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How Targeted Is Your Selling Strategy?



Any salesperson worth their salt knows the importance of talking to prospects in a relevant way. Yet not every salesperson has totally grasped the concept of buyer personas to help make those relevant conversations a reality. Buyer personas can help move this process along and improve sales on the way.

A buyer persona is like a made-up customer profile, except it’s not really made up because it’s based on actual experiences with actual customers. A buyer persona pulls together information that customer types have in common, like job titles or challenges or demographics—things that make them good prospects for what it is that you’re selling because they are based on customers you’ve already sold to.

Buyer personas help to remove the ambiguity for salespeople, changing the prospect from an unknown to a known person, and therefore making the sales process easier. For example, if you know from your buyer persona that your prospects tend to be upwardly mobile middle managers at software companies, you can zero in on these targeted audiences and also speak to them in a targeted, relevant way.

Why relevance matters
In an age when we are bombarded with messages all day every day, relevant messaging stands out. People are more likely to pay attention when they read, hear or see messages targeted to them as opposed to generic messages intended for everyone. That means, when your communications with a prospect are specific and targeted, you relate better to them and they are more likely to be interested in hearing what you have to say. When Skytap, a self-service provider of cloud automation solutions, adapted a content marketing strategy using targeted buyer personas, they increased leads by 124%.

In addition, you earn their trust by demonstrating that you understand their situation or issues. With the right research on your part, you can even become a trusted advisor. Without the persona that helps you to understand this audience and communicate with them in a relevant way, you’re just one more salesperson vying for their attention.

Importance of buyer personas
If you don’t know your targeted buyer persona, you are just wasting your breath when pitching your sale. Wouldn’t you rather your effort was well spent? It can be. This infographic by SingleGrain highlights plenty of statistics proving the benefits of targeted marketing via buyer personas, including:

  • Using targeted personas makes websites 2 to 5 times more effective and easier to use.
  • Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%.
  • These same targeted emails drive 18% more revenue when compared to generic broadcast emails.

How to put personas to use in your sales process
Now that you recognize who your audiences are, educate yourself on what matters to them. Read up on and become knowledgeable about the specific issues they face. For example, if you’re selling software for accounting firms, subscribe to their newsletters, get a feel for the seasonality of their work, and do research to get familiar with the issues that accountants face.

Also follow the leaders and influencers of that target persona industry. LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding those leaders as well as industry groups with relevant discussions you can learn from. Subscribing to newsletters and using LinkedIn can both keep you up-to-date current industry issues as well, and help you get familiar with the leading companies in the space.

All of this education and preparation will prepare you for—and improve—your sales. You’ll write more targeted emails. Your phone calls will be more relevant to your prospects. Your meetings will have more meaning. In short, you’ll be “talking their talk” and they will be much more likely to listen, knowing you are talking specifically to them rather than generically to everyone.

There’s another benefit to all of this: retention.

Using targeted personas helps minimize the risk that someone will tune you out, and increase the chances of the prospect liking the way you sell because it is more targeted to their needs. That means when they are ready to buy again, they will want to buy from you. And that means higher profits: According to Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

Almost double the profits from targeted selling using buyer personas? That sounds like an improvement in sales to me.

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