What’s an IPP—and (when) do you need one?

What’s an IPP—and (when) do you need one?

Martin Scholz & Bernhard Friedrichs 3 min

You probably know what an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) is. As Partner Manager, you may also have heard the term IPP (Ideal Partner Profile), which seems to be a “must-have” in partnerships. Let’s have a closer look at what these frameworks really are and when you need them. 

Let’s first have a look at the ICP concept

An ICP is basically a fact sheet describing parameters that a company should have so that your product or solution can create the most value for them. If a company matches the profile, it is an ideal prospect. The chances to win these companies as customers are very high. Typically, it also includes personas — the persons or roles within the company that should be targeted as leads. 


The ICP is based on learnings from current customers and previous opportunities. The main purpose of it is to have a blueprint for the Marketing and Sales team to scale their outreach (in other words, who should they try to talk to). When they are in touch with the prospective customer, they will use qualification methods like BANT or MEDDPIC to verify the opportunity. 


How does an ICP translate into an IPP? 

Your Ideal Partner Profile should be a fact sheet describing your perfect partner prospect — both on the company and persona levels. It should help others, like Marketing or SDRs, or your new team members, to reach out to the right people in the right companies when prospecting for new partners. 


In our recent post, we shared our “4 C’s Method” to verify that a partner prospect is qualified to work with to meet key business objectives you’ve set for your company. 


A qualified partner is different than one that matches your IPP, because IPPs can vary based on not just goals, but also type of partner, market, and more. You can have multiple IPPs, one for each type of partner you work with, or tier of partner in your program. And just because they fit an IPP doesn’t make them qualified. Apply the “4 C’s” to qualify them before signing an agreement.


How do you create an IPP? 

Similar to an ICP, IPPs should be based on your experiences with current partners and prospects you had in the past.

  • What are the similarities your most successful partners share?

  • What were the parameters of prospects who didn’t sign? (Check out our post, “Where to find your first partner”, for more information)


When you consider creating an IPP, you quickly realize two things: 

  • First, it doesn’t make sense to create an IPP unless you have gathered enough evidence and experience with your partner program to actually “profile” a successful partner. 

  • Second, you only need an IPP if you are looking to scale your partner base (with the help of other team members). 


If you are working with a handful of big strategic partners, you don’t need to create an IPP. Actually, you most likely wouldn’t be able to do so, since each partner might have a very individual profile and requires a unique partner value proposition.


Even if you are looking into scaling your partner program, keep in mind the golden rule of partnerships: “Quality over quantity.” It might be easy to recruit a lot of partners, but it’s quite a different game to onboard and enable them. Focus on a few partners who are fully committed and you will be more successful!


Here is an article including a free template for developing your IPP from PartnerStandard.



Martin Scholz & Bernhard Friedrichs 3 min

What’s an IPP—and (when) do you need one?

Discover the difference between ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and IPP (Ideal Partner Profile) and learn when and how to use them effectively. Here's a free template!

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