Why you need buyer personas

B2B vendors that offer more than one solution often target more than one industry. Firms have had to contend with increased complexity in the sales cycle. Buyers are taking more time to make a decision and doing more research during the process. In addition, it isn’t just executives choosing a product anymore – more decision-makers are involved, sometimes even end users. Because of the evolving nature of the sales cycle, you need to proactively target different buyer personas in your Internet lead generation efforts.

Marketing is always more effective when it’s highly targeted for a specific audience, according to an article Richard April wrote for Sales Prospecting Perspectives. When multiple stakeholders are involved, you need to create buyer personas to market to each group. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works in B2B marketing.The B2B sales cycle hasn’t changed overnight, but many companies still aren’t refining their marketing efforts to be more relevant to multiple audiences. It’s easy to get bogged down with company jargon. Salespeople think they have a good understanding of what motivates their prospects to buy, but in some cases, they may be far off – especially when they have to juggle different customer segments. Your team needs to get past internal biases and actually form an understanding of buyers’ wants and needs – as well as how these vary by persona.

An online marketing system can help you identify leads higher up in the funnel, which can provide a better indication of their persona. This can be determined by their job title as well as other demographic information. Marketing automation can improve visibility into the sales cycle. If you still aren’t convinced, here are some more reasons why you need buyer personas:

1. Improved alignment

Many B2B organizations struggle with sales and marketing alignment. While this may not seem like an important concern, it should be because silos between the two teams can reduce sales effectiveness when messages don’t match. It can be difficult to reach a meaningful point of alignment when sales and marketing don’t share the same definition of a target customer, Nate Young wrote for ClickZ. Buyer personas can help both groups work toward the same goal. Marketing can create content for different customer segments, and sales employees can utilize different pitches based on the buyer persona.

2. Better content marketing strategy and ROI

It can be difficult to measure the return on investment of certain lead generation techniques, especially because the sales cycle is getting longer over time. Having a better understanding of different groups of prospects makes it easier to create more relevant content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Content marketing has a different effect and can elicit varying reactions depending on the stage in the revenue funnel, according to Brian Anderson in an article for Demand Gen Report. A blog post may not close the deal, but it can be a cue for someone to move from one stage of the funnel to the next.

With marketing automation, you can better tailor content to different buyer personas because the platform will give you deeper insight into how leads are interacting with content. This tactic can become more actionable because it will be easier for your marketing team to make improvements along the way, rather than waiting to see whether a campaign had the desired results. Personas can drive the type of content you produce, Young wrote.

3. Sales enablement

B2B sales can often feel like taking a shot in the dark when representatives don’t have a good understanding of what it truly motivating prospects. B2B customers are demanding a more personalized approach, according to Young. They want to feel like sales professionals have a deep knowledge of their pain points and needs. Buyer personas can guide pitches in the right direction. For example, CEOs and chief technology officers most likely won’t have the same concerns when it comes to implementing new business software. If your sales employees are making calls or entering meetings with prospects, the success of the sale hinges on how effectively they tailor the conversation to the client’s needs.

However, it’s important to note that buyer personas can only act as an initial guideline to the prospect. Sales reps need to have as much information as possible about potential customers to boost their effectiveness. Marketing automation can give reps more data.

4. Product development

Not only can buyer personas guide your marketing efforts, but they can also provide insights into what customers would want to see from future product offerings, Young said. Having a relevant sales message is important, but taking insight from existing clients when improving your product offering can result in higher sales over time. Marketing automation platforms can effectively gather some of this information.