Buyer personas can revamp sales strategy

If your company has been struggling with poor leads who aren’t a good match and rarely convert, you may need to use buyer personas. Employing this tactic can help you create a more targeted, effective B2B marketing strategy, leading to more sales overall.

While some B2B professionals may think a buyer persona is merely an ideal customer, the concept goes far beyond the basic outline. Buyer personas are semi-fictionalized versions of real people, according to an article for Stargazer Digital written by Kevin Gallagher. Personas go past simple demographic information, like company size, industry, firm revenue and job title. They account for day-to-day responsibilities, business goals and challenges, personal and professional values, communication preferences – even favorite social media channels.

It may seems like a lot of work to establish buyer personas, especially for companies that cater to multiple customer segments. In fact, some B2B executives may not think they need personas because they target a wide audience, Gallagher wrote. However, buyer personas allow marketers to better target prospects with more relevant information than an unsegmented strategy. Additionally, the B2B sales process continues to increase in complexity. Buyers are spending far longer researching purchases before arriving at a decision. Leads will most likely visit your website on more than one occasion before buying, and knowing what type of buyer they are can help you create better content marketing efforts.

Simply focusing on customer pain points isn’t enough because competitors will have this same industry information. Buyer personas can provide deeper insights, which can give you a strong advantage over other vendors. Personas allow you to provide a more relevant experience to potential customers.

Elements of a quality buyer persona

Establishing accurate buyer personas may require interviewing existing clients to get to the heart of their motivations and how they reached the decision to buy from you, Jeff Ogden wrote in a blog post for Salesforce. Some companies utilize buyer surveys to try to get this information, but without getting customers to tell a story, survey questions won’t give you new information. Interviews deliver unique insights and can inform a great deal of future content marketing initiatives. Here are some important questions to ask during interviews to gain the insight you need to make effective buyer personas:

  • What are the top priorities that buyers invest the most time and capital into? These may not be the same as perceived pain points.
  • What do customers associate with success? For example, it may be certain revenue growth within a specific timeframe.
  • What are the barriers to entry?
  • How do buyers conduct research, evaluate their choices and arrive at a decision?
  • What are the different vendor factors they assess to make their choice?

It may also be worthwhile to determine who buyers report to, who is involved in the decision-making process and more detailed information about job roles. Ogden pointed out that most professionals believe the nature of marketing has changed dramatically in the last two years, largely because of the proliferation of online data, social media and the wide adoption of smartphones. Buyers are accessing vendor information through multiple channels, which makes it harder for B2B firms to engage with them.

Why your sales team needs buyer personas

The concept of buyer personas may seem like a responsibility that belongs solely to the marketing team. However, many small B2B firms don’t have the resources to staff separate marketing and sales teams. From the onset, buyer personas can enable better Internet lead generation efforts. More targeted efforts result in higher-quality, more qualified leads, according to Gallagher. This improvement enables your sales representatives to have a wider pool of leads to work with, rather than trying to convert prospects who aren’t remotely interested. Additionally, knowing how buyers prefer to communicate and their favorite social networks can help you disseminate content through the channels where it is most likely to be seen.

Sales employees can benefit from the introduction of buyer personas because this concept allows them to refine their approaches to selling. When sales reps have a better idea of who they are speaking to, they can more effectively tailor their pitches around buyers’ interests. Buyer personas also prevent sales reps from wasting their time contacting prospects who are either not interested or not a good fit for your company, which enables salespeople to use their time more productively. With deep insights into buyers’ needs and wants, sales reps can provide leads with the right information during each interaction, enabling more relevant conversations.

In addition, buyer personas can inform the types of nurturing needed to convert a prospect. This way, sales employees aren’t following up with cold leads. While accurate buyer personas can take some time to establish, they are worthwhile in the long run because they allow sales organizations to be more effective.