A pair of our recent posts, Find More Customers Like Your Best Customers and Market Intelligence Reports: Detailed Insights Into Your Best Markets, provided information to help you target your ideal accounts or companies. But at the end of the day, B2B sales is a people-to-people business. To make a sale, you’ve got to convince the people within a target company — specifically the decision-makers and influencers — that they will benefit from purchasing your products or services. In order to effectively communicate with these people, you need to have an idea of who they are and what makes them tick. Persona creation is a process that will help you formulate hypotheses about them so that you can formulate a strategy to best offer up solutions and influence their purchase decisions.
The Benefits of Persona Creation
Persona creation is defined as a process that allows marketers to document the characteristics, needs, goals and behaviors of the people who make and influence buying decisions. By documenting the psychographic and demographic commonalities of your buyers, you can market much more effectively and efficiently because you are delivering the right message by speaking to your buyers’:
- Goals & purchasing objectives
- Values they seek in purchasing
- Unique Selling Propositions that get them to move
- Most important factors that play into purchasing
In addition, you can be confident that you are putting the message in front of the right people because you know:
- If they are a purchaser or influencer
- Their job title
- Their age
- Their education level
How to Create Personas
Persona creation is achieved by assembling your sales team, marketing team and account executives and brainstorming what the group thinks are the specific demographics and psychographics of the decision-makers and influencers in your target audience. Doing this process as a group will ensure there are several different points of view being considered. It also will increase the likelihood of complete persona development. Something to keep in mind is that the goal is not to create one or two all-encompassing personas. A different persona needs to be created for each decision-maker and influencer in a particular target audience, which can include: Owner, CEO, Purchasing Manager, Sales Manager, Process Engineer, etc. If your ideal customers are in different industries, you’ll need to repeat the exercise for each one. They’re all different people who face different challenges and have different motivations, and your messaging needs to cater to each of them.
A persona, at least in the initial development stage, is an educated guess. As with any hypothesis, it’s important to validate it to confirm if your hunch is correct. There are a few different ways to do this. You could survey people in the industry via email, direct mail or phone to see whether or not they agree with your assumptions. You could also seek the feedback of your current customers. Or, you could reach out to individuals in your potential growth markets, but this approach would likely have to be incentivized. Individuals will probably be hesitant to participate unless they are rewarded with a gift card or similar reimbursement for their time and insight.
The Agency Approach to Persona Creation
If you choose to work with a marketing agency, they’ll likely follow a similar approach to what was previously outlined. The benefit is that the workload will be shifted from you to them. An agency with extensive experience in persona creation will also have some strategies and connections to speed up the process and offer additional data and supplemental services.
For example, Adventure’s process is to interview the client to get the opinion of the sales and marketing teams. We then combine those insights to create a persona profile report, which is a targeting and messaging guide documenting the characteristics of buyers as well as their unique needs, goals and behaviors. Finally, using our collected persona demographics, we pull a lead reach report that provides persona matches across major social platforms and list aggregators.
To learn more about our process or to get started, contact us.