We often stress the importance of understanding your target personas when developing an inbound strategy. Without it, your content isn’t geared toward anyone specific, and your overall plan is without strategy. More importantly, you’re missing quality leads that you could nurture and convert into customers… that is kind of the point of this whole inbound thing, right?
So, yes, understanding your target personas is crucial to your content marketing and inbound efforts. But what we’ve found is that this valuable information doesn’t end there. It applies to other areas of the sales process. With the insights gleaned from research, salespeople now understand more about the common needs, concerns, and questions that prospects typically have during the buying process. And, as a result, they’re able to better define their approach and needs analysis questions to help address these insights.
We recently conducted research to help a media client learn more about their target personas. For fun, we’ll call them Top Dog Media.
In doing the research, we surveyed Top Dog’s client-facing salespeople and their clients. We asked a variety of questions pertaining to clients’ needs, benefits sought, what put them in the market for the solution, decision making factors, questions they had, concerns/objectives, where they did their research, what made them ultimately decide to go with Top Dog, and what they enjoyed most about working with Top Dog.
Based on the results of our survey, we uncovered a lot of information about one target persona. The implications for content strategy are fantastic, but I’ve specifically included how salespeople can capitalize on them:
Clients said they wanted to simply increase brand awareness while (secretly or unconsciously) expecting ROI to be demonstrated. Addressing this paradox in a blog post is a must, but salespeople should also be prepared to educate the prospect on this issue, and set expectations for what ROI looks like when the goal is to achieve brand awareness. In addition, offering several ideas that surround this combination can be used as a way to get in the door with potential prospects.
Clients do their research on similar sites and are active on LinkedIn, and salespeople were still a top resource for obtaining information. Knowing where prospects spend their time researching allows salespeople to not only connect with them, but also share content related to their needs. This way, prospects start to view Top Dog salespeople as a marketing resource, and salespeople can stay top of mind with current clients. In addition, knowing that salespeople are still one of the top resources clients use for information allows Top Dog salespeople to set themselves apart by making sure they’re armed with data to answer client questions. (This is where blog content will come in handy!)
Most of clients’ top benefits sought included: custom ideas that fit their unique solution, measurable ROI, and a trusted relationship/partner with a sales rep and company. With this information, Top Dog salespeople must make it a point to address the prospect’s unique needs first, and not try and get in the door with a “package of the day” or product to sell. Demonstrating how a custom idea will achieve ROI will be imperative, too. In addition, making sure you have testimonials from current clients about how you’re a trusted and true marketing partner will help increase your chances with new prospects.
One common question clients had during the sales process was, “Will I reach my audience?” Knowing this, salespeople should take the time to do prior research on the potential audience of the prospect, and be prepared to show how effectively they’ll be reached using Top Dog’s assets (of course, all while remembering the client’s unique needs must be addressed).
One of the top things clients said they value most from Top Dog’s brand are the people. Good customer service clearly goes a long way. Top Dog’s salespeople now know just how much this appreciated (and sets them apart). This confirms the need to make it a point to be responsive, not cut corners, and to roll-up their sleeves to help clients achieve their objective. Luckily, they’ve been doing this the whole time – but now they make sure it is a standard part of their business.
Investing the time to research and clearly define your target personas for your inbound marketing is key, but don’t forget you can (and should) use them for your entire sales process. Share them with your sales team so they can better understand their prospects, and capitalize on insights.
One Final Tip
Keep the conversation going between sales and marketing. Salespeople, take note of questions you receive from prospects and clients, and let your marketing team know so they can write a blog post about it. It’s a small but powerful way to take your marketing (and sales!) to the next level.