How well do you know your customers? If you want a better relationship with them, you must have a strong understanding as to who they are. If you understand the motivations, desires, and needs of the people on the other end of the transaction, you can influence them and close more of those transactions.
Creating and including buyer personas into business strategies are a way for businesses to better understand their customers. These personas are essentially profiles of the ideal customer. But the problem that many B2B companies face is that they’re not creating or utilizing their buyer personas correctly, which then becomes a waste of time and resources. So, whether you’re just learning about buyer personas or want a better understanding of them to increase sales, here’s how to properly create and use buyer personas for your business.
Firstly, what is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional profile of your ideal customer. It captures many aspects such as age, profession, and even an image of what he or she may look like, as a way to better visualize them. But more so, this profile contains key insights like shopping habits, pain points, and motivators, insights that can help you better adapt your marketing, customer service, and sales tactics to.
How do you create a buyer persona?
This type of information doesn’t magically appear in a neat and organized fashion. It requires research and time to create an insightful buyer persona that not only touches on the basics. You can get information on B2B buyer personas in 4 ways:
Survey customers - Consider including automated surveys into your email marketing plan. They’re the least invasive of ways to extract information and customers can do them voluntarily.
Interview customers - Have candid conversations with your customers to gain insights. Interviewing them will let them know that you care about their opinion.
Interview your team - Talk to your team at every level, as they all interact with your customers in some way. Focus on your sales team in particular, as they interact with prospects the most.
Look at internal databases - Every bit of information helps, even if it’s information on past customer profiles or if your database is small. You may find something insightful from within your company.
After gathering all your information, it’s time to put it all together into a buyer persona (and we’re not talking about just the basics like age and salary). Having a buyer persona helps you gain insights on your customers so that you can better address their needs. So to create a more insightful and helpful profile, consider these 4 traits to include:
Role in the buying process - You may know who will use your product or service, but the people who influence the decision-making may surprise you. Don’t waste time selling to the person that doesn’t have the authority or influence to purchase. By knowing this, you can better use your time and resources.
Fears and challenges - Think of questions like, “Why would they be afraid to use your product? What challenge does your product help eliminate?”. By asking these questions, you can get a 360 degree view of your product and how your customer reacts to it.
Drivers and motivators - Think of questions like, “Where is this person or company trying to go? Does our product help them get there?”. We want to help our prospects through the use of our product. By considering these questions, we can better relate the product to the customer and push that sale.
Problems and issues - Consider asking, “How are they currently doing business? Which of our competitors are they using? How can we make their job easier? Can our product help them enough to make the switch?”. By identifying these pain points and your competition, you can determine how you can convince them to switch products or even move onto a different prospect.
More tips - Don’t forget to include a picture of your buyer persona! A visual representation may help you in understanding your prospect a little more. You can also have more than one persona if you have more than one type of audience that your business appeals to.
Now that you have a complete and insightful buyer persona, how do we use it effectively and strategically?
We want to put the customer at the center of everything, so by including a buyer persona into our strategy, it gives us a better picture of our customers. Firstly, you should incorporate this profile into multiple levels of your company such as sales training kits, new hire training kits, and internal marketing documents. Include the buyer persona into your company’s strategy and marketing plan, and your team can consider using these profiles in 4 ways:
Optimize your timing - With your buyer persona, your teams will know when your customers are online, when they check their email, etc. Now, you can communicate with them at exactly the right time to optimize your sale opportunities.
Optimize your location - Now you also know where your customers are. Whether it’s LinkedIn or checking your blog, you can now focus your sales efforts on exactly where your customers are.
Personalize your offers - You know your buyer personas like the back of your hand, so you should know what types of offers pique their interest. The more personalized the offer, the more likely they’ll make a purchase.
Fix your sales process - A successful sales process reflects a prospect’s preferred buying journey. When both cycles don’t match up, it makes gaining sales more complicated and difficult. So now that you know what your persona’s preferred buying cycle is, you can work with your sales team to adjust their sales cycle and process.
Including a buyer persona in your marketing and sales is necessary for success, so long as it’s implemented effectively. When all of your teams know who your target audience is, it helps make their daily customer interactions more effective and ultimately lead to more sales.
Still confused on buyer personas or just how to fix your sales process? Contact Change Connect and our experts can help you implement a more effective sales strategy. As leaders of the industry, we link people, process, and technology together to optimize your salesforce.