The New Art & Science of Marketing: Buyer Personas

Part 2 of a 3-Part Series: Recap of the TMSA Connections Seminar in Kansas City. Nearly 30 marketing and sales professionals in transportation and logistics registered to attend the TMSA Connections Seminar, held last month at YRC Worldwide headquarters in Kansas City. One of the topics the group focused on was how to develop buyer personas to ultimately understand your target market. 

It’s a best practice in today’s marketing: Develop a “Buyer Persona” so you can best identify and articulate the demographic and psychographic profile of your target decision-maker or influencer. Going through the process internally of developing a buyer persona not only helps to identify who your key targets are, it ensures you have buy-in among all stakeholders internally of WHO your priority is and ultimately helps you to communicate this to all key groups in your workforce – from top executives to operations and even professional drivers. 

Where to Start? Develop Your Firmographic Profiles and Buyer Personas 
Who is your ideal customer? If you’re not 100% sure of your answer to the that question, you’re likely missing out on sales. The more you know about your customers, the better you’re able to target your marketing to who they are and what they want. The more you speak their language, the more they’re going to be responsive to you and your company.

Why? They will know that you understand them. If your marketing and sales approaches speak directly to the customer about their thoughts and experiences, it shows you are an expert and already went the extra mile to find out how to help them.

That’s why it’s critical to know the basic outlines of your ideal customers. Developing your firmographic profiles and buyer personas is the first step of creating a successful marketing and sales plan.

Ask yourself the critical question: What Companies Are You Targeting?
Firmographic Profile(s) are descriptive attributes of target organizations that can be used to aggregate individual firms into meaningful market segments. They describe businesses, non-profits, and governmental entities. Essentially, firmographics are to businesses and organizations what demographics are to people (personas).

Then Develop Your Buyer Persona(s)
Buyer Persona(s) are profiles of the specific market of buyers you intend to reach. It is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. But just because they’re fictional doesn’t mean that they’re made up. They’re based on real data about customer demographics and purchasing behavior,
along with educated speculation about their histories, motivations, needs and pain points.

As with your Target Firmographic Profiles(s), while your Buyer Persona(s) can include the following attributes, make sure to customize to those that are most important to your sales and marketing. There are different approaches to creating buyer personas.

Let's talk about two: Worldview and Demographics. You can focus on one or both of these types of personas, depending on your marketing objectives. Worldview. If you build personas around the worldview or buying habits of your customer, you will be focused primarily on their temperament and personality. Gather basic information about who your customers are, how they like to make purchasing decisions, and what makes them tick.

Are they meticulous researchers who want to find out everything they can on your website before making a final decision? Are they primarily concerned with gathering testimonials and seeing evidence of your value proposition?

Demographics. With demographics, we’re looking at facts that will help identify your markets. This helps you really target your key buyers.

Identifiers, Quotes, and Common Objections. An Identifier is a trait or characteristic that sets your customer apart. These serve as identifiers (hence the name) and might include certain “buzz words” or mannerisms your personas use. They also might speak to their temperament or how they typically interact with you.

What makes these identifiers so important is that they help your sales team know when they’ve hooked “Todd the Transportation Director” - or your exclusionary persona equivalent - so they don’t invest copious amounts of time trying to close the deal. These identifiers are super helpful to provide some tangible indicators to your sales team as to which persona they might be dealing with.

Quotes. It’s recommended that you also include a section of real quotes in your buyer persona. They don’t have to be taken word-for-word from actual conversations or focus groups, but it’s helpful to generate some examples of the types of things your target buyers say. Whatever they are, they will help your employees relate to and understand your customer and where they’re coming from.

Objections. Here’s where it gets fun. Brainstorm about the common objections that you hear from your potential buyers during the sales process. Make sure to engage key stakeholders of your sales team in this process. They’ll be full of examples you can use!

Goals. These are what motivate all of us, so in this section you want to get to the heart of your potential buyer. What is their primary goal? Do they have secondary goals? Whatever they are, it’s imperative you fully understand what drives your buyers.

Challenges. These clearly are the day-to-day issues your customers face when it comes to meeting their goals. What hinders them from success? Similar to Goals, they likely have a primary and secondary challenge. These challenges come in the form of pains or problems they face. If they lose sleep at night over something, most likely it’s _______(fill in the blank). What you need to do is figure it out and put it into words. The more you can understand about the issues your customers face, the more they are going to be drawn to you because you “get it!”

How can you help? Here’s where you become your persona’s knight in shining armor. Because you understand your client’s pressing needs so well, you can specifically speak to a solution. This is where you solve your customers’ challenges and help them achieve their goals. Think about it: If someone offered to help make your life easier by taking away your hindrances and assisting you in meeting your goals, wouldn’t you jump at the chance? That’s what we’re getting at here!

Describing solutions to your personas. You might have the perfect solution to your customers’ problems, but if you don’t standardize that message in the right way, your customer might not hear it. It’s important to use the same messaging across the board so that you’re broadcasting a consistent story.

 
 
 
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