Why Buyer Personas Bring in New Business (And How Your Call Data Can Help)
Most business owners have some feel for their ideal customer. You understand their motivations or pain points, and perhaps even more personal details like income level and relationship status. What's less likely is that you've taken the time to pull all of this information into a target buyer persona. If that's the case for your company, you're missing out on a crucial step that will almost certainly improve your marketing and bring in more business. We're here today to help you change that!
What is a Buyer Persona?
In short, a buyer persona is a set of characteristics, behaviors, and circumstances that companies can use to identify those most likely to purchase a product or service. A target buyer persona differs from general customer data because it is intentional and complete. The persona moves beyond a general instinct or gut feeling that someone is likely to be a good prospect, into a place where your sales team or service reps can categorically say the person or business has been qualified and is highly likely to buy. Building target buyer personas can save time and resources, as your business spends more time pursuing those most likely to convert, rather than marketing to a broad audience and waiting to see what sticks. This can also improve training, as new employees are better able to identify high-value prospects, even if they've only been in the role for a short period. Crafting a complete buyer persona - or multiple personas where required - can be the difference between catching a few new customers and cornering the market. Well-defined outlines of your ideal customer make your marketing more targeted. They help you deliver a clear, relevant message to those people or companies most likely to buy what you're selling.
How Do Buyer Personas Differ Across Business Types?
At a basic level, buyer personas don't need to get much more complicated than what we've described above. In the B2C space, buyer personas focus more on personal characteristics than professional ones. These might include the following:
- Personal (or household) purchase history
- Emotional qualities
- Psychological considerations
Businesses who sell direct to consumers would then craft a persona around the combined elements above, creating an ideal buyer who can be given a name, image, and anything else that helps customer service and sales teams better identify with their target market. For B2B companies, the buyer persona inevitably becomes more professionally-focused, examining the characteristics of target companies rather than individuals. Specific job titles within that business provide an opportunity to humanize the persona, but even then this is likely to be limited to the individual's ability to make or influence a purchase decision. Criteria used to create a B2B buyer persona can include:
- Company size, turnover, and location.
- Corporate mission and values
- Stage of growth
- Estimated annual spend in relevant service sector
- Decision-making ability of individual roles
- Existing connections to key stakeholders
Although every target buyer persona will have some difference, the underlying goal is the same: create a set of characteristics for your ideal customer. Once in place, you have an invaluable marketing tool that can be used by everyone in your business to identify and nurture potential new customers.
Using Call Data to Create Target Buyer Personas
As we've covered in the past, access to comprehensive call data gives you much more than just who's calling and where they come from. Used in conjunction with an effective CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform, call data can provide the key to unlock new sales and better serve existing customers. Here are some data points that you can pull from phone calls to build out better customer profiles:
- Geography: Where do most of your calls come from? Are there distinct areas that speak to different buyer characteristics?
- Questions & Conversions: How many times does a typical customer call before they buy from you? What are the common reasons for calling before they make a purchase?
- Time and Length of Call: When does your ideal customer call you? How long do they typically spend talking to your team, both pre- and post-sale?
- Marketing Channels: Does your target buyer use a particular platform, listen to a specific radio show, or read a certain type of publication? Use individual tracking numbers dedicated to different channels will help you find out.
- Sales Pitch: Your sales team likely has a variety of offers and tactics to make the sale: which works best over the phone? A combination of call recording and categorization in your CRM platform can help identify which pitches your target buyer responds to.
As you'll see in the next section, all of the data points and anecdotal information that you gather about your existing customer base can be used to create target buyer personas that bring in new business. As any stretched business owner knows, using the resources you already have is always preferable to starting from scratch or reinventing the wheel!
Where to Start
To create buyer personas for your own company, begin by gathering the data you already have available about your ideal customer. This might come directly from the founder, or it could be anecdotal evidence from multiple sources around the company. It doesn't really matter, as long as you're confident that you've mined every available resource to get a rough outline of that target buyer. Ask open questions like "what kind of people buy from us?" and "why do they buy?" to encourage respondents to give you as much information as possible without filtering for what they think you want to hear. You can also request common questions that the sales and service team is asked, as well as diving into call recordings of known customers if you have them available. With these broad details, you can start to put together a more intentional identity for your target, which will be fleshed out in the form of a target buyer persona. E-commerce platform Shopify offers an excellent breakdown of buyer persona creation for online businesses, while the software experts at Capterra provide a helpful guide for B2B marketers to create comprehensive personas. Identifying potential customers and standing out to them has never been more important. Although this initiative can take time to put in place, target buyer personas provide a marketing asset that your business will use and benefit from for years to come.
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