Buyer Personas – The Key to Sales & Marketing Alignment


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Presented to SMEI Houston by Ahmed Taleb, Sr. Director of Strategic Solutions, Bulldog Solutions

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  • Buyer Personas – The Key to Sales & Marketing Alignment

    1. 1. Buyer Personas – The Key to Sales & Marketing Alignment SMEI Houston – April 7, 2009
    2. 2. About Your Presenter Ahmed Taleb, BA, MBA Sr. Director of Strategic Planning Bulldog Solutions [email_address]
    3. 3. About Your Presenter <ul><li>As the Director of Strategic planning for Bulldog Solutions, Ahmed oversees the creation and delivery of lead-marketing strategies for Bulldog’s leading clients. </li></ul><ul><li>Prior to joining Bulldog, Ahmed developed his career in the interactive marketing space with CriticalMass, a leading interactive agency. During his growth from Senior Research Analyst to Account Manager, Ahmed led Fortune 500 client’s including Dell, Hyatt International, and Kaiser Permanente, through the building and execution of user-experience & segmentation, competitive best practices and online marketing strategy. </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>“ Trust takes time to build, </li></ul><ul><li>seconds to lose </li></ul><ul><li>and twice as long to regain </li></ul><ul><li>as it did to build in the first place” </li></ul>Anonymous quote
    5. 5. The Alignment Imperative <ul><li>The Buying process is changing – Prospects are taking more control </li></ul><ul><li>Sales cycles are getting longer </li></ul><ul><li>Prospects are inundated with marketing messages </li></ul><ul><li>Budgets becoming more scarce </li></ul><ul><li>Sales & Marketing need to work together </li></ul>
    6. 6. Perception is Reality <ul><li>Most respondents consider their companies to be sales-driven only 27% believed they were marketing-minded . </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents agree that the top three measures of sales performance and productivity are lead quality and ROI , conversion and close rates , and level of action on opportunities - all of which would benefit by a deeper alignment and integration between sales and marketing . </li></ul>
    7. 7. Perception is Reality <ul><li>When marketers were asked how they viewed sales, 40% said they had some top producers but there was mostly a need for improvement. </li></ul><ul><li>Sales professionals tend to have a tactical view of marketing, with only 10% seeing marketers as market-savvy and on-target with demand-generating campaigns . </li></ul><ul><li>Some 41% say marketing provide good/right content and sales-support materials. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Still A Challenge <ul><li>Some 55% of sales and marketing professionals surveyed say their companies have not implemented, or are just in the planning stage to implement, formal efforts to integrate or align the sales and marketing functions </li></ul>
    9. 9. Sales Lacks Visibility Into Key Metrics <ul><li>Only a third of Sales professionals felt that they have good visibility into key metrics </li></ul><ul><li>63% don’t have strong visibility </li></ul>
    10. 10. Trends are Moving the Wrong Way <ul><li>In 2005, the percentage of total leads that salespeople were personally generating was 41% </li></ul><ul><li>In 2009, 52.3% of all leads are sales generated </li></ul>Lead Gen Analysis Source: CSO Insights 2009 Sales Performance Optimization Survey
    11. 11. What is the Upside? <ul><li>Building Sales & Marketing alignment builds synergy by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrating core ‘revenue-generation’ components </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better activities alignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fewer lost leads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased Revenue </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Bridging the Gap <ul><li>There are many interdependencies to help build Sales & Marketing alignment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with customers – define your target customers in conjunction with sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create KPI’s to evaluate pipeline further upstream (MQL’s passed) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture downstream feedback to drive process improvements </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Bridging the Gap – The SLA <ul><li>The foundation of a service-level agreement is a binding contract that defines the level of service in measureable terms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Target audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leadscoring </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback mechanism </li></ul></ul>THE BUYER PERSONA
    14. 14. What Are Buyer Personas? <ul><li>A Buyer Persona is a characterization of the preferences, behaviors and attitudes of a typical buyer </li></ul><ul><li>An aggregate of observed events </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect buyer types most commonly encountered; Economic, Technical, Executive, and Key Influencers </li></ul><ul><li>A baseline for defining your audience </li></ul>
    15. 15. What Personas Aren’t <ul><li>Real people – they’re based on ‘fictitious’ prospects </li></ul><ul><li>A complete picture of your total potential audience </li></ul><ul><li>A guarantee of sales success </li></ul><ul><li>The sole driver of a robust B2B marketing program </li></ul>
    16. 16. Getting Started <ul><li>Build organizational support for the initiative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Executive Champion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-silo support for adoption </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build a small, cross-functional project team </li></ul><ul><li>Involve your internal Sales stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Gather data </li></ul>
    17. 17. <ul><li>Company Profile </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the type of businesses that have led to the highest sales success in the past </li></ul><ul><li>Determine the minimum number of discrete attributes that distinguish these business from others (company size, vertical, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Validate decision maker roles with level of organization </li></ul>Buyer Profile
    18. 18. <ul><li>User Profile </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the individual buyer types that are the key decision makers in your target market (Economic, Technical, User, Executive) </li></ul><ul><li>Identify their defining profile attributes (Job Title, functional role, preferred contact) </li></ul>Buyer Profile
    19. 19. <ul><li>Identify Behavioral aspects of B2B decision-makers that can be leveraged to increase the effectiveness of marketing message </li></ul><ul><li>Understand differences across target stakeholders (Economic, Technical, User & Executive buyers and Influencers) to position offers more effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Incite action by appealing to issues of greatest relevance </li></ul>Audience – Behavioral Cues
    20. 20. <ul><li>Pain Points: </li></ul><ul><li>The set of key concerns that generate an aversion based response (Budget restrictions, legislation, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Motivators: </li></ul><ul><li>The set of concerns that drive an attractive response Personal advancement, recognition, gaining market share) </li></ul><ul><li>Validators: </li></ul><ul><li>The set of sources of decision making and purchase support (Peers, 3rd party endorsements, clinical trials) </li></ul>Audience – Behavioral Cues
    21. 21. <ul><li>Media Preferences </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the media consumption habits that each buyer persona displays including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Source – Online, offline, media type </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Format – Text, rich media, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time – Time of day, availability/attention span, seasonality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access – Desktop, network, handheld </li></ul></ul>Audience – Media Preferences
    22. 22. <ul><li>Lead Score </li></ul><ul><li>Identify key attributes that identify your audience </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiate between Explicit and Implicit attributes </li></ul><ul><li>Build registration questions and responses that capture evaluate key attributes </li></ul><ul><li>Generate & refine scoring for each response </li></ul>Audience – Lead Score
    23. 23. Audience – The Buyer Persona
    24. 24. Audience – The Buyer Persona Key buyer information including value proposition, profile and attribute information.
    25. 25. Audience – The Buyer Persona Behavioral cues are collected here to help align outreach initiatives and drive impactful messaging
    26. 26. Audience – The Buyer Persona Media preferences form the basis of a holistic media program to leverage external buys and attract a broader audience
    27. 27. Audience – The Buyer Persona Lead scoring is the quantitative ‘filter’ that identifies and routes Sales Ready leads from the other groups of buyers in the sales pipeline. As leads pass through a registration process – the attributes that we’ve identified serve as the qualifiers.
    28. 28. <ul><li>Audiences aren’t static – update personas as a part of quarterly planning initiatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sales feedback & anecdotal proof points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metrics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media performance data </li></ul></ul>Building a ‘Persona’ Culture
    29. 29. Gathering Feedback <ul><li>Sales is the ‘keeper’ of the most relevant prospect information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leverage CRM system to capture profile changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gather anecdotal evidence to refine pain points, motivators, validators, key objections during quarterly planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ratify pipeline lead-flow to persona to validate true business impact </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. A Final Note <ul><li>It takes time to build trust between Sales & Marketing that are measureable, realistic and deliver real business value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start small – Define your audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage your team – Create joint strategic planning sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constantly improve – Gather & use Sales feedback to improve personas </li></ul></ul>
    31. 31. Thank You Ahmed Taleb Sr. Director of Strategic Planning Bulldog Solutions [email_address] (512)538.0381