If you’re in the B2B entrepreneur, here’s a question for you: How well do you know your customers? I mean, how well do you really know them?
What are their needs, interests, problems, aspirations, dreams, and fears? Without this information, you’re operating blind and making guesses rather than educated decisions.
There are two tools that every company must deploy to ensure its marketing and sales are focused on the right people.
Number one: you need buyer personas: fictional, generalized representations of your customers.
Now, it’s easy to believe your customers fall into one amorphous group. For example, they’re 24 to 48, female, and they make a certain amount of money.
But when you dig deeper, you’ll discover that within that large group, there are many subgroups. Each subgroup is different because they have slightly different needs, interests, and motivations. As a result, your marketing and sales need to focus on different motivations, interests, and buying habits.
I believe every company needs three to four different buyer personas. This provides a solid snapshot of the people who matter to your business.
To create buyer personas, leverage data and interview your customers. This provides the information needed to have a full picture of your customers so you know them inside out. This information includes their age, gender, titles, education, salaries, responsibilities, role in making purchases and motivations.
Once you have buyer personas, it’s important to pollinate them within your organization; everyone from marketing and sales to account management and customer service needs to be reminded who your customers are. MailChimp, for example, creates great posters that it places on office walls so people are constantly reminded of who matters to MailChimp.
The other customer tool is a buyer’s journey map, which maps what your customers are thinking, asking and consuming during the different phases: awareness, consideration, and decision. I know the funnel these days is not linear but it is important to know how customers are behaving.
What are your customers’ questions? What are their interests, their needs and what is the content they need to consume to move them down the funnel to move them closer to a purchase?
When someone’s in the awareness stage, they’re looking for answers about their problems so your content should focus on the problems that your product solves. At this point, it’s about the customer’s needs rather than your product.
As a consumer moves toward the consideration stage, they will look for information such as “what’s the best way to,,,?” or “what are the easiest ways to do…?”. You want to provide information about how your product meets their specific needs.
It is important to map out the entire journey to deliver the right content at the right time and you’re answering the right questions every step along the way.
To create a buyer’s journey, answer the five W’s:
Who: Who are the target audiences for your marketing – e.g. senior executives, directors, developers, managers.
Why: Why are they looking for a solution? What are their needs, motivations, and pains?
When: At what stage are they looking to have their questions answered?
What are the questions being asked by prospects and customers? What type of content should be created – e.g. infographics, eBooks, blog posts, videos, white papers, or sales sheets?
Where do prospects and customers seek information – Websites, review sites, social media, YouTube, conferences?
Without buyer personas or a buyer’s journey, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to understand your customers and how they make purchase decisions and purchases.
To get started with buyer personas, here’s an “ideal customer worksheet”.
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