What’s the toughest decision to make when going out with friends?
Where to eat, right?
Different tastes and preferences. Different reasons why they want to eat this and that, why you want to go here and not there.
Gina wants a grilled burger.
Ally doesn’t want to sit outdoors.
Flo is on a low-fat diet but wants tasty desserts.
Richie wants to eat at a buffet but doesn’t want to spend more than $30.
Each one of your friends has different criteria in making this crucial decision.
Each one of your friends— and their set of preferences—is an example of a buyer persona. Gina wants this, Ally wants that.
In sales and marketing, knowing the preferences, backgrounds and other pertinent information about buyers is crucial.
Buyer personas are a tool to help understand buying decisions from the perspective of the buyers.
According to Hubspot,
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.
In every buying situation, different people take from different perspectives. Understanding the perspective of your buyers will allow you to sell and market better. You know what appeals to them, how they speak, what they like to see and what they don’t.
What’s in a buyer persona?
In our example, Gina, Ally and the rest of the gang are all different buyer personas. Not only do your friends have varying tastes, they also influence each other’s decisions.
In the B2B world, buyer personas are varied and numerous. Everyone who’s involved in the decision-making process should be considered when creating personas.
As an example, let’s say you’re selling marketing training to an information security company.
The first question to ask is this:
Who are the primary decision makers in this company?
Who are the people that influence their decisions?
The primary decision makers are the marketing heads, the owners, the C-suite.
The people who will and can influence the primary decision makers should also be profiled and analyzed. These personas impact buying decisions even when you think that their involvement in the process is minimal.
In this case, you have the marketing team, the sales enablement team, consultants, independent contractors for the marketing department, and the human resources department that oversees all training activities.
Why do you need to consider these people and include them when considering buyer personas?
In b2b sales, it’s rare that decisions are made by a single person. Most of the decisions are based on real metrics and real employee sentiment. Documents, pitches, whitepapers and sorts of content you use in the sales process get reviewed and passed around several sets of eyes. You need to convince each one of them to close the deal.
Sales Benefit: Buyer Personas
When you’re in an important meeting with a potential client, would you go into the meeting not knowing anything?
Of course not.
If there’s something the inbound movement has taught us, it’s that you should always know the person you want to speak to. You should always know your audience and play to the knowledge you have.
Today, social media has pervaded our lives—both personal and professional. Our interests, profiles, histories, resumes are all out in the open. A little bit of snooping around social profiles is sometimes the only thing you have to do to know your prospects much better.
Buyer personas demystify your audience. From a huge pool of people who seem to be so many, buyer personas force you to think of your prospects as individuals who make multi-layer decisions based on certain components of their persona.
When salespeople take time to develop buyer personas, they are taken to a journey of exploring the traits, personalities and character of prospects. This way, they can explore ways to communicate to the prospects in a way that will resonate with them.
Using buyer personas have been around for decades. However, while 44 percent of businesses create buyer personas, most of them don’t use them effectively. How many of them? 85 percent.
Leveraging Buyer Personas To Acquire Qualified Leads
Are you one of those sales leaders that feel like marketing collateral just doesn’t fit the audience you want to capture for your company?
Well, if this is the case, many sales organizations have already learned the hard way. Marketing materials that don’t fit only result to unqualified or poorly qualified leads that go straight to the trash after wasting so much selling time.
Marketing content with a poor fit is probably the result of sloppy development of buyer personas. In some cases, it’s caused by not creating buyer personas at all.
When there is an intricate, detailed and well fleshed-out persona, the marketing and sales enablement teams can work together to create content that supports the goals and success of the sales organization.
Of course, personas are not a magic bullet. However, it is the guide that leads the bullet to the target. Targeted content brings visitors into the funnel—deeper into it. Targeted content will generate leads because it puts content in front of people who are interested in it. Not could be interested, not probably interested. Buyer personas should take out the guess work. A review of buyer personas should allow the creation of content that speaks to your target audience.
Although qualified prospects have expressed interest by downloading your content and even giving some personal information, the first touch with the lead is still cold. If you go in cold without prior research into a prospect’s background, the likelihood of moving along the sales process is low.
However, if you’ve pinned down your buyer personas and have available content that caters to specific buyer personas, you will benefit greatly from this knowledge that a certain type of customer will be interested in a certain content piece on your site. This way, you are able to have a little bit of prior information. And we know that in sales, every little bit of info about the prospect helps.
To get the maximum benefit from buyer personas, effort and patience should be put into creating them.
For example, if you’re selling software in the SaaS model, you may want to target companies of medium size, not exceeding 100 employees.
Knowing this information helps you figure out if the lead is indeed qualified and if they fit your ideal customer profile.
Job Title and Description
We say that every person involved in the department where the product will be used is part of the buying process and should have a buyer persona. This is very important as the way you interact with prospects varies depending on their influence in the company, their accessibility and your prior research as to how they make decisions. Knowing their job title, what they do, which part of their job will be impacted directly by your product, knowing the data they care about, all of these are crucial and buyer personas can and should provide this info to sales and marketing teams.
Existing Tools and Technology
KPIs, Performance Goals and Revenue Goals
Pain Points and Struggles
Analyze The Precision Of Your Buyer Personas
Have you mastered the language of your prospects? How well do you know their pains and struggles? Are you serving up content that they need?
Having well thought-out buyer personas make life easier for your sales and marketing teams, and it ensures a steady stream of interest in your solution in the form of qualified leads.
FREE WHITE PAPER: Top 100 Marketing Influencers
Gain access to the world's best Marketing influencers that are available today.
Latest posts by Dan Sincavage (see all)
- Understanding the GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation - December 6, 2017
- MiFID II: What It Means For Your Business And How To Be Compliant - October 26, 2017
- Sales Gamification 2017: Apps, Tips, and Issues You Need To Consider - October 10, 2017