A common theme in our “common mistakes of” and “How to improve” type of blog posts is the use (or lack of use) of buyer personas. Buyer personas and the buyer’s journey are invaluable tools in inbound marketing. The goal of both is to ensure that content is relevant to the prospect based on what’s important to them in their role, and what’s important based on where they are in their buying process.
They’re especially important tools because buying is now largely unaccompanied. Through approximately 70% of the buying process buyers avoid having to speak to a rep. Which leaves the different steps of the buying process, which sales reps used to collect through direct communications, and interaction with multiple departments or people, missing.
At best, we marketers can infer certain information through observation of buyer behaviors. So a persona and buyer’s journey provide a handrail for marketers to stage and sequence information to build and maintain momentum of the buying process. Still not convinced about the importance of your buyer personas? Check out these 4 benefits to having well-defined buyer personas.
1. An understanding of your customer’s needs/interests
Let me start by getting the blatantly obvious benefit out of the way first: An understanding of your customer’s needs/interests. Think about all the times you’ve been shopping for a gift be it for a friend, your mother, significant other, etc. For each individual’s gift, you were able to draw on what you know about him or her and their personality (their interests, needs, things they would dislike, etc.) to find them a gift they’d truly enjoy.
By knowing what your customers want, their needs, and their troubles you can cater your content to your audience in a way that they will find valuable. Use these insights into your customers’ needs and wants to identify the topics your prospects want to learn more about, and create content around those topics.
2. A united front for sales and marketing
When it comes to uniting your sales and marketing efforts, one of the easiest ways to make sure both teams are on the same page is the use of buyer personas. Across the board, personas create a consistent and specific understanding of each target group of customers within your company.
For example, if a lead is designated as one persona over another, Sales can be better able to tailor their sales pitch before even connecting with the lead for the first time. They’ll already have an idea of what is important to that lead and their company, they’ll be better prepared for the particular questions the lead might ask, and they’ll have a clearer understanding of what it will take to close the sale.
3. An understanding of your personas habit’s
Once you know the background of each of your personas, you will gain insight to where your customers spend their time online, where they go to get their information, and which social networks they typically use to connect with family, friends, and co-workers.
Knowing this information will allow you to better target your content and promote it in the places your prospects are most likely to see it. You can use those buyer personas to create content in formats that your prospects enjoy getting their information from (ebooks, podcasts, webinars, whitepapers, case studies, etc.) and have them receive it from the source they’re most likely to engage in (email, Twitter, LinkedIn groups, etc.) The prospects you want to reach are more likely to react to the content that interests them if it’s found in the channels they already populate.
4. A way to develop new services/products
Not only do personas allow you to generate better quality leads and customers, but they also help you work with your customers and build future products/product features to suit their needs. With well-developed personas, you can create products and services that are closely aligned to what your customers want, allowing you to better cater to their needs. You’ll be more likely to keep customers for the long haul if your products and services grow and change with your customers.
Get to know your ideal customers better, and you will find that the benefits are endless. From strategy to process, buyer personas (done correctly) are one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal as a marketer.