Discover deeper "why" behind prospects' buying and sell more
When using direct mail for marketing, you send the right message to the right prospects to generate more leads. First, you must define who you really need to target and how to communicate with them effectively to earn leads and sales.
Any salesperson can tell you about their customers in a profile or type description, and can qualify a customer on certain data points. However, a persona is an in-depth look at that prospect to enable more focused engagement and better sales results. It adds dimensions that more quickly build trust, confidence, and relationship.
Adelle Revella, CEO and founder of the former Buyer Persona Institute, is a recognized expert in crafting effective buyer personas. (KS&R recently acquired the institute, and integrated persona development into its research and consulting business.)
Revella developed five rings of buying insight to reveal how various life and business forces influence buyers and their purchasing decisions. These rings are more than pain points and felt needs – common marketing concepts. They are various life and business forces that influence buyers and how they make buying decisions.
The insight rings reflect buyers’ personal priorities, what they see as success factors after buying, purchasing barriers, how they find and consider options to purchase (their buying journey), and what criteria must be fulfilled before deciding to buy.
For salespeople, these areas should be “no-brainer” information gathered through conversations over time. However, keeping these rings in mind improves not only sales presentations, but also marketing, promotion, and customer service that drive more revenue.
Buyer personas are most appropriate for products and services that are more complex and have higher price points, such as insurance, real estate, automobiles, and remodeling and construction. They also are very powerful for buying decisions involving multiple people.
First, ask what is most important to the buyer and why are they seeking a solution in the first place? The priority initiative involves the need or perceived need that prospects are trying to fulfill. For business-to-business customers, it’s why they need a solution, who’s involved in purchasing, and what is being accomplished with the solution.
Priorities might range from emotional drives to meeting a manager’s expectations in business or job performance.
Knowing these priorities reveals what’s at stake and the rationale behind a buyer's decision to purchase a specific solution. Having this knowledge positions you and your company as part of the customer’s solution because you understand. Priority information also drives marketing and direct-mail messaging, website content, and any emails or social media you deliver because they speak to the heart of the prospect’s circumstances.
To understand buying barriers, ask why does your customer or potential customer overlook you as a solution or doesn’t see you as a best option? Is it your reputation? Did personal or business obstacles build a wall? Does your solution require uncomfortable business, financial, or personal changes?
Knowing barriers reveals what you’re up against and what viable solutions or approaches would overcome them – even how you might need to change.
The buyer’s journey helps you understand how customers discover the solutions they are pursuing and where they find them. Do consumers depend on personal referrals, social media, ads, or search engines to find solutions The journey also defines who else is involved in the decision-making process and who has ultimate decision authority.
Know who your buyer trusts for which solutions and why. Knowing what your buyer is going through personally or at work helps define how the rings intertwine so you can create persuasive and effective information and presentations that speak directly to their needs.
What is most critical to your buyer when considering a purchase? Knowing this informs sales approach, content messaging, and content marketing decisions.
This goes beyond superlatives into customer perception of how your solution meets specific needs. This is how your buyer persona reveals attitudes, concerns, and criteria that will drive them to choose you, your competitor, or to do or buy nothing.
This isn't just describing a buyer, but revealing insights into a specific buyer with specific needs who is looking to solve a problem or get a job done. Done correctly, your buyer persona offers accurate and effective sales and marketing guidance to align sales messaging, keywords, content marketing, and sales presentations built on your buyer’s expectations and requirements, not your personal perceptions or beliefs.
When you speak the same language about what the buyer is experiencing or wants to experience, you build a bond of trust that ups your advantage against competitors. It also identifies your best customers and avoids discount seekers – what one retail consultant called “bottom feeders” who suck your time and margin only looking for a deal.
Your buyer persona helps you relate not only practically to your buyer, but also relate with empathy and understanding to help the buyer solve a problem or gain an opportunity with a purchased solution.
Added data dimension
Your in-depth prospect and buyer understanding allows you to talk the talk and walk the walk. It not only colors your marketing and advertising, it enables you to drill down into customer data to pinpoint the right prospects with aligned interests and purposes. That goes a long way towards increasing your sales because prospects relate to what you're saying.
Your buyer persona defines the customers you’re looking for in multiple dimensions, all of which can be tagged by data points to create prospects, leads, and sales.
If you can genuinely appreciate your prospect’s situation, understand how they specifically define “success,” alleviate fears and concerns because you know the barriers to buying, and address all the factors in the decision criteria, you likely have the deal.
When you also know how best to reach and communicate with similar buyers and decision influencers, you have a solid foundation for your marketing that generates leads that result in sales.