On the 14th of February, we held our first webinar of the year. What better way to mark Valentine’s Day than to learn more about customer relationships and how ABM and B2B marketing work hand-in-hand? If you missed out, then don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Here’s a summary of what happened on the day…
What’s in this article?
Buyer personas are a representation of your ideal customers based on market research and real-time data of existing customers. They are vital to B2B companies because they enable brands to gain a greater understanding of their existing and prospective customers. It’s essential that you target the right audience segments in your campaigns and developing your B2B buyer personas will allow you to do just that.
When it comes to communicating with your target audience, buyer personas are critical to getting your messaging right. They provide a clearer picture of your audience’s needs and wants, so you can successfully position your products or services as an appropriate solution to their problems. Buyer personas are also a great way to find out how you should connect and engage with your customers, and through which channels.
So, how do buyer personas fit into B2B strategies? Well, 83% of customers are only interested in hearing from your brand IF you are relevant and contextual – and the only way you can do this is if you fully understand your customers. Brands must understand their audience’s pain points first and address their requirements, in order to be considered as a solution to their problems. Eventually, if you do this effectively, your brand will be recognised as a trusted and reliable source, and it’ll be easier to meet your marketing objectives.
It’s really important to understand your audience on a deeper level, but many B2B companies struggle with how to do this. It’s likely that your company will have all the information you need already, it’s just about utilising the right sources.
Once you have a better understanding of your audience, the next step is to segment them into different audiences. There are a number of segmentation types that are essential for B2B companies, including:
Segmenting your audience allows you to identify groups that have similar characteristics, so you can refine your marketing strategies and tailor your messaging to each segment.
Unfortunately, not enough B2B companies utilise buyer personas effectively, typically because they either don’t understand the value of personas or they don’t have the know-how to be able to create them. Yet, it’s such a simple process.
The best way to approach creating buyer personas for your B2B brand is to create a CV-style persona, as this will give you more flexibility to continue adding to it on an ongoing basis. It’s important to give each one of your personas a story to ensure that key stakeholders within the business understand your target audiences and their motivations. Your personas should also focus on their goals and challenges to align your messaging across all marketing channels. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a successful buyer persona if it didn’t specify how your company’s product or services solves your customers’ problems.
Here’s a list of things you should consider when compiling your buyer personas.
To create a successful ABM marketing strategy, it’s important to make a plan to ensure that your teams are on the same page. Start by reviewing the existing content you already have – do you have the information available to distribute to clients? If you are missing specific content, think about what information you need and what research needs to be done.
Look at what campaigns your competitors are running to direct any additional content you may need to create. You need to understand what gap your brand is going to fill in the market, what opportunities are available and what content can be leveraged that is in line with your customer’s requirements.
Next, you need to consider how you are going to engage with your target audiences. Each audience will have a preferred platform to discuss topics, read information or spend their lunch breaks. These variations will enable you to determine which social media platform is more appropriate for engaging with your audience. LinkedIn is often considered the go-to platform for B2B companies by default due to its targeting capabilities, however, there may be valuable opportunities available by exploring layers of specific personas. It’s essential that you engage with the people you are helping, not just the decision-maker.
Once you have done this, you need to consider what metrics you will use to gauge success. Data collection is extremely important to ensure you can make informed decisions. You will find that you have different KPIs for the ‘awareness’, ‘consideration’ and ‘decision’ stages, as you will likely see different outcomes. By having classification in different stages, you will also be able to know how users are progressing down the funnel. Trigger points like this are great for aspects such as Lead Scoring and team handoffs between Sales and Marketing.
Documenting all your research into an easy-to-use matrix is often the best way to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. You can have a matrix per buyer persona or audience segment, or build a large overarching document. As long as it’s accessible and clear, it will enable all teams from Marketing to Sales to be coordinated.
The first stage is to make sure you have the infrastructure to collect and integrate the data you need. When assessing the performance of your campaigns, the KPIs by stage will be extremely important as this will highlight any required optimisations and what is performing well. There is a wide range of tools available outside of Google Analytics that can collect data from your website – it’s just about finding the one that works for your business. Here are some examples of alternative data collection tools.
With any platform, they typically all accept UTM parameters, which is very useful as you can control how the data is seen within your analytics tools. This will help ensure any data from other platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are categorised correctly within the database.
Now that you have the data accessible, how can you get better results? Look at what is working and what isn’t working based on your KPIs, as this will help you identify a number of areas where you can test potential optimisations. Some of these areas may include:
In addition to testing and analysis, it’s important to look for market changes. Reports from the likes of LinkedIn and VWO can yield great insights into common pain points or frustrations. These insights can help prioritise optimisations to improve your user journey and help make gradual improvements.
Remember, the digital world is always changing and sending personalised content is always better. So, make sure you are moving with the change or you could risk being left behind.
Are you interested in finding out more about ABM Marketing? Get in touch with us today!