What is an Audience Persona and why is it more important than ever in B2B sales today?
Since the recession, B2B buyers have changed the way they buy. More risk averse, more focussed on ROI and with more stakeholders in the decision-making group, B2B buyers need more than just features and benefits to influence their choices.
The newest sales methodology published by CEB in their award winning book "The Challenger Sale" proves that helping buyers understand their audience and how they buy, in addition to insights from an experienced sales person are the key tools in making B2B sales today.
Demonstrating unique insights into how your prospective client's audience buys and behaves is the single most important factor in helping them to choose you. So how can your sales team convey this unique insight into their client's audience?
Audience Personas are semi-fictional profiles of your prospective client's ideal customer based on your market research and real data. If you operate an event, publication or distribute industry news then these insights are reasonably easy to gather.
An detailed Audience Persona to your prospective client is huge. Their decision-making when choosing to exhibit, sponsor or support your event or publication is almost always down to whether they can justify and then prove a return on their investment. To enable them to choose they need insight into how their audience buy and how they can leverage this through your product or service.
An Audience Persona can be written and designed in such a way as to appear tailored to your prospective clients. Information on audience cohorts can be used to appeal to multiple prospects whilst remaining relevant. Designed as a single page PDF (for example) Audience Persona's serve as a great way to attract prospective clients through online downloads and are considered high value. High value content provides you with an opportunity for data capture and new leads for your sales teams.
An Audience Persona focusses on key attributes of the prospective client's audience. They might include:
individual information on a key buyer: age, geographic location or personal goals and drivers
what motivates them in their personal/business life
what they are looking for in a supplier
who they typically buy from and why
what they need to know about your business that would change their mind
typical buying cycle: length and number of stakeholders
industry changes effecting their decision-making
All this information is of the highest value to your prospective clients. If your sales team can couple this with their experience and examples of success stories from similar business, then your brand will have the edge against your competition and very good chance of helping the prospect to choose.
We design Audience Personas for our clients and although not widely adopted within the industry currently, we are finding that the clients who use Audience Personas are making substantial gains within their sales department.
Businesses reluctant to adopt Audience Personas might look toward providing their clients with infographic content which borrow elements from the Persona model. Infographic content can be combined with Audience Personas to create a highly visual, highly informative, insight driven document that any prospective buyer would be hard pushed to ignore.