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Buyer Profiles


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A structured approach to understanding your buyer, from Modern.

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Buyer Profiles

  2. 2. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 02 CONTENTS Introduction 03 About us 03 Why understanding your buyers is crucial 04 Multiple profiles 04 Getting the message right 05 Different profiles: company and buyer 05 The company profile 06 Ideal company profile 08 Company profile 08 The stakeholder profile 09 Ideal stakeholder profile 11 Making the most of the profiles 12 Further information 12
  3. 3. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 03 INTRODUCTION Leads, leads, leads: it’s what we all want. Leads are the lifeblood of B2B. Welcome to our guide to understanding target companies and buyer profiles. This booklet is intended to help you really understand who your target audience is and how they behave, so that you can develop appropriate strategies as part of your marketing. Creating target company and buyer profiles is a great way to: » develop a clear picture of the kind of companies you are targeting » understand the types of people you will be targeting within those companies » understand how to reach out to them » understand what motivates your existing and potential buyers » build a picture of buying cycles so you know when and what to communicate » understand what content or products are relevant to your audience » understand which offers and promotions are suitable for your audience assess potential leads quickly As with all things related to business, the more you plan, the better the results. It therefore pays to the take the time to think about who your audience is, what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. Knowing and understanding who you’re targeting and how to talk to them will make closing sales much more effective. More importantly, it will be a success. ABOUT US Modern works with numerous B2B clients, large and small. We’re experienced technology marketers and specialise in digital communications, including content strategy. This guide has been created to share some of our experiences with you. We’d welcome the opportunity to show you how building up a clear picture of your target companies and buyers will help you meet your business objectives. Why not give us a call? The Modern Media team 0117 332 6700
  4. 4. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 04 WHY UNDERSTANDINGYOUR BUYER IS CRUCIAL Leads, leads, leads: it’s what we all want. Leads are the lifeblood of B2B. In business-to-business marketing, organisations now face a changing environment. Budgets are being slashed, buying cycles are increasing and the types of buyers likely to purchase are diversifying. It’s getting harder and harder to identify well qualified prospects, making marketing and sales’ jobs harder. Businesses need to recognise opportunities that they can quickly and easily close, rather than spend time chasing prospects that don’t quite fit the bill. One way to do this is to develop a thorough understanding of the types of business that will use your product or service and then build up a profile of the buyers within that business. It only makes sense to target those that are the most attractive and easiest to win. Therefore being armed with knowledge about your buyers is critical to effective selling. It’s the job of marketing to identify those prospects and develop the relationship, slowly moving them down the sales funnel. It’s then the job of sales to close the deal. Both sales and marketing need to have a thorough understanding and insight into the different buyer groups in order to increase sales rates. By creating an accurate picture of your target companies and buyers, it becomes easier to find them. You’ll have a better understanding of the media they consume and what social channels they engage with. You’ll therefore know what channels to exploit in your lead generation strategy. MULTIPLE PROFILES By undertaking this exercise, it’s likely that you’ll have multiple company profiles because you offer different products or services. Likewise, within those companies, you will have different stakeholders. Therefore you are likely to find that you have multiple company and buyer profiles.
  5. 5. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 05 An example might be a company that produces hardware for the testing of web applications. They may typically sell to universities as well as to industry. In this case, they would need to develop a company profile for each type of business that they sell to and then buyer profiles for the individuals within those companies or institutions. This is essential as a university professor will have very different motivations and concerns than a software engineer working for a web application agency. Start with your best customers as you want to attract more business like them. If you’re a start-up or in early life and developing your sales list or client base, then use the knowledge acquired during your market research and proof of concept phases to flesh out the profiles. GETTING THE MESSAGE RIGHT It’s important to know the factual information about your target companies and buyers such as size, sector, location and infrastructure. This only tells you half the picture though. Within an organisation there are many potential buyers and influencers, each playing their part in the buying process and each having different motivations and concerns. Depending on who you’re targeting, your communication will be different. What’s compelling for one group won’t be of interest to the other. By creating a picture of the different buyers and influencers within an organisation, you can target the message appropriately to the right individual which will lead to faster conversions. DIFFERENT PROFILES: COMPANY AND BUYER There are two main types of profile in business-to-business marketing. The first is the company profile, where it’s important to build a thorough picture of the company and factors, both internal and external, affecting it. Create a company profile for each type of company you sell you. The second type of profile is the buyer profile. As we’ve suggested above, there are likely to be multiple stakeholders within an organisation. Some are purchase decision makers, some are influencers and some are end users. Create a buyer profile for each type of stakeholder. In the following pages, you will find considerations for creating company and buyer profiles, along with a form to capture the information you gather.
  6. 6. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 06 THE COMPANY PROFILE It’s important to know the factual information about your target companies and The company profile allows sales and marketing to capture the most important attributes about their best customers. These profiles don’t just look at demographic considerations but also look further into how the organisation is run, its behaviour and its current situation. These are far more influential in determining whether a particular organisation is likely to be a good prospect. Earlier, we mentioned creating a different company profile for the different types of companies you sell to. It is also likely that you will require a company profile for each of your product offerings as well. Not all companies will buy the same products from you. Therefore its good practice to create a comprehensive target company profile for each of your products, as well as the sectors you serve. We recommend looking at the following factors when fleshing out your company profiles: STRUCTURAL FACTORS Structural factors examine the way the prospect’s business is set up. Are they centralised or decentralised? What life stage are they in? Are they growing, stable or shrinking? Are they a local, national or international company? Are they heavily unionised or non-union? Do they have a history of acquisitions or organic growth? ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Environmental factors are external to the prospect and relate to the market in which they operate. Are they leaders or niche players? Do they set trends or follow them? Is their market share growing? Are they affected by legislation or regulation? How immune are they to market fluctuations?
  7. 7. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 07 BEHAVIOURAL FACTORS Behavioural factors look at the way an organisation makes decisions and their management style. Do they have a top-down approach or collaborative management style? Are they early adopters of technology? What other similar products/systems have they bought in the past? What approval mechanisms do they have in place? Is there a procurement process, if so what type? SITUATIONAL FACTORS (ISSUES,TRENDS AND TRIGGER EVENTS) Situational factors consider the timing of events. Looking at what has happened in an organisation will show opportunities and threats. For example, has the organisation recently been bought out? Has there been a change in management? Have they been downsizing? Have they announced a new strategy or initiative? Have they recently posted good or bad financials? Have there been any sudden changes in their market?
  8. 8. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 08 IDEAL COMPANY PROFILE Demographics: Size (No. employees, turnover, etc) Demographics: Sector (Industries, verticals, niches) Demographics: Location (Geography) Life Stage and Growth Plans Key Structural Factors: Internal issues Key Environmental Factors (External issues) Key Behavioural Factors (How they make decisions, How do they need to change) Key Situational Factors (Other issues not mentioned elsewhere) Company profile Category Description
  9. 9. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 09 THE STAKEHOLDER PROFILE These profiles identify the key influencers and purchase decision makers within an organisation. By anticipating their likely responsibilities, goals, motivations and concerns, a thorough picture can be created. From there it is much easier to anticipate issues or concerns and address them at the appropriate point within the decision making cycle. Each type of stakeholder will have a distinct profile. There will be similarities between the different stakeholders, but there will also be core differences. Knowing how to address those issues or concerns will result in faster conversions. It’s worth noting that these profiles are an ‘average’ profile of the stakeholder. Not everyone will conform to the traits outlined. These are simply the most common. TYPES OF STAKEHOLDER There are four types of stakeholders. These are as follows: Operational Champion: the person that drives the project Executive Sponsor: the person that is most likely to fund the project Technical Gatekeeper: the person who has to approve your technology Financial Gatekeeper: the person who approves financial and legal terms The Operational Champion is the one who is most likely to gather information, evaluate and propose your product. They are therefore, likely to be the most influential stakeholder. The Executive Sponsor is the one who makes the final purchase decision and therefore your second most important stakeholder. We would recommend that you start with these two stakeholders for your most important services or products.
  10. 10. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 10 When developing the profiles, we would recommend considering the following factors: TYPICAL JOB TITLE(S) What are the job titles of this stakeholder? This is essential information when compiling information for marketing campaigns. REPORTS TO Who is this person likely to report within the stakeholder’s organisation? What is the chain of command? TYPICAL RESPONSIBILITIES What responsibilities does this stakeholder have? Which of these responsibilities will be affected by your product or service’s solutions? What problems does the stakeholder have that your product or service will address? TYPICAL GOALS What are the typical goals and objectives of the stakeholder within the organisation? What metrics are associated with those goals? ROLE IN BUYING DECISION PROCESS What role does this type of stakeholder typically play with regard to the buying decision process for the product or service you’re selling? ISSUES,TRENDS AND TRIGGER EVENTS What are the key internal issues, external trends and specific trigger events that are likely to influence their attitudes and/or behaviour? Consider this specifically in relation to their role within the buying process and the types of problems that your offering is intended to address. TYPICAL MOTIVATIONS Consider the factors that would cause the stakeholder to move the buying decision process forwards. What would motivate them?
  11. 11. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 11 TYPICAL CONCERNS Consider the factors that would cause the stakeholder to want to slow down or abandon the buying decision process. WHAT WOULD SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? When considering the problem you’re trying to address with your products or services, what would be a successful outcome, or what would a successful outcome look like from the stakeholder’s perspective? IDEAL STAKEHOLDER PROFILE Typical Job Title Typically Reports To Typical Responsibilities Typical Goals (within business) Typical Role in Buying Decision Process Typical Issues, Trends and Trigger Events Typical Motivations Typical Concerns What would success look like for them? Media (News, Blogs, Trade publications) Social Media Channels Notes Company profile Stakeholder Type (tick) Operational Champion Executive Sponsor Technical Gatekeeper Financial Gatekeeper Other
  12. 12. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUYER 12 MAKING THE MOST OF THE PROFILES By taking the time to develop your company and stakeholder profiles, you’ll gather valuable insights into the best way to communicate at specific times during the decision making process. Marketing will be able to identify prospects more effectively and move them gently down the sales funnel with considered messages so that they’re ready for sales to convert. Sales will be more knowledgeable on the key concerns during the later stages of the sales process and be able to close deals more effectively. Overall, by completing these profiles you’ll be able to: » inform marketing campaigns with accurate insights about target companies » identify which companies to target with communications » create a sales qualification criteria for companies » develop messages that resonant with the appropriate stakeholders » develop sales tools that satisfy the informational needs of key stakeholders » identify goals, concerns and motivations during the buying decision process for the key stakeholders » pull in the data to your CRM system to make it easy to capture and review these indicators. FURTHER INFORMATION For further information about building up buyer profiles for companies or stakeholders, get in touch.