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Every marketer has heard of the concept of buyer personas. The challenge tends not to be understanding what they are, but why buyer personas are important, how to use them and whether or not they actually work. Are they worth the time and investment?  

The answer – yes. Here’s why

If you know what your prospective customers are thinking, you’re in a much better position to improve lead generation and drive revenue growth.  

B2B marketing and selling has evolved greatly, especially with the advancements of Account Based Marketing tactics (ABM). Every marketer faces greater pressures to increase lead generation. This pressure is magnified by the fact that it is much harder to generate leads today. A marketer’s job is not easy.

So if you are still using the same tactics, and sending the same marketing to everyone, now is the time to push for management buy-in for buyer persona development. With GDPR, people are more inclined to opt in to receive what is relevant to them. To avoid them opting out, don’t inundate them with messages that are of no interest to them. Instead, make sure you send specific messages to each different persona segment. This way, what they read is relevant and of value.

Without buyer personas, your marketing is likely to fail to make a strong connection with your prospects. How can you know if your content is relevant if you don’t know who you are speaking too?

Here is a list of 3 key reasons why buyer personas are important, and how they will help improve both sales and marketing efforts.

 

Buyer personas help sales enablement

A sales phone call will always be more successful, the more you know about the person that you are speaking too. This is obvious, but the challenge is getting an understanding of what each prospect is thinking, before you make that call. Applying a buyer persona helps place you in a better position to know what they are thinking, so you can have a more productive call.  

Your sales support documents will vary depending on your business. The effectiveness of these documents, whether they’re presentations, PDF data sheets or fact sheets, or industry reports, will depend on how relevant they are to your prospect. If you understand what your prospect deems as a priority, or what makes a product or service successful, and then convey this information in alignment with their buying process, you are more likely to gain their interest over competitors.

 

Buyer personas strengthen marketing campaign effectiveness

Having an understanding of your buyer personas before you develop any content  marketing will improve the effectiveness of your messaging. To get a good return on investment in your content, it’s important that your messaging, in whatever format it may take, delivers value to your audience.

Effective content is written with an understanding of your buyer personas. This includes the challenges they face, what makes something a priority to them, the barriers they face, their buying journey, as well as their decision criteria. The more of this that you get right, the better the connection you’ll make with them.

You’ll get more clicks on emails, more downloads of lead magnets, and more leads to nurture.

 

Buyer personas support the product development process

Customer insight gained through the buyer persona development process will lead to inspiration. You’ll gain information that will help support your product roadmaps. It might even save you the pain and expense of developing something that does not fit customer needs.  

The insight may also help you gain focus, and know what products or services to optimise and push. Combine this insight gathering with the use of the BCG Matrix to help you plan your product investments.

 

The value in persona development is clear

However, be mindful of the value of the persona that you create. It can only be effective if it is developed in the right way. Once you win the battle to get buy-in, make sure you do it right.

Here are some key tips to help you develop the best buyer personas:

  1. Use the 5 Rings of Insight. The biggest mistake people make when developing a buyer persona is focusing on the wrong questions. It’s not just about the type of job someone does, or their pain points. A buyer persona goes deeper. We advocate the 5 Rings of Insight approach developed by the Buyer Persona Institute.
  2. Have an experienced interviewer conduct the buyer persona interviews. If the research is being conducted in-house, it should be by someone who is both trained in buyer persona interviews, and impartial to the client relationship.
  3. Target the right people for your interviews. I always try to get a mix of customers, ideal prospects and lost business. Make sure that whoever you are speaking to has a substantial influence on buying decisions.
  4. Know how to analyse the data that you gather to put the insight into action. Actionable insight is the key to the whole process.

Time to get started

If you can clearly explain the gains you’ll receive from using buyer personas, you’ll soon be able to demonstrate how buyer personas can improve the effectiveness of both your marketing campaigns and sales efforts. If you feel you need support, perhaps with the first few interviews, or the whole process, we are here to help. Get in touch.

About Kim Moore

Kim Moore is a Marketing Strategist at KG Moore Limited, a Colchester, UK-based agency that offers outsourced strategic marketing management services. Kim has developed her strategic thinking and marketing management capabilities over the past 20 years managing marketing functions in the IT and telecoms sector, including years at Vodafone. She is known for developing successful Partner Marketing Relationships with a number of organisations including Verizon Wireless and American Express. Connect with Kim for her infinite supply of marketing knowledge, ideas, insight and innovation.

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