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Thinking with Cleriti

We're always thinking, discovering and sharing our knowledge of how to connect with customers in the digital age. Here we share some of those thoughts.

The Intersection Between Buyer Personas and Customer Profiles

The Intersection Between Buyer Personas and Customer Profiles

If you’re evaluating something like inbound marketing, odds are you are in a B2B landscape, you want to generate more leads online, you already have a product or service and you know your customers pretty well. With 2016 upon us, it’s time to review those buyer personas and create up to date customer profiles to build a more effective strategy for next year. Where should you start? Believe it or not — your product.

Deconstructing Your Product or Service

Let’s start with three simple questions:

  • Who bought your product or service?
  • Who is actually using your product or service?
  • Who do you want to buy your product or service?

Whomever it is that bought your product or service is who you should align your lead generation strategy and buyer’s journey with. These are the people you want to get in front of. In any business, this specific person you know you can help is very hard to reach without the right insights on their internal goals, objectives and resources.

The people actually using your product or service are who you need to be friends with. These are the people you need to listen to and get closer to on an ongoing basis to improve your product or service. Who you ideally want to buy your product or service doesn’t matter. Because business is about your customers and making their lives easier — not yours.

Buyer Personas vs. Customer Profiles

The decision maker is not always your one and only persona. Just like the user of your product or service does not always make the decision to use it and is sometimes told to use it. In the age of the customer, corporate alignment and result-driven businesses, today’s buying cycle in a B2B landscape includes quite a few more decision makers.

A Buyer Persona

As an inbound marketing agency, our best buyer persona is a CEO or company owner that is all in and excited about marketing, branding and positioning. We know a lot about this particular person, their challenges, what a busy day-to-day life they have, what kinds of people they hire and how they want to use data over everything else to adapt and achieve better results. If you think you know your customer and want to make a detailed, presentation-ready buyer persona to show your company, head to this HubSpot questionnaire, fill it out and they will quickly generate it for you.

A Customer Profile

Although the CEO may sign the contract at the end of the day, we are often handed off to work with a very task oriented and busy person or two in marketing, communications and sales with very different responsibilities, backgrounds and approaches to marketing. In some business landscapes - these are the people that actually influence the decision maker to care more and be more interested in marketing by getting awesome results. In other cases, they are the people who are duty fulfillers, pulled in many directions and not thinking about marketing strategically.

An Example

Lets use a retargeting platform as an example. There are tons of them out there. Google Adwords, Adroll, and Appnexus to name a few. Our buyer persona, who is the CEO of a company does not usually know what this is, how to set it up, how to utilize it to get results or what options there are on the market. Our customer profile of a Marketing Manager knows exactly what this is, and may already have multiple retargeting campaigns setup around their desired parameters for converting more website visitors into leads.

Be Prepared Before the Conversation

In a related post about the Intersection of Inbound Marketing and Your Sales Process, we talked about conquering your internal goals, objectives and clearly defining accountability. With that in mind, it’s time for us all to start being more honest and help each other out if we want to appeal to anyone in the future. As explained above, there is often a big disconnect between who buys your product or service and who is using it. The same disconnect happens between who sells the product or service and who is responsible to manage and grow on all accounts. It’s up to you to understand both counterparts equally and first-hand know why you are the best fit. The more you know about your buyer personas and customer profiles, the better your conversations, levels of interest, ability to close deals and smoothly onboard customers will be. If your business and buyers are not compatible enough to date each other, then your product or service probably won’t be a good fit for either party.

Fit Your Market Like a Glove

Like any clothing you buy, it’s up to the manufacturer to learn what makes you feel and look great and to deliver just that. More often than not, we buy more clothes because we have excess sitting around that doesn’t quite fit what we need for today whether it’s because of how it looks, what season it is, how much food we ate yesterday, the level of comfort it provides or the overall quality.

As businesses grow, so do the personas and customer profiles. It’s the nature of business and it gets harder and harder to guarantee anything. Today’s average B2B company has four buyer personas, yet over half of marketers do not find their approach effective this year. Maintaining this dialogue about your personas and customer profiles internally, integrating it into your employee onboarding, educating your team and giving everyone the opportunity to learn from customers about how you can improve their experience will go a long way. Focus on what is the reality, not the desired, and use that to grow from within.