Buyer Personas: Nostalgic or Still Relevant?
For a time, creating buyer personas was a must-have. If your team didn’t have defined buyer personas, you were missing something. But, creating a persona is less than half the battle. The real value comes from what you do with them. If you put your buyer personas into practice in marketing, sales, and customer success, you’ll find that they’ll pay for themselves several times over. If you’re reading to pull out your personas and brush off the dust, here’s how you can do that.
1. Use Buyer Personas to Reallocate Your Ad Spend
Let’s take this example of a SaaS firm for a moment — let’s say the two personas they created were CEO Sally and Tech Director Tim. The personas covered demographic information gleaned from ideal clients, but in short:
CEO Sally represented an executive or founder who didn’t have time to sit down and chat details for every piece of marketing or business software. She knows her space and is active in the decision process for what’s in her tech stack, but cared more about proof that the SaaS firm could increase revenue and keep implementation time short.
Tech Director Tim represented the CTOs who wanted to know he was working with a vendor that knew their stuff — and had a product to back it up. He cared that the SaaS firm knew the lingo, supported their product claims, and could explain how they’d make his job easier.
One way for the marketing team at this SaaS firm to put these personas into action is to drop them right next to the digital ad strategy they had in place to see if they were actually getting in front of Sally and Tim where they spent their time — and using the right kind of language to speak to them. B2B buyers are 48% more likely to consider solutions that personalize their marketing, and personas are an easy way to drive that strategy.
Segmenting their ad budget by persona, they could then start by crafting social media ads for CEO Sally on Facebook and LinkedIn where she’s networking and spending her downtime. Language would focus on ROI and easy implementation, with a call-to-action to watch a quick video, read a consumable case study, or contact a rep.
Then, in tandem, they could target Tech Director Tim on industry sites and vendor comparison sites through buying digital ad spots or co-sponsoring virtual informational events. For Tim, they would drop in more technical language and offer him a white paper about the software or a chance to schedule a demo.
2. Use Buyer Personas to Drive Content Creation
Many clients we work with tell us that in the coming quarter, they’ve set out to create two eBooks and a white paper — or a similar content goal. But, their plan doesn’t go beyond that. It’s important to understand who they’re creating the content for, what questions their ideal reader is asking, and use the content to answer those questions.
Buyer personas are the perfect basis to address each of these, and you should be using personas as the basis for every new piece of content you create.
For example, getting back to our SaaS firm, Sally would be a good fit for a short video or a visual-heavy case study that emphasizes the wins from the client. Tim would benefit from a longer white paper or a product sheet.
Here’s a real-world example from a company called Skytap - a self-service provider of cloud automation solutions. Skytap spent time building out their buyer personas and used them to build a tailored content marketing strategy, being sure to monitor any change in performance. They found that:
- Sales leads increased by 124%
- Online leads increased by 97%
- Organic search traffic increased by 55%
3. Use Buyer Personas to Refine Sales Follow-Up
Buyer personas are the perfect tool for marketing-sales alignment. The same reasoning behind tailoring ads and creating content applies to sales: If you know the questions your personas are asking and what next steps they’d care about, your sales team can use that information to craft more effective outreach practices.
You should be arming sales with each piece of persona-relevant content you create and working with them to define the conversion step that makes sense to each. Even in its simplest form, a sales rep using the right kind of lingo when talking to a lead can mean the difference between building rapport and getting dropped into the spam folder.
You might be surprised at how effective this is. You actually have a better chance to convert cold leads with persona-based content (58%, in one firm’s A/B test) than you do when trying to convert a warm lead with more general content (45%)!