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By Brian Gillette · March 2, 2024

How to Use Data to Find the Perfect Customer

How do you develop an ideal customer profile (ICP)? It takes more than writing out who you believe your target audience is. Using actual data in this process is extremely important.

Use Your Data

Let’s say for example I have three customers to whom I am providing my Managed IT Services. One of them is a doctor’s office, another is a lawyer’s office and the third is an accounting office. All of them have roughly the same number of users.

Draw Parallels

In this scenario we’ve got three customers here from very different industries. Accordingly they may have somewhat varied requirements. Drawing parallels between them is critical, not only to developing our ICP, but also for optimizing our use of resources and making strategic decisions about the delivery of our services.

Compare KPIs across customers

How do my customers compare across relevant metrics? Determine which metrics reflect your ability to serve the client. This might include # of support tickets, response time, closure rate, system uptime/downtime, or cost per user.

In this case we might examine for each:

  • What's the average number of tickets per user?

  • What are my hours spent supporting each user?


Imagine that we discover it takes twice as much work for me to support the doctor as it does to support the lawyer. It wouldn’t be surprising. It’s incredibly difficult for a Small-to-Midsize MSPs to protect a wide range of clients at the same level.

With support data in hand it’s quite easy to understand the true revenue generated per user per industry. What may seem profitable on the surface may reveal a different story.

Through this process you are likely to discover that your organization’s skill set naturally lends itself to a certain clientele. It may make sense to reevaluate whether other customers make sense in your long term plans to scale.


You might in fact say,

“Yes, I really like this customer on a personal level, but they may not be ideal due to the nature of their industry... as their requirements don’t match up with my workflow."

Are you saying ‘no’ to your ideal customer?

That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? The possibility of turning away the exact kind of client that you want, yet it happens. Managed Services Providers may find themselves spread too thin, and struggle to take on new customers.

As you conclude your analysis, imagine you decide that law firms are your sweet spot, and that doctors’ offices are better to be referred to an MSP who focuses exclusively on healthcare and in turn refers law offices back toward you.

This action not only gives you the breathing room for new ideal customers, but opens up new opportunities to improve your services to that unique industry.

Look for geographic parallels

Another vector in identifying your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), beyond their industry, should also include their physical locations.

Cloud technology makes servicing customers remotely much more feasible, but extending your expertise across vast distances has plenty of disadvantages. If your law firm in a far off city is recommending your services to similarly located businesses, this situation is only exacerbated further.

The power of geographic focus

"We do one thing. We support every law firm in El Paso." And maybe you develop a relationship with the chamber, maybe develop a relationship with the city council. Over time, you can start substantiating that and saying, "We're the premier Managed Service Provider for law firms offices in this city."

And you can substantiate that claim because you’ve built up the reputation, the case studies, and testimonials to support it. You’re the no-brainer choice for a new law firm in that city.

MSPs must take a careful look at the resources required to support their existing customers in a well functioning environment. If support hours required are out of line with industry standards for the support ticket lifecycle, additional measures may be in order to streamline your process. Utilizing this data to bring focus to your client prospecting and will ultimately help you mitigate risk while delivering services, create specialization and create long-term happy relationships with your customers.