Jan Deahl: That’s clearly the rare extreme. But I think that’s an example of taking that rare extreme, and then playing it out and saying, “Look, we’ve learned from this experience with this type of client, this product, etc. Why are we wasting time here when we can be going all in here?” So you don’t have to fire the client, but you can use it as a learning example.

Drew Neisser: Oh, no, you got to fire the client.

Jan Deahl: Okay, fine. All right.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. I mean, let’s just be clear about that. There are times when you really have to, because it’s bringing the whole organization down, but it’s painful. So are there any successes or failures that you can point to over the last few years in terms of narrowing your ICP?

Jan Deahl: Look, I’ve seen two types of failures. One doing nothing. And two, doing too much. There are some phenomenal marketing teams out there and efforts and there are some poor ones. I can tell from listening to Kaycee and Janet, these are pros that understand revenue generatio. Doing nothing bucket—I’m in marketing, I talk about my product, I talk about my firm, who am I talking to? Oh, how’s it working? Is your message resonating? Are you winning business? Oh, well, that sales’ job. And by the way, Drew, it is easy to talk about yourself and your product, it is very difficult to speak to multiple ICPs across different industries, different companies, different geographies, put yourself in their shoes and talk about their pain points. So doing nothing is one thing, just I market my product. And on the flip side, doing too much. We have 10 ICPs across all these different industries, we have complex personas and journey maps, it’s like, okay, great if you, A, need to do that, and B, if you have the resource to do it. But complexity for complexity sake is a nightmare. So to this whole discussion around tightening, the successes I’ve seen, threading that needle, you understand who your best clients are, where you’re winning, you make tough decisions at the organization level, this is working, these aren’t and then you tune everything towards those.

Drew Neisser: I want to ask just one follow up question on this, and then we’ll move on. I’m thinking about the sales person. And I’m thinking about the person who gets heavily commission based. And their incentive is not bringing the ideal customer profile, their incentive is to bring in a customer, because, again, they’re gonna bring in a customer, that’s how they get paid. How do you make sure because marketing’s job is to set up that opportunity. But it’s simply a matter of not handing over non-ICPs. How do you rein in the sales guys who just want to sell stuff?

Jan Deahl: I think it’s a fantastic point, because there’s ICP, and there’s ACP, there’s like, well, we could sell to anybody in the world. But back to my mission to drive revenue. One of the things I do, always, is partner with sales, and I think I have grown to have a huge amount of respect for sales over the years. We sit down, we talk about this together and of course hey Drew, you got this one off client mandate, go win it. But we’re gonna sit down together and say, “What is the big bucket of opportunity?” Sales doesn’t want one and done, they want a reliable pipeline and revenue stream. So we should be on the same page there. If we’re not there’s a problem.

Drew Neisser: All right. I’m with Yep. Great. So this is the moment where I get to talk a little bit about CMO Huddles, and I will then bring all of you all back and talk about it with me. So launched in 2020, CMO Huddles is an exclusive community of over 100 highly effective B2B CMOs, who share, care, and dare each other to greatness just about every day of the week. One CMO describes Huddles as a cross between an executive workshop and a therapy session. Given how hard things are getting out there, who doesn’t need a little reassurance that they’re not alone? Everything about CMO Huddles is designed to be a force multiplier, helping you to make faster, better, and more informed decisions. Since no CMO can outwork this crazy job, CMO Huddles is here to help you outsmart it. So Kaycee, Janet, Jan, here’s a quick question, are you on the therapy side, or the executive workshop side?

Janet Jaiswal: Mostly on the executive workshop side, but occasionally, the therapy side because sometimes we need to talk to those that are in our shoes, and can inherently understand what we’re going through. I love hearing from other CMOs on how they tackle challenges. I also like that CMO Huddles is a great resource for recommendations, whether that’s a vendor or a framework or an approach to a certain problem. I always get new ideas to try.

Drew Neisser: Thank you so much for that. Jan, how about you?

Jan Deahl: Yeah, definitely executive workshop side. I have plenty of problems in life, that’s why I have a therapist for the therapy. But I love having these discussions interacting with amazing CMOs like Kaycee and Janet. It’s fun. I learned a lot, both great networking learning, and it makes me better at my day job at my current company every day.

Drew Neisser: I love it. Okay, well, Kaycee, you’re relatively new to CMO Huddles? So how’s it going so far?

Kaycee Kalpin: I have to say all of the above everything that Janet and Jan mentioned. On the therapy side, it can be lonely being a CMO. Not everyone understands marketing, it’s hard to really connect with your CFO, particularly if you have heavy brand versus performance marketing initiatives going on. And so from a therapy lens, it’s nice to have other people to sort of rely on and make sure you’re not feeling crazy out there all alone.

Drew Neisser: I love it. All right. Well, I really appreciate the three of your comments and if you’re a B2B CMO, do yourself a favor check out

Okay, so we’ve started to talk about this subject of marketing against multiple ICPs. Both Jan and Kaycee, you really  leaned in to test, test, test. But I’m trying to get at this thing, and I’m still sort of thinking about Kaycee, two weeks sprints. And I want to get Jan and Janet on this. Are you looking at two week plans? Or do you have quarterly or annual? Janet? Where are you on your planning cycle?

Janet Jaiswal: We’re still a bit on the smaller side. So we are definitely have had to be more dynamic. It’s also part of our culture, so we don’t have a formal process for how often we look. But we know that as market conditions change, we have to change. It is a real challenge because we market both to SMB as well as upmarket mid market plus, and each of those requires a different marketing and sales motion. One’s a volume based game with fast sales cycles, and very few decision makers. And the other is a longer sales cycle with multiple decision makers, so requires more of an ABM motion. It’s a constant effort of prioritization and discipline.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, it takes different skills. And I’m just sort of wondering, I’m assuming that the reason that you added the ICP is that you saw that ultimately, you can’t hit your growth objectives just by staying in this more narrow definition. Is that right?

Janet Jaiswal: Yeah, we did the analysis, we saw the size of the market. And when the product was ready, that’s when we moved. We still had both, but we go where there’s market potential, and product market fit.

Drew Neisser: I’m gonna come back to you now, Kaycee. So we’re doing two week sprints, and we have multiple ICPs, how do you keep your team sane and keep it all in the air?

Kaycee Kalpin: It’s a heavily matrix organization. So we’re actually organized in sort of centers of excellence where you have creatives and you have writers and you have strategists, and you have digital and social but creating cross divisional teams on certain campaigns, or certain ICPs —certainly we’ve done that before—allows for breaking down the silos and people to help towards a goal. Now when I say I have two week sprints, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have plans or strategies or goals that exceed the arm of two weeks. The idea is, instead of the team, the engine creating all of the assets to build a campaign or all of the deliverables to build a campaign in silos, we’re making sure things are going through an assembly line to get in the market as quickly as possible to test and learn and that’s the idea of an agile approach.

Drew Neisser: Got it? Jan, as you’re hearing these thoughts. I’m curious of your thoughts on managing multiple ICPs.

Jan Deahl: I think it’s interesting, the agile framework. I’m a big believer on setting a strategy and a plan up front like I don’t think that should have dramatic changes on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Now, it’s always evolving, and you’re always hopefully improving. But whether it’s ICP, or whether it’s your marketing plan and strategy, I want to set that up front. I want to have tough decisions with sales with product with leadership team. Are we on the right page, challenge me, tell me where I’m wrong. Is this the right claim profile, the right competitive dynamics. So sound strategy and plan upfront and then iterating and evolving as far as managing multiple ICPs, I’ve seen different frameworks. When I was in asset management, we had institutional, we had intermediary, and we had retail. And then global businesses, we had channel marketing, right, channel marketing, institutional loans, the institutional client base, works with the institutional sales team, intermediary, retail, and then region’s on top of that. And then finally, if your organization is big enough, we had people on the intermediary side that were managing the wire houses like UBS, J.P. Morgan, Wells, because they’re managing trillions of dollars. It comes back to, how complex is your landscape and what resource do you have? Of course, the more granular you can get, and the more resource you can put against it, that’s fantastic. But you got to be very careful. If I would say, err on the side of narrow versus broad, depending on your resources.

Drew Neisser: Janet, I want to dig a little bit deeper in the sales part of evolving ICPs. Particularly if you’re tightening, because this is the moment we’re saying, you know what, we have a much smaller target than you thought we did, and here they are, how do you manage that?

Janet Jaiswal: Probably the most important thing is that sales and marketing are equal partners at the table. We have to be tightly aligned in our approach, and have been from the beginning. And we make decisions jointly. In fact, we even present to the board jointly as part of go-to-market. So we’re constantly going back and forth on slides, because we don’t want to be treated as different departments were measured, when you look at financial metrics, a magic number, LTV over CAC, it’s not, oh, here’s marketing contribution to it, and sales, it’s together. Those have been some of the ways that we make sure that we’re aligned. But our job in marketing is to generate qualified leads and theirs is to close them. We know that we can’t be successful without each other. We also had to be tightly aligned, because we can’t generate leads in markets where we don’t have sales folks. And vice versa. We have sales folks, marketing has to feed them leads that way, we make sure that whenever we’re considering expanding our ICP or changing it, we’re aligned very closely. And we are both measure on the exact same thing, which is revenue. That’s different. Our CEO, he never wants to hear how many MQLs I have to generate to hit that revenue goal, that’s something we keep inside.

Drew Neisser: I so fully embraces that perspective. And I just wonder how many CMOs in the Huddles community, one, are measured on exactly the same goal, and then, two, present every other slide. I just love that vision. And that visual folks doing it because the alignment is what matters and even if you have an incredibly complex sales cycle, where marketing touches 70% along the way, it doesn’t matter. The alignment really matters. So I appreciate that. Kaycee, let’s talk about the tech that you’re using as you approach targeting and ICP development.

Kaycee Kalpin: It’s a lot about data integration from a lot of different systems. So as we develop our ICPs, and we’re an organization with 180 different skews, so we have a lot of ICPs. So as we approach that we pull from publicly available data, like I said, we pull from Salesforce account plans information we have on the accounts that we have or competitive information that we populated in Salesforce. Once we have our ICPs and or account segmentation done, we load it into our CRM so that we can track engagement level increases penetration pipeline driven based on our campaigns and tactics. So the main tech stack that we’re talking about is for healthcare, it’s like a definitive health care. There are a lot of other databases for other industries, of course, Salesforce, a few Salesforce plugins that allow us to have data flowing. In addition to that we’ve layered on a account based marketing tool. We’ve historically used terminus, we’re switching to 6sense, which is a more premium tool, but we’ve gotten more sophisticated and need the premium features. That’s the additional layer of okay, this account or segment or persona is ideal for my offering, how do I know if they’re even in a cycle to buy? Are there scoring mechanisms that I can apply to this segment in order to know that they’re searching for a competitor and pull them closer up in the priority list for us to do outreach, etc.

Drew Neisser: And I’m thinking about this intent data is a conversation, obviously, it comes up a lot in Huddles, and we’ll be talking about it next month when we talk about creative pipeline solutions, and one thought occurred to me is that you could sort of discover with intent data, that one ICP that you have has no intent, because they’re not showing up. And you had the greatest plans in the world that this was gonna be this group, this is it, and they don’t do it. And so that’s gotta be game changing.

Kaycee Kalpin: Yeah, well, the other thing you can do Drew is with limited resources, you can focus your effort, let’s say you have a universe of ICPs, and the cost per lead, or the acquisition class per opportunity, or however you’re measuring, and you need to really focus your efforts, maybe layering in some intent data can help you focus on the top 25%.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, really what this comes down to this thinking about the business as demand capture, and demand creation. This whole conversation, at least now is moving into demand capture, because the ICP that says I have intent is a lot better than the ICP that doesn’t show any intent. So those folks can be captured. Jan, as you’re listening to this, because this is a lot about measuring success in the measurements that you track, what are you looking at in terms of helping you look at the data that you have to sort of inform future decisions about ICP?

Jan Deahl: Kaycee and Janet talked about two important things, there’s sort of your ICP and where that lives and hopefully, there’s a set or ICP central source of truth, ideally, your CRM as a start, and organizations have trouble with that, that takes a lot of work to get the right tags, enter the right data, then you’re pulling in third party data on top of that. And then targeting. There’s so much you can do there with modern technology and tools today. We’ve been talking the whole hour about this revenue. So I think the traditional marketing funnel as in awareness, engagement, and then like when I sort of try to flip it and think like revenue wins, where are we winning? Where are we winning big? And then pipeline opportunities, demos, calls, etc, on down to engagement and awareness metrics. And this gets back to marketing, sales alignment, it’s not marketing, it’s not sales, it’s revenue. Now that said, you could be in a business that is winning five accounts a year or something like that, where your big picture call it “marketing metrics” can tell you a lot. We talked about ABM tools, you can use Madison Logic, 6sense now. So you can look at persona A persona B across 1000s and 1000s of touches and say, this is working really well, we’re getting a lot of engagement, this is nowhere. So you can certainly use those metrics to inform if you don’t have a lot of the other revenue metrics, like what is our pipeline look like? What are our biggest clients? Where are we winning?

Drew Neisser: All good stuff. So this is a moment in just a minute, I’m going to ask for your wisdom, your final words of wisdom for other CMOs when it comes to tightening your ICP. But of course, for words of wisdom, my go to source is Ben Franklin. And as I think about this conversation, I think he would say, “It is common for people to give pretended reasons instead of one real one.” The real reason for tightening your ICP is because you want to be more efficient. That’s what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to match, we’ve got something to sell, you’ve got something that you need. Let’s match it. So no pretended reasons, let’s focus on the real one. All right, let’s start with Janet final words of wisdom for other CMOs when it comes to tightening your ICP.

Janet Jaiswal: So this may sound obvious, but it is surprisingly effective, which is the sooner we can get the company to discipline themselves to focus on their ICP, the less money time and resources that we will spend on those leads, because they will ultimately not benefit our company. We’ve learned the hard way that oh, here’s this customer. They’re excited. They’re not a good fit, but they really want to buy from us. We went and sold to them. And guess what? It ended up killing a bunch of organizational resources because we had to make some tweaks to sell to them and ultimately they turned. So what was the point of spending all that time and effort only to find out that eventually they were unhappy? So back to just being disciplined the first time and resisting that temptation.

Drew Neisser: Right, because if you have ideal customer profile, and you sell to them, and they buy with a higher frequency, and they’re happy, and then you find that next one that looks like it, your chances of success and keeping that long term value are good. Okay, Kaycee, what are your words of wisdom?

Kaycee Kalpin: I’m gonna build on Janet’s discipline, because I think that’s so important. This whole conversation we’ve been having has assumed that everyone stacks hands on ICPs. But sometimes that’s the hardest part is getting sales, marketing and leadership alignment on how its defined and who we are going to focus on. So I would just say that is the most critical step do not move forward without sales alignment, and an ability to measure an impact. And that can happen in an Excel sheet, or in a CRM. It can be simple or complex, but alignment across all teams and a commitment and, like Janet said, discipline to that criteria is really important.

Drew Neisser: Stick to it. I love it and get aligned. Okay, Jan, bring us home with some final words of wisdom.

Jan Deahl: I mean, you nailed it with your question Drew, tighten it. It’s called ideal customer profile for a reason. So it’s not any customer in the world. I think if I have to err on one side too broad or narrow, I want to go narrow. So tight knit, be disciplined, and that requires tough conversations at the organization all the way up to leadership. So have those difficult conversations and make bets on where you’re most likely to win.

Drew Neisser: You’re so right. And it’s about having the courage to force everybody in the organization to get on the same page and commit to a target and then go for it and really do it. Well. Okay, great. Thank you, Kaycee, Janet, Jan, you’re all great sports. Thank you, audience for staying with us.

To hear more conversations like this one and submit your own questions while we’re live. Join us on the next CMO Huddles Studio. We stream to my LinkedIn profile, that’s Drew Neisser, every other week.

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and our B2B podcast partners Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro Voice Over is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about B2B branding, CMO Huddles, or my CMO coaching service, check out I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!