Stefano Maifreni, founder of B2B start-up acclerator Eggcelerate, explains the key role of buyer personae in business marketing.
You already know that buyer personae play a critical role in the marketing strategy of your B2B financial services company. However, buyer personae are not just marketing concepts. Leverage them properly, and they can become a unifying force that helps ensure all your company’s resources are working together to achieve the most optimal results.
The Challenge of Connecting to Your Buyers
The majority of finance businesses today operate in a highly competitive, increasingly regulated and at times volatile market. But unlike B2C companies, B2B firms have the additional challenge of targeting a market of business prospects that is complex and limited in number.
While marketers are concerned with messaging, lead conversion and the like, your company must also strengthen its sales and customer service teams, provide a good user experience, and rapidly innovate products and services better than the competition.
Being able to accomplish all the above begins and ends with your company’s ability to accurately profile the purchase decision-makers within a prospective organisation and segment them into easily targeted groups.
Getting these buyer personae right, though, is becoming increasingly difficult. For instance, the average number of influencers and decision-makers involved in the buying process for B2B solutions continues to grow. According to Forrester Research, 63% of B2B purchases have more than four people involved. That compared to just 47% in 2017. For complex B2B solutions, that number is higher: between six to ten. While some of these individuals are key decision-makers in the buying process, many play critical supportive roles and thus can’t be ignored.
Companies also have their unique preferences and procedures when buying B2B products and services, and the individuals involved in the purchasing decision may be in various stages of the buyer’s journey. Some decision-makers may be well-informed about the products and services their organisations need and are ready to decide, while others may only be in the initial research phase. Moreover, these people can come from multiple departments and backgrounds.
The final piece of the puzzle involves the availability of helpful information through various digital channels that have made it easy for buyers to research on their own. Speaking to a sales representative now generally happens later in the buyer’s journey. It means your company has fewer opportunities to connect to your prospects and influence their purchase decision directly. Simply put, if your products and services don’t resonate with your buyer’s priorities, needs and preferences, or meet them where they are, then you will under-perform in your lead generation.
Fleshing Out Your B2B Buyer Personae
To drive sales, your buyer personae must be much more than a static, one-dimensional research-based profile. You need to dive deeply into the key struggles, hopes and fears, motivations and challenges that guide buyer behaviour and decision-making. Figure out how these personae do research and where they go for information, develop a list of potential solution providers, and what qualities they look for in a vendor. Finally, map out how the different buyer personae interact with other roles in the B2B solution buying process.
Armed with this knowledge and insight, you can leverage your buyer personae to fine-tune your marketing efforts, so they are in line with your buyer’s purchase process. You can deliver relevant content through the proper channels to engage and inform your prospects and increase the chance of a conversion.
But this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Improving Internal Collaboration with In-Depth Buyer Personae
This same knowledge and insight into your buyer personae can also be used to guide sales, customer service, and product development teams. When you target the right people, generate feedback, and then deliberately organise all this information in an accessible and usable way, business operations and decision-making improve.
For instance, it is reported that 68% of buyers prefer to research B2B solutions on their own, typically via peer recommendations and digital content, before creating a shortlist of vendors to work with. Knowing this, you can connect with prospective buyers along the way via relevant and valuable content sent through the channels they already use. Then, you can arm your sales representatives with in-depth buying insights that they can leverage in their conversations once prospects reach out to your company.
Here are some other ways to leverage buyer personae and align company operations:
- Recognise and respond to shifts in buyer needs and preferences or the market in general. If your marketing campaigns are suddenly not performing as well as they used to, it could signify that something in the market has changed. Adding these new needs and preferences to your buyer personae helps to ensure that all departments are informed and can act accordingly.
- Research on buyer personae buying patterns, needs and preferences can reveal new opportunities in the market that can guide product development teams.
- Ensure that new products and services are rolled with a highly targeted marketing and sales campaign. Be in touch with the solutions and features that matter the most to your prospects and know how best to market them.
Employees throughout your company will be empowered to anticipate buyers’ behaviour and other trends and respond in the most effective ways.
Imagine having all your people aware that the job they do, in any role, is geared towards solving a specific problem for a particular persona: new products would be conceived with the customer and only the customer in mind, rather than adding features at low incremental cost; any action in operations, from customer on-boarding to customer services, would be done for a specific persona in the customer’s organisation, rather than with only efficiency in mind.
In short, you can leverage in-depth buyer personae as a multi-dimensional tool that creates inter-departmental collaboration and unity, thus puttin the customer really at the centre and front of your business. It is an important quality that can give your company a significant competitive edge in the market and drive future success.
About Stefano Maifreni, founder of Eggcelerate – An engineer by education, product manager by role and expert at achieving growth by career, Stefano has an outstanding track record in business strategy, operations, product and marketing, with extensive P&L management and international expansion experience.
His professional journey includes Senior Manager roles in global Blue-chip companies, Growing Businesses and Start-ups in technology-intensive and innovative industries (IT, Telecom, Technology Manufacturing, Drones, IoT and FinTech).
About Eggcelerate: Eggcelerate is the B2B growth experts for British SMEs supporting the growth of medium and small B2B tech British and Italian companies with international aspirations, helping them manage growth and change while streamlining their operations and improving their bottom line and cash flow position. Eggcelerate has worked, among others, with British start-ups in the field of FinTech (equity crowdfunding, supply chain finance), IoT (immersive events, drones) and more mature Italian SMEs (software house, manufacturer of electronic components).