How to exceed your sales targets using buyer personas!
Sales leaders can improve their outreach effectiveness through the use of buyer personas.
If sales is about solving problems of customers, buyer personas are the key to understanding the problems in the first place. They provide context about your prospect even before you have reached out to them. According to a study by Cintell, companies who meet or exceed revenue goals are 2.4X more likely to be effective or very effective at using personas than those who missed lead and revenue goals. But, are salespeople maximising the value of buyer personas?
Here are 4 things sales leaders can do to ensure their teams have high quality interactions using buyer personas:
1. Go beyond the basics - identify their interests
A buyer persona usually consists of
- Job title, geography, industry, company size
- Job responsibilities, current business challenges, goals and metrics
Having a well-defined buyer persona allows you to determine the kind of references, value propositions and content to use in your sales communication. In addition to the content created by Marketing, sales teams can be proactive and educate themselves about topics important to their buyers. By analysing social media activity of past buyers, sellers can identify content platforms their prospects would trust. They can then use content from those platforms to inform their prospects and initiate a relationship.
For example, let’s assume you are selling a data science platform to the CIO of a tech company. The said CIO would presumably like to stay updated with the latest developments in the field of data science. If you could share information from a popular podcast on data science, the CIO might be more interested in learning about what you can offer. At the same time, you would establish credibility and increase your own knowledge. Remember, industry personalisation in the email body can positively affect response rates.
2. Understand their styles and preferences
Formal buyer personas often do not have behavioural or psychographic analysis of the buyer. However, sales leaders can draw insights about a buyer’s preferences by analysing past interactions. By seeing what worked in the past, sales leaders can decide which tone and language to use with a specific audience, identify patterns of responses, pick relevant marketing content, etc.
For example, while it may make sense to be creative while reaching out to the CMO of a company, it might be better to be analytical when writing to the CFO. If you see that the CEO of a high-growth startup usually responds to videos, you could introduce a video earlier in the sales cadence, thereby reducing the cycle time. Use technology like the Email Intelligence Platform of Mesg.ai which integrates with your CRM to identify successful outreach messages from the past, informing your outreach strategy in the future.
3. Chart the buyer’s journey
The B2B sales process is a complex one - in a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. Many factors play into the deal coming through. In such a scenario, it is crucial to have a comprehensive set of personas for your customer, including details about their buyer’s journey.
A detailed buyer persona has information about a buyer’s priorities during the sales process, what are the success factors for them, what are their perceived barriers, and what decision making criteria will be important. These insights help you to understand what drives the purchase and what leads to churn.
For example, if you notice that many of your deals are stuck after getting the OK from the business line executive, it could indicate that you didn’t fully understand the buying process. Maybe you have missed to address the motivations and goals of other involved buying personas, such as InfoSec, finance, or legal. Understanding all the buying personas in the sales process will help you to alleviate concerns early on and to shorten the sales cycle significantly.
4. Always be reviewing
Finally, don’t forget that the only thing constant is change. As a sales leader, make sure that you regularly review your buyer persona definitions. According to a Cintell study, companies that exceeded lead and revenue goals were 7.4X as likely to have updated their personas in the last 6 months than those who have missed these targets.
SDRs often have their ear to the ground and can provide valuable insights about changing customer needs. The challenges and priorities of most companies are dynamic, and you must be prepared to address them in both your outreach and the sales journey.
For example, the pandemic threw off a lot of executives, with most employees working from home and adapting to the new normal. If you’re selling messaging software, your buyer persona needs to be updated to reflect challenges of virtual collaboration. Your outreach must also reflect the urgency of the situation.
A buyer’s persona is like a dating profile - it can give you a sense of what the other person is like, but you learn about them only by engaging and paying attention to them. To build a better relationship with your buyers, you should:
Learn about their interests
- Understand their communication style & preferences
- Identify the drivers of their motivation and choices
- Stay current with their changing priorities
Let us know how it worked!