ABM Best Practices: Develop Persona Insights

March 8, 2018, Gil Allouche

Air cover  provides your team with awareness-building content — a palette of information to apply to potential customers after you identify buyer intent. But there’s a fuzzy piece to your approach. 

If you’re like most business owners, you paint your customer personas with a broad brush. We hate to break it to you but this slows your sales cycle and only gives your sales and marketing team a vague outline. How can you decide if a customer is a strong lead? You can start with something called Persona Insight.

Persona Insight taps into your existing data and adds precision to your research about potential buyers.

Key questions to ask when building personas include:  

  • What are his priorities?  
  • Does she have autonomy to make business decisions?
  • What types of information resources – tools, publications – does he use to help make a purchase decision?
  • What pain points does she face?  

Answers to these questions not only identify strong targets, but also help you personalize the messaging, product and service mix to best meet customer needs.

Building Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are one element of creating an ideal customer profile (ICP). An ICP reflects knowledge of who you currently sell to (as shown in your CRM data) and the industries or companies that are a good fit for your solution and whom you plan to target, enriched with details about buyer motivations, behaviors and pain points – the buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a mix of data and empathetic intelligence. Although idealized, the buyer persona is grounded in known characteristics about your current customers, adds in your team’s observations during customer engagement, and incorporates data you’ve gathered from your digital marketing efforts. How many buyer personas do you need? At least one, and maybe two or three, depending on your target market and their typical purchase decision-making process. But here’s a basic persona for your buyer, who we’ll call Alex.

You’ve identified preliminary characteristics of Alex’s digital habits including how he found your company and information he accessed. The sales team suggests the buying decision will be by committee and will heavily weigh service, price and expertise. And anecdotal information from the marketing team tells you that although Alex is a tech-savvy researcher, he values face-to-face interactions. He’s still a bit fuzzy — we don’t fully know why Alex will choose us over our competitors, but you’re getting a clearer image of how to personalize Alex’s experience with you.

But Wait, There’s More!

Recent industry research shows nearly six-in-10 B2B professionals remain frustrated with buyer personas based on traditional metrics. Deeper understanding is possible with a few additional dimensions:

  • Technographic information details the technological tools a customer or organization relies on to conduct business. This information tells you how they spend tech budgets, their level of expertise, and their interest in characteristics like ease-of-use versus scale.
  • Buyer’s Journey explorations can remove biases filtering our perspective about customers. Reliable personas will reflect the customer’s journey as seen most often by your teams. The buyer’s journey should be verified by your teams (and your customers) and should include realistic assertions of the solutions you provide to customers.
  • Recent updates about your industry, company, offerings as well as any changes in technology or buying behaviors will keep your personas relevant.
  • Emotions and Motivations beyond the basic details will enhance your team’s understanding of the customer. Discuss topics such as the trigger points leading to the sale, how the customer feels about interacting with you, and what’s important for you to deliver during the sales process.

Persona Insights can be — and should be applied to every buyer at an account so you understand individual attitudes about the purchase decision and can tailor messages and content to address those perspectives.

Role of Persona Insight with ABM

With a clear picture of Alex’s demographics, technographics, buyer journey and motivations, you can put persona insights to work.

Your team begins to develop campaigns personalized to align with Alex’s behaviors and attitudes.  

Here are some tactics you’ll use to try to convert Alex:

1. A whitepaper showcasing your expertise

2. A landing page highlighting your latest project, and

3. An email announcing a recent award with customer testimonials about your performance.

Knowing Alex has a small group and needs affordable, easy-to-use solutions help your team identify the products to include. And since Alex has been accessing your information more frequently in the last few weeks, scheduling a 1:1 meeting soon to answer any questions can be part of the sales process.

These various elements and channels can be evaluated and optimized using experiments and multivariate analysis – allowing you to adjust Alex’s content for improved conversion rates. Yes, you’ll need to do more than a little research to get strong buyer personas.

But your efforts will change. Your broad brush transforms into a fine-tipped pen, allowing your team to see Alex (and other buyers) clearly, and proactively reach out with an understanding of his needs. Messaging and solutions are on-target.

And you’ll deliver an ROI high enough to afford more fine-tipped pens!  

Take the guesswork out of your content marketing efforts. Use a fine-tipped pen by getting started with Account-Based Marketing today.

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