Why Do Sales Development Reps Need IBP’s?

Let’s get aligned on these acronyms first:

  • SDRSales Development Representative (sometimes called Business Development Reps, or what we like to call Account Development Reps), junior employees who qualify accounts against a number of criteria.
  • MQAmarketing qualified account, a target account that has reached a level of engagement to indicate possible sales readiness
  • IBP – ideal buyer profile, the right people for an SDR/ADR to approach within your target accounts (including Marketing Qualified Accounts)

The first time any organization starts down the Account Based Everything path, they follow a process to success. It starts with account selection – the list of target accounts / existing customers that are most likely to deliver revenue.

Then, it’s critical to identify the right people to approach within those target accounts. And I don’t just mean an individual. In complex B2B sales cycles, deals happen by committee. The buyer is rarely one, isolated individual. Purchasing decisions at large companies can involve as many as 17 decision makers!

Account Based Marketing and Account Based Sales Development is not about casting a wide net – it’s about pinpointing sales and marketing activity with a spear. Remember, you’re not waiting for the members of a buying team and its key influencers to swim into your net. You need to identify them in advance so you can design strategies to reach them.

6 roles within every buying team

The first step is to identify the kinds of people you’ll want to reach. These are your Ideal Buyer Profiles (IBPs). This activity is most often led by marketing, and will include not just job titles (which vary widely from company to company) but also job function, discipline, seniority and priorities.


  1. Initiator: the person who starts the decision-making process.
  2. Decider: who makes the actual purchase decision.
  3. Buyer: who selects the suppliers and manages the buying process.
  4. Influencer: who contributes to the specifications and evaluation.
  5. User: who actually uses the product or service.
  6. Gatekeeper: who controls the ow of information in and out of the company.

After identifying the key buyer personas, marketing needs to build out profiles for each one: your IBPs. These are detailed portraits of the people in each role, including things like:

  • Demographics – age, seniority, salary range…
  • Psychographics – attitudes, beliefs and biases…
  • Job dynamics – day-in-the-life insights, pain points…
  • Key challenges – goals, strategies, pain points…
  • Background – career route, past roles, skills…

For instance, it’s not enough to know that you’re targeting the CMO in your target accounts. You ideally need to know that you’re reaching out
 to ‘brand-conscious CMOs obsessed with customer experience but without deep experience in digital’ as well as what kinds of messages and content they respond to.

Why does this matter?

Having the Ideal Buyer Profile helps SDRs in two important ways:

  1. They guide contact building – leading the reps to the most important people in the target accounts
  2. They help reps understand the person they’re prospecting – to know what drives them, what makes them tick, what language will resonate, etc.

Crisp and clear IBPs are an essential element to any ABSD strategy.

IBP is not a shortcut past insights

Although your Ideal Buyer Profiles can tell you a lot about what messages will resonate with a given buyer, they don’t completely replace your research on actual contacts. The best Account Based Sales teams know how to discover insights and deliver value for target accounts.

A crafted message to a persona in a specific industry is a powerful thing on its own – but relationship-building should also reflect the things they learn about each individual contact (a recent blog post they wrote; a speech they gave, etc.), especially for Tier 1 accounts. As you go lower down your account tiers, the base profile plays a bigger role in shaping interactions.

Download our free guide on this topic, The Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Sales Development to learn more.

Who develops IBPs for your SDRs? How’s it going?




Jon Miller
Jon Miller
Jon Miller is CEO and founder of Engagio. Previously, Jon was the VP Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo. He is a speaker and writer about marketing best practices, and is the author of multiple Definitive Guides including Marketing Automation, Engaging Email Marketing, and Marketing Metrics & Analytics. Jon has a passion for helping marketers everywhere, and is on the Board of Scripted and is an advisor to Optimizely and Newscred. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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