If you’re an IT service provider trying to improve marketing and scale business but you’re not quite sure why you’re getting stuck, here’s some comforting news: You’re not alone. I recently spoke to a number of Continuum partners when working at Navigate 2017’s Grow Your Business Hub—and my Buyer Persona Creation station (along with five other valuable marketing stations) was completely booked for just this reason.
When speaking to MSPs about how to increase the success of their marketing efforts with buyer personas, my colleague Joe and I advised that knowing your audience is really the foundation to achieving targeted and actionable marketing. Instead of sending out generalized messaging about your company to all clients and prospects, it’s crucial that IT providers adopt a persona-based marketing strategy in order to better resonate. Here are some steps you can take to get you there!
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is essentially a profile for a category of your client base. You can create however many personas make sense for your business, but two to five is the general sweet spot. For each persona, it’s important to think through their specific goals, pain points and personality traits—and organize this information so that everyone in your organization can easily use personas as reference points to remain aligned and drive better results.
Employing buyer personas in your business is a great way to ensure that marketing and sales are in alignment, but in order to truly be set up to grow business through persona-based marketing and sales, MSPs must keep some key points in mind.
1. Get to Know Your Client Base
If you’re looking to nail down your messaging, ask yourself, “Who am I selling to?” When building out personas at the Hub, Joe and I prompted partners to picture their ideal clients: What vertical are they in? What’s their role within the organization? How does your value proposition speak to their specific goals and pain points? How would the buying/selling process go?
But, remember not to get too granular! The goal of the persona exercise is to break things down to a point where you can directly target the right people with the right message. However, you don’t want to make things too hard on yourself by having endless personas to keep track of and create separate messaging for. The key is to understand the different types of buyers within your client or prospect base, not create new ones.
2. Make It a Team Effort
Your sales and marketing teams should be involved in the creation of these personas, so get their buy-in! Similarly, your sales and marketing teams should be using these personas as reference points when creating content and marketing campaigns, and when talking to prospective clients. Building and using buyer personas should be collaborative and fully embraced throughout the organization.
3. Revisit and Revise
After creating your buyer personas, make sure you keep in mind that they can and should evolve. Think of them as living documents that can be refined on a regular basis, as marketing and sales glean more audience insight and determine what’s working.
At the Buyer Persona Creation station, we used a tool called Xtensio that offers free marketing templates. We used the User Persona template within the tool to build personas with partners, and we customized the sections of the template as necessary. This was an easy and helpful process for collecting and organizing information that can then be leveraged in marketing programs as well as in sales conversations.
Once you are able to organize the information you already know about your ideal customers and focus on their specific needs and preferences when marketing to them, you’ll not only start hitting home with your audience, but lay the foundation for a long and prosperous relationship built on trust.
By Gretchen Hoffman
By Gretchen Hoffman