Companies that focus on maximizing lifetime customer value grow faster than their low growth competitors.
To drive sustainable, high growth, firms need to grow top-line revenue, maximize lifetime customer value (LCV), and keep customer acquisition costs (CAC) as low as possible. To do this, it’s essential that the entire sales, marketing, product and customer support teams have a deep understanding of your ideal customer profile. They must be able to clearly communicate your capabilities and value to customers.
Yet in most small and medium-sized B2B technology firms, deep customer understanding is siloed among a few key staff. If they have created buyer profiles, they’re usually inadequate for informing a customer-centric marketing and sales strategy.
Customers Want Business Outcomes
Business buyers need solutions to drive business outcomes. They’re not looking for a set of features, they’re looking for capabilities needed to accomplish a goal. Your sales and marketing team’s job is to position your firm’s capabilities as the best option, helping customers make informed business decisions. But doing that effectively requires a fairly deep understanding of the buyer’s needs and what drives their decisions. It also requires messaging from the point of view of the buyer, address issues important to the buyer, using the buyer’s voice. This is only possible if the team has a deep understanding of the buyer.
Buyer Personas Capture the Buyer’s Voice
A well-researched buyer persona delivers the insights Sales and Marketing need to achieve that goal. Buyer personas are aggregate representations of real members of the buying committee. Based on interviews and research with your customers, prospects, lost opportunities and users of competing products; personas capture the voice of your customer. They uncover the customer’s needs and goals, and they document what customers think and do as they walk through their buying process.
A Buyer Persona Is Not Just a Profile
Effective personas are not imaginary profiles created internally. They should always be based on real people. A persona documents your buyers’ situation, needs, motivations, key concerns and objections, and buying journey. It captures their voice with direct quotes, and traces their decision process. It provides insight into the buyer’s role in the committee. It documents how that person typically goes about influencing other committee members. It captures the key criteria that made it possible for the buying process to progress at each stage and identifies common sticking points.
Buyer Personas Should Guide Strategy
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” — Peter Drucker
Effective buyer personas are useful in every aspect of your company’s strategy.
We see many companies invest heavily in product development, marketing, advertising and/or sales without a clear, qualitative understanding of their buyers. To my mind, this is crazy! It forces your team to rely on luck and pockets of knowledge rather than an informed strategy. It risks wasting considerable money and time going down uninformed paths.
The question you should ask is not whether you need personas, but how much time and resources do you want to risk making decisions without clear buyer insights?
Personas can help your firm be more customer-centric at every touch point.
Branding: The persona helps you develop a brand story, tone and personality that resonates with customers.
Product Management: The persona helps your product team understand the customer’s business objectives, needs, desired outcomes — all of which help you design a product or service that sells itself, improves retention and maximizes lifetime customer value.
Positioning and Messaging: Personas provide a framework for customer-centric messaging that captures the voice of your customer and speaks from their point of view.
Marketing and Demand Generation: Personas allow marketing to create targeted content for each committee member and buying stage to attract, qualify and convert more sales leads and facilitate each step in the buying process.
Sales: Personas are incredibly valuable sales tools, allowing your SDRs and field sales team to have a deeper understanding of the customer needs, so they can better engage in dialog with prospects and articulate your value. It helps them understand the buying committee, anticipate questions and objections, and more efficiently navigate the customer’s buying process.
Customer Service: Personas also help your services team better articulate value, anticipate needs and support the customer after they buy. This enhances the customer experience, and improves retention.
If you don’t create effective buyer personas, you risk creating company-centric marketing and sales messaging that doesn’t resonate with your target buyers. This can cost you missed sales opportunities. But not having a deep understanding of customers also reduces potential lifetime customer value, hampering long term growth.
How PropelGrowth Helps Develop Buyer Personas
No matter what stage your company is in, PropelGrowth can help you develop effective buyer personas. We can either conduct the research for you or coach your team in doing the research and creating effective personas. Our extensive experience and knowledge of FinTech makes us particularly effective in this area.
- We start by interviewing your product, sales, implementation and customer support teams to develop a clear sense of your product, value proposition, and customer drivers.
- Then we prepare an interview guide intended to reveal the key information about the buyers needed to drive your sales and marketing strategy.
- We work with you to identify ideal interview subjects. This will include clients who recently purchased, recently lost sales, and customers of your competitors. We provide you with messaging to help schedule the interviews.
- We interview 5 to 10 people for each buyer persona, taking detailed notes and providing insights as we go.
- We do further online research on other professionals matching the demographic criteria.
- We produce documented personas with quotes from real interviewees that provide you with the insights you need to understand your buyers’ business objectives, trigger events, needs and expectations, barriers and objections, and the messaging needed to reach them and move them from one stage to the next in their decision process.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to start making your marketing and sales more customer-centric, contact us to discuss. You can also download this buyer persona template or check out these related articles.
Latest posts by Candyce Edelen (see all)
- Why Asset Managers Struggle with Customer-Centricity – Episode 009 - August 14, 2017
- Account-Based Marketing for Investment Management Marketers - August 8, 2017
- Selling a Business: How Your Story Creates Value with Dr. John Bates – Episode 008 - July 31, 2017