Here, Charlie Stewart, CEO of digital marketing agency Rogerwilco and co-author of Business-to-Business Marketing: A Step by Step Guide (Penguin) provides guidance on how businesses can map out their customers’ personas and improve their chances of selling to them.
As he explained in a previous article – Using The 6 Phases Of The B2B Buying Cycle To Improve Lead Generation – Stewart says creating quality content can speed up decision making. But the more you know about your customers and the factors that influence them, the better you’ll be able to tailor your content to their needs … and the faster you’ll be able to convince them to buy from you.
Who is your customer, and who influences them?
Regardless of whether you’re selling to businesses or to end consumers, there’s a strong likelihood that a number of different people will be involved in the purchasing decision. Knowing who they are and understanding their needs and wants can provide significant competitive advantage – and insight.
The most effective way of identifying everyone who contributes to a purchasing decision is to map them out on a concentric circle that places the buyer in the centre and those who influence the buyer in the outer rings.
Identifying the heavyweights
David Ogilvy, often referred to as the grandfather of advertising, once said:
“Don’t count the people that you reach, reach the people who count.”
As an example, women tend to do their household’s weekly grocery shop and, while they may take the decision as to which brand of toothpaste goes into the shopping cart, influencers such as their kids or partners can persuade them where they shop.
South African retailer Pick n Pay recognised this and ran a series of promotions targeting children – its 2015 Stickeez promotion reportedly grew sales by 12%. Take a leaf out of their book and be sure to cast a wide net when mapping out who’s likely to influence your buying decision maker.
Giving away cheap plastic toys is unlikely to resonate with senior managers in the B2B world, but the opinions of other influencers may sway their decisions. The media, analysts, regulators and existing customers can all play as significant a role in convincing a business to choose one vendor over another as any of the C-suite executive team sitting in the boardroom. So understanding their needs and wants is as key as understanding the CEO’s.
Building the persona
Once you’ve identified your customer and their influencers, build up detailed descriptions for each of them.
To ensure consistency across your personas, you’d be well advised to use a template to plot out your insights. HubSpot, the marketing automation software company, has a useful free tool that’ll help put proper structure around the exercise.
You can use this to map out everything from demographic data to insights on your target’s hobbies, details of their job to information about their family.
Specific questions you need to answer include:
- what are they trying to accomplish when buying your product or using your service
- what drives their behaviour
- where do they gather information
- how do they think
- how do they buy
- where else / from who else can they buy
- what might prevent them from buying
Finding the answers is actually easier than it might appear. For starters, your customer-facing employees and colleagues are likely to have a wealth of information on your audience.
You should also be able to glean insights from your website and social media analytics accounts – this will be particularly useful in helping you understand the content they engage with as part of their buying journey.
But the most effective way to build your personas will be to speak to real customers. If you have the budget, commission a research company to hold focus groups or one-on-one interviews with your target audience. If that’s not possible, you can gather a lot of information by simply sending questionnaires to your existing customer base – although you’ll probably want to incentivise these to improve response.
Once you’ve crafted your personas properly you’ll be able to refine your marketing activities, making sure that your messages resonate with each customer grouping within your target audience and, most importantly, increase the chance that they will buy from you versus from your competitor.
Empower Your Team To Make More Sales
The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help.
Much like the business cliché that your company is only as strong as its people, in marketing, behind every successful marketing campaign there is an empowered team. But how do you help your team increase their sales?
The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help:
1. Become clever at dealing with data
It is essential that teams have the right platform at their disposal to reach the agreed-to goals. Teams also need to become more adept at dealing with data to learn about their customers. Teams should segment data, send marketing messages and receive instant feedback to learn from. They should also optimise their messages and dig into the demographics of their audience.
2. Curate your audience
The above enables teams to curate, and continuously engage with their audience. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is focusing their communication to a base, instead of cultivating an audience through learning from insights and feedback. This doesn’t foster an incentive to learn anything from one week or one campaign to the next. Teams end up sending out an email/SMS blast one week after another, with the same results.
3. Market more smartly
Rather than marketing ‘harder’, teams should be marketing smarter. There are a few ways to do this. Given teams have the appropriate automated marketing tools at their disposal, they can automate certain repetitive activities so that they continue to learn while the system executes.
Teams are also best served by breaking down their goals into measurable insights and build logical marketing lists (data lists) rather than lumping everything into one list. Often, splitting data by its original source works well, but so does sectioning lists according to category.
Consider using “Remarketing” for the direct marketing space too. This is similar to AdWords marketing, where teams ‘slice and dice’ their data, and insights about engaged audiences are retargeted using the platform.
The other options is “Long Run” campaigns. Here a campaign is live over a longer period of time, essentially establishing a level of cadence for direct marketing efforts.
4. Do lean marketing
To empower your team, adopt a lean marketing process. This sees teams marketing in small batches, sending e.g. 2000 SMSs, reviewing the results, then another 2000, and then tweaking the marketing message if needed.
By sending five different marketing messages, your marketing teams will be able to whittle down to the top two that returned the best results, and then scale them up.
This, rather than just sending a million SMSs (for example) to your entire database, is a lean marketing approach that can help your team incrementally improve their efforts for an optimal return.
5. Value testing and metrics
Both testing and metrics are critical to helping your marketing team become more successful, with A/B testing in particular critical for learning.
When you tweak campaigns, resist the urge to make larger changes; these make it difficult to measure results. Rather do small-batch testing, even if it is just from your newsletters. Try and bleed the marketing messages out over a logical timeframe – don’t just blast out to the entire list in one go.
Regarding metrics, concentrate not only on the number of messages sent, but clicks and click-through rates as well as conversions, even if the latter happens down the line. Understanding these metrics across demographics is equally important, as this allows you to curate audiences that you can personalise marketing to.
3 Ways You Should Use Data Science To Skyrocket Sales
Sales business is getting harder and more competitive day after day. Both physical retail and e-commerce offer a wide variety of brands and products, which makes it more difficult for an average sales person to seal the deal with potential customers.
Sales professionals have to be clever and extremely analytical before even approaching their clients. That’s why they use data science to skyrocket business. Data science is a contemporary statistical model which seeks to provide meaningful information from large amounts of complex data.
According to the study, this type of business analytics is expected to generate almost USD170 billion in 2018. If you want to keep the business stable and highly profitable, you should consider embracing data science in everyday work. This post will show you 3 ways to do it successfully.
Data science is based on artificial intelligence that has enough analytical power to give you remarkable insights into the traits of all prospects. Using this tool, you can personalise sales negotiations so as to match the exact needs of each client individually.
For example, data science will tell you the basic demographic features like age, gender, and location. But it goes beyond that and reveals income levels, professional titles, or personal interests based on online searches. All these inputs allow you to customise offers according to client’s preferences.
At the same time, you can prioritise prospects based on company size, predicted revenue, long-term potential, industry influence, or any other feature you might consider relevant to your business. This way, you can dedicate more time to the more important prospects and increase profitability just because you know who to talk to first.
It’s much simpler to sell products to existing customers than to attract new buyers. Data science can help you to upsell products and increase the profit using the base of loyal clients.
The system is simple – data science analyses the purchasing history and the preferences of every customer and suggests complementary products. That way, you make sure that your upselling suggestions stay relevant, which not only reduces bounce rates but also strengthens the base of loyal clients.
Create Ambitious Sales Quotas
Creating sales quotas has never been an easy job. Most companies are selling dozens of products in many cities, regions, or even countries, which makes it difficult for sales managers to manually determine ambitious but realistic quotas for their agents.
It’s actually one of the biggest reasons why managers underperform and fail to meet company requirements. However, data science makes this task a lot easier because it can automatically conduct the research and decide how much is enough for every sales representative in your team.
Company Aussie Writings uses data science to make sales forecasts and here’s what they say about it: “The new business analytics model goes through huge volumes of data within minutes, detect sales trends, and givesus a good plan for each agent, product, or region. With such powerful tool at our disposal, we don’t put too much pressure on sales representatives, but we also don’t have to worry about underachievement.”
The benefits of data science
Data science helps businesses to analyse potential clients more comprehensively and increases the odds of keeping sales high in the long run. It’s a perfect model for entrepreneurs who want to stay competitive in the abundance of brands, products, and services.
In this post, we showed you 3 ways you should use data science to skyrocket sales. Which tip could give your company the biggest boost? Let us know in comments and don’t hesitate to ask us if you need any additional information about this topic.
Exclusive Offer: Get 50% Off For This Premium Masterclass On Influence And Persuasion
Sales are the life blood of any business and the ability to make sales is a critical component of a business regardless of its size. But one of the biggest ongoing challenges for many entrepreneurs and sales people is to find new business.
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What to expect from the masterclass
Over the past decade, many marketing options have been promoted as “sales prospecting tools” with very limited results for sales people. The reality is that nobody cares about you, your company or your products. They only care about if they can be better off from buying what you are selling.
Understanding how to influence and ultimately persuade someone to buy from you is the secret to sustainable sales success and business growth.
The Matt Brown Show partners with Sales Guru and The Influence Institute for this ‘one of a kind’ show. The expert panel consists of Gilan Gork, Expert Mentalist; Mark Keating, CEO of Sales Guru and Matt Brown, CEO of Matt Brown Media and host of The Matt Brown Show.
Together they will explore the topic of how to use influence and persuasion to get what you want in business.
Why you should attend
Every business owner will agree that in 2018 the ability to make sales is the ultimate game in business. Whether it’s selling a product or a service, knowing how to sell yourself and your ideas to decision makers is critical. With the competitive nature of a business, everyone should be learning more to get a competitive edge over their competitors.
Mark Keating, CEO of SALESGURU had this to say to entrepreneurs: “Do you know what sucks more than cold calling? Being broke”.
Gilan Gork, an expert in influence and the founder of the Influence Institute had this to say about influence:
“People under estimate the relevance that influence has in all our lives. From leadership to sales, from social to personal, and even the ability to influence ourselves in what we do every day in business.”
Who is the masterclass for
The Sales and Persuasion Masterclass is for entrepreneurs, business owners, small businesses, sales teams and anyone who sells a service or product or just wanting to learn how to sell themselves better.
The Show takes place on 4 April at Mesh Club, Rosebank, Johannesburg. Limited seats are available and we advise that you book your seat here today still to avoid disappointment.
“The ability to get what you want in business is a skill that anyone can learn but very few ever master. Understanding how to influence and ultimately persuade someone to buy from you is the secret to sustainable sales success and business growth”, said Matt Brown.
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