Personas are a major help when it comes to making your marketing more personal and relatable.
If you already run B2B buyer personas for your target organisations then it’s likely you’ve already adjusted your marketing for the better on the back of what your personas told you.
But, like anything, the impact of your personas will lessen over time if you don’t revisit them often. B2B buyers’ approaches change regularly and so, therefore, must your personas.
We also frequently see B2B marketing personas that have some of the needed information, but perhaps not quite as much as they should have.
Here then are six suggestions for you to improve your personas and make them better. Either build these into your initial template or, if you already run personas, complete an exercise where you recreate your personas every six months, adding these additional sections and exercises into the mix.
1. A second (and third and fourth) opinion
Sometimes the old ‘too many cooks’ rule can be true with marketing, but rarely is that true of B2B buyers personas.
Unlike a lot of your marketing, personas are often basically formed of opinion, interpretation and recollection. It’s unlikely you’ll have solid data on what your latest customer’s major pain point was, for example. It’s an educated guess based on what you learned during the sales cycle and the fact you made a sale.
Because of this it’s important to collect as many opinions into your personas as possible. Account Managers who deal with a different set of clients each, for example, are likely to have very different views on that client type overall, based on their individual experiences.
Your CEO will have one view of why people buy your product or service; your product manager will have an entirely different view.
Involve different people in your B2B buyer persona building process; either in the meeting where it happens or subsequently, as part of a request for feedback.
In the last suggestion we said that personas were typically based on opinions. Here’s where you can change that fact!
Completing your initial B2B buyer persona build based on what everyone thinks is probably still the right way to go, but now that you’ve done that and you’ve collected some data it’s time to revisit and question your assumptions.
For example; if you said your target audience was on Instagram, you ran some social ads and achieved poor results then the data could suggest this is incorrect.
If you’re using HubSpot you also may now have some personas labelled against contacts in the system. Filter your contacts by persona type and drill into the underlying data. What can you learn about how your different personas interact with you?
You can take any findings from this exercise back to your persona documentation and tweak it accordingly.
3. Examples from within your existing client base
You can help your team to understand what they’re looking for when identifying prospects by giving them a real life example.
If you run a ‘Marketing Mary’ persona, for example, then who out of your current customers is a perfect ‘Marketing Mary’?
You can demonstrate to your team the signs of ‘Marketing Mary’ by explaining how your real life customer came to be a customer; what conversations did you have at point of sale; what pain points do you help to solve?
Examples and stories make things clearer to people and help certain learning styles to better understand concepts. This is certainly true when it comes to marketing personas.
4. Quick links
You might not store these within your persona documentation; they could be a snippet, template or part of a sequence within HubSpot, for example.
But wherever they are, the purpose of these quick links is to provide some instant reference points to help your team to sell to your marketing personas.
If you know that your persona is likely to compare your service or product to an alternative, for example, then having a comparison sheet or webpage close at hand can make a real difference to the success rate you have with that persona.
Maybe it’s as simple as an email template for approaching the persona. By pre-creating this you can make sure that your sales team are hitting all of the persona’s pain points in that first communication.
Identify the materials that you need to sell to your persona and then choose the best medium or tool within HubSpot (or favoured CRM) to get your material in front of your persona.
5. Direct feedback
We’re back to data and opinions!
Once you have some clients who match your persona, look to identify a particularly friendly one, who loves what you do. Someone who’s willing to give you a positive testimonial or case study is a good fit.
You’ll need to handle this carefully and each individual’s input into your persona picture will depend on that individual and how you approach them.
You may just need to ask them: ‘why did you approach us to use our service/buy our product’ and that will be enough to impact your persona document.
In other circumstances you may even feel comfortable sharing your persona document! Explain to your boss or client what it is and why you use it and see what they think of the profile you’ve created of them.
However you handle it, if you have the right relationships, discussing personas with the actual people behind the personas themselves can add unparalleled insight.
6. A catchy name!
We mentioned ‘marketing Mary’ earlier in this blog and we’ve seen far too many ‘marketing Marys’ in our time!
You want your B2B buyer personas to be easily memorable and used by your team. You want them to say things like ‘oh yeah, she’s a Mary’, when discussing prospects or: ‘I’ve reviewed the opportunities; two no-goes, two Marys and one Jake’. It needs to become the lingo of your organisation.
To that end, consider creating some memorable monikers.
Why have ‘Martin the MD’, when you could ‘Dedryck, the dynamic modern MD’ or ‘Toadstool Tom the traditional garden-variety MD’.
Wacky names and an accompanying picture within HubSpot also help, although, in this scenario, perhaps think twice about the recommendations above before showing your clients their persona!
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo. Do you publish content yourself, or need content for your own website? If you’d like to collaborate on anything at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.