Getting to Know Your Prospects
The first step therefore is to build an understanding of what your ideal prospect is like:
- What is their job role?
- What challenges do they face?
- What motivates them?
- What issues could they be facing?
- What is their role in the Decision Making Unit?
- Can you answer these questions about your potential customers?
With these answers you can develop a small number of buyer personas based on customer type to help shape and target your marketing activity to be more effective.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona will enable you to build an understanding of your prospects and think of them as individuals, rather than a database of names and email addresses. You can then personalise your marketing messages and deliver relevant contact that will resonate better with them.
A buyer persona will generally contain information about the person’s job role, how they fit into the Decision Making Unit, the type of business they work for, their motivations and challenges.
How do I develop my buyer personas?
1. Analyse your customer database
The first place to start will be to look at your existing customers and categorise them by customer type. This will determine how many buyer personas you should build. You are likely to have 3 or 4 different types of customers, based on the services or products they buy, each with different needs and challenges.
2. Do your research! Do not assume that you know your customers well.
Ask your customers:
- Why did you choose to work with us?
- What were you finding difficult or challenging before getting in touch with us?
- How has our product / service helped you and your business?
- What specifically were you looking for when reaching out to new suppliers?
- How did you find out about our company?
Depending on the size of your customer base, you may want to carry out a survey, or simply talk to them face to face or over the phone. This valuable information may also provide some insight into why your marketing messages may not be hitting the mark.
3. Talk to your sales reps and operational staff
Get others involve in the process and use the knowledge within your business. This will help to gain even more insight about what your customers like and dislike about your business.
4. Get feedback from telemarketing activity
A valuable output from running a telemarketing campaign is to gain insights about the market and the prospects being called. Experienced telemarketers will be good at building relationships with prospects and gathering information about them.
Throughout the campaign, businesses that don’t have a requirement for your product or service will be qualified out, allowing you to focus on marketing qualified prospects that do have a requirement. Attributes that these qualified prospects have can then be fed into your buyer persona profiles.
5. Create a persona template
Once you have gathered all your information, you will need to put it into a format that is easy to understand and use. Persona profiles should include information about the person’s job role, the organisational needs and culture, the individual’s needs, emotional factors and the power and influence they have in a buying decision. Include a section on the preferred information types and sources to inform your marketing campaign development and distribution.
5. Finally, remember that things change
So you’ve done your research, you’ve spent time analysing the results and you’ve used this insight to develop your buyer personas. You’ve tailored your marketing messages to be more affective in resonating with your prospects and deliver your campaigns in the most accessible way. That’s fantastic! But things change, job roles develop within the market. Individual needs, motivations and daily challenges with change over time.
Carrying out this exercise a couple of times a year is recommended to ensure that you are keeping up to date with the changing market and not falling behind the competition. It is also advisable to put in place a mechanism for regular feedback so you can continuously adapt your personas as things change.
In summary, people buy from people. We build relationships with people all the time in our personal lives, so why should it be different in business. Think of your prospects as individuals, get to know them, build better relationships and be more successful in winning new business.
Find out more about how buyer personas can fit into your marketing strategy:
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This article first appeared on the Beanstalk Marketing blog