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From PDFs to Action: Reinventing Your B2B Personas - Katie Martell, Godfrey FWD:B2B Conference

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From PDF’s to Action:
Reinventing Your B2B Personas
From PDFs to Action:
Reinventing your B2B Personas
Katie Martell
Co-Fo...

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About me:
I market to B2B marketers
I’m from Boston
I co-founded Cintell
My desk

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Agenda:
1.Let’s talk about you
2.The state of buyer personas
3.Why personas fail
4.What to do about it
5.Q&A
@KatieMartell...

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From PDFs to Action: Reinventing Your B2B Personas - Katie Martell, Godfrey FWD:B2B Conference

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Buyer personas are an effective way of understanding buyers, but not if they’re hiding at the back of a desk drawer in a PDF, full of assumptions, or rarely updated. Join this session to learn why 85% of marketers aren’t using buyer personas effectively, and how you can create or reinvent your personas to be used as actionable tools to drive real results company-wide.

Katie is on a mission to help companies better understand their buyers. She possesses experience creating buzz and driving market demand for B2B organizations in the Greater Boston technology ecosystem.

Buyer personas are an effective way of understanding buyers, but not if they’re hiding at the back of a desk drawer in a PDF, full of assumptions, or rarely updated. Join this session to learn why 85% of marketers aren’t using buyer personas effectively, and how you can create or reinvent your personas to be used as actionable tools to drive real results company-wide.

Katie is on a mission to help companies better understand their buyers. She possesses experience creating buzz and driving market demand for B2B organizations in the Greater Boston technology ecosystem.

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From PDFs to Action: Reinventing Your B2B Personas - Katie Martell, Godfrey FWD:B2B Conference

  1. 1. From PDF’s to Action: Reinventing Your B2B Personas From PDFs to Action: Reinventing your B2B Personas Katie Martell Co-Founder, CMO @ Cintell @KatieMartell
  2. 2. About me: I market to B2B marketers I’m from Boston I co-founded Cintell My desk
  3. 3. Agenda: 1.Let’s talk about you 2.The state of buyer personas 3.Why personas fail 4.What to do about it 5.Q&A @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  4. 4. The B2B marketer in 2015: More budget (up 4% in 2015) More of the purchase journey (50-90%) More content across more channels @KatieMartell #MPB2B © Cintell@KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  5. 5. It’s easy to lose sight of who this is all for in the first place. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  6. 6. Most companies are the center of their own universe. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  7. 7. We’ve forgotten why we’re here in the first place. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  8. 8. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” - Peter Drucker
  9. 9. of B2B companies admit they do not understand their buyers. 60% -SiriusDecisions NOPE YEP @KatieMartell #MPB2B © Cintell@KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  10. 10. Isn’t that a little… CRAZY?
  11. 11. Content output in past 5 years: 78% -TrackMaven Content engagement: 60% @KatieMartell #FWDB2B@KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  12. 12. Our employees are like hostages suffering from Stockholm Syndrome… … They take on the worldview of their employer and forget what it’s like to be a regular person. - Adam Richardson, Financial Engines
  13. 13. The role of marketing is changing to become the customer advocate within a company. The rise of the marketer: Driving engagement, experience and revenue Economist Intelligence Unit report, sponsored by Marketo @KatieMartell #MPB2B © Cintell@KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  14. 14. Your #1 job responsibility in 2016: Study: B2B Marketers Worldwide ITSMA “The New Architecture of Marketing Talent,” Dec 9, 2014 Understanding buyers Marketing technology tools Market/competitor analysis Thought leadership Lead generation 85% 76% 75% 74% 73% @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  15. 15. The company that understands their buyers best, wins. TWEET THIS @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  16. 16. To win in the age of the customer, B2B marketers need to drive customer intelligence into all areas of the business. - Laura Ramos Forrester @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  17. 17. Personas are a vehicle for customer-centricity. My car (JK)
  18. 18. This is about empathy. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  19. 19. Personas: a history 1990s “Persona” created to humanize software development by Alan Cooper 1990s – 2000s Buyer personas become popular among marketing consultants and agencies 65 MYA Dinosaurs roam the Earth 2000s – today Industry standard best practice used by best-in-class B2B organizations @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  20. 20. Evolution and innovation in marketing tech 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 The rise of marketing technology $32.4B in marketing software spend by 2018 # of technology vendors @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  21. 21. Evolution of the buyer persona: @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  22. 22. Of B2B companies aren’t using buyer personas effectively. -ITSMA 85% @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  23. 23. 1. Have personas and confident in them 2. Have personas but they need work 3. Don’t have personas – but want to 4. No personas – no plans to right now POLL @KatieMartell #MPB2B © Cintell@KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  24. 24. Of B2B companies have personas or a related initiative in place. -ITSMA 73% @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  25. 25. Why do personas fail? @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  26. 26. 26 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL Reason #1: PDF PURGATORYReason #1: They’re too shallow. “IT DIRECTORS” @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  27. 27. 27 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL Reason #2: PDF PURGATORY @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  28. 28. 28 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL Reason #3: They’re out-of-date Ch-ch-changes • Regulatory (new laws) • Economic (hard times) • Demographic (new/retiring buyers) • Environmental (new tech, influencers) @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  29. 29. 29 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL Reason #4: Created with internal opinion ONLY @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  30. 30. 1. Build trust 2. Show them the WIIFM 3. Start with your sales BFF 4. Remind them of your common goal “Sales won’t let us near their customers.” @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  31. 31. 31 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL Reason #5: Created without collaboration / buy-in @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  32. 32. 32 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL Reason #6: They don’t account for the committee. At least 7 influencers in B2B tech buying decisions - IDC @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  33. 33. 33 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL Reason #7: They contain irrelevant B2B information. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  34. 34. 34 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL What Goes Into a Great Persona? Ardath Albee Tony Zambito Adele Revella SiriusDecisions • A Day in the Life • Objectives / Problems • Orientation • Obstacles • Questions • Preferences • Keywords & Phrases • Engagement Scenarios • Who buyers are • What they’re trying to accomplish • What goals drive their behavior • How they think • How they buy • Why they make buying decisions • Where they buy • When they buy 5 Rings of Buying Insight™ • Priority Initiatives • Success Factors • Perceived Barriers • Buyer’s Journey • Decision Criteria Functional Attributes • Job Role • Common Titles • Position on Org Chart • Buying Center • Firmagraphics Emotive Attributes • Initiatives • Challenges • Buyer Need • Lexicon Decision Process Attributes • Buyer Role • Level of Engagement • Decision Drivers Behavioral Attributes • Content Asset Types • Interaction Types • Watering Holes @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  35. 35. 35 Copyright © 2015 Cintell LLC CONFIDENTIAL Reason #8: They don’t translate to tactics. Can you:  Map contact records to persona?  Organize / tag content by persona?  Use personas to inspire content (your muse)?  Understand account coverage by personas? Perceived value of personas Practical application of personasYou (ouch) @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  36. 36. 1. Get the marketing team in lock step 2. Expand into sales enablement, service 3. Segment by persona 4. Build a centralized repository w/ assets 5. Open the lines of communication 5 Ways to Operationalize Buyer Insights @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  37. 37. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B Example
  38. 38. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B Problems with HCSS personas: • Our perception of them and in our words • Too many, too complicated • No differentiation between – Buyers – Users – Customers • Buried in Google Drive • Stagnant • Not using them to segment 41,000 contacts
  39. 39. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B Steps to revitalize personas: 1. Got some help 2. Worked with sales to narrow to 5 buyers 3. Qualitative and quantitative surveys (email and phone) 4. Form optimization * 5. Segmented contacts in marketing database
  40. 40. Leads self-identify and segment by persona 4. Form optimization “What’s your biggest business problem?” @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  41. 41. Initial Results @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  42. 42. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  43. 43. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  44. 44. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  45. 45. Blog Subscriptions @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  46. 46. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  47. 47. 3 Takeaways 1.Primary research is powerful. 2.It’s not about us. 3.Make your customer the hero. @KatieMartell #FWDB2B
  48. 48. Questions? Try Cintell, the world’s first persona management platform app.cintell.net/signup

Editor's Notes

  • Being so laser-focused on the B-2-B marketing space across the last few years has given me immense perspective into how quickly it’s changed, especially in the last decade.

    We’ve got more technology than ever (nearly 2000 vendors), more budget (rose 4% in 2015 Forrester) and with it more top-line responsibility. More of the purchase journey is in our hands to manage as buyers do their own research (anywhere from 50-90% depending on who you ask.) more buyers involved in one single purchase (7 average), and to keep up, we are creating and pushing more content across more channels than ever before.

    - Dramatic to say it’s the worst of times but it’s certainly not easy… Buyers more distracted, and all of this technology helps to automate what we do as marketers, but sometimes it automates bad behavior. More content has been created making it harder for us to cut through to our buyers.
  • Along with an increase in responsibility, visibility, and marketing technology, it’s never been more important to remember who it’s all for in the first place.
  • The truth is, most companies are the center of their own universe. Content, websites, sales messaging, is all rotating around product-oriented messaging. We’re brought into a company to push product. It’s what we’re hired for. My goal, not only in the next 30 minutes but in life, with Cintell, is to help companies like yours become more customer-centric.

    Truly effective marketing begins with a deep understanding of our buyers and requires us to learn who they are beyond a job title.
  • 60% of b-to-b organizations admit they do not understand their buyers – SiriusDecisions

    Put into context, that’s like saying half this room is paid to promote products or services to an audience they know nothing about.
  • This strategy is crazy.
  • Content output in the past 5 years has increased by 78%, but content engagement has decreased by 60% (according to TrackMaven)
  • But the state of the matter is quire the opposite for many organizations.

    I love this quote from Adam Richardson of Financial Engines, who says.

    This internal bias is common, but it’s dangerous. Customer-centricity is something that empowers our employees…. We take for granted the fact that many of them don’t have the opportunity to speak to a real customer. Personas, and customer insights can serve as that proxy.

  • The role of marketing is changing. To become the customer advocate within your organizatio. Tha tmeans taking the viewpoint of your customer and using that insight to champion what’s best for them internally. Increasingly marketers are being turned to as the resident EXPERTS on customers in organizations. So you’d better know them inside and out 
  • Marketers worldwide expect that understanding buyers will be their #1 responsibility in two years (85%).

  • I’ll put it simply…..

    In an increasingly competitive market, your advantage may just be how well you understand your buyers.

    The marketer that understands their buyers best, wins.
  • This is not just about marketing knowing our buyers…. We have an opportunity to champion this understanding throughout the business.
  • Alan Cooper

    The Inmates Are Running the Asylum:

  • 4. State of personas
    - SO while the world of marketing tech has evolved at a dizzying pace…
  • . show chart…. the world of bUYER PRSONAS HAS EVOLVED TO…….. a PDF? A Ppt template? REALLY!?
    - That’s what we’re trying to fix at Cintell. We’re here today, building technology, and we think there’s a better way to put persona insights to use than in a static, hard to find, rarely updated PDF. And we work with a lot of companies who WANT to get more from these insights. I want to share some of what we’ve learned today.
  • 1. Our definition of a buyer persona may actually be the root cause for their failure.

    There is a sharp difference between demographic segmentation (“CIOs and companies with over 5,000 employees in the manufacturing industry”) and in-depth buyer personas that represent a comprehensive view of the characteristics, attributes, motivations, and interests of these segments.

    Buyer personas should seek to understand our targets as humans – how they make decisions, what drives their actions, how they behave.

    “Personas fail when they turn out to be a rehash of previously established sales intelligence, and offer little guidance on how to humanize a brand, as well as content.”
  • 2. Kept in the dark: siloed --- B2B firms typically split up customer interactions across the buying process…. Marketing may lead the top of funnel activity like, promoting the brand, attracting the lead, nurturing it to a sales-ready lead….. Then sales takes it and closes the deal….. Handing it right off to customer service or success to see that the buyer is satisfied. The more complex the sales process, the more complex the hand-offs and the issues within. No SINGLE department is responsible for owning customer intelligence and keeping it consistent across the business.

    It’s 10am. Do you know where your personas are?

    At the recent Content2Conversion conference, Erin Provey of SiriusDecisions described the current format of buyer personas, “I’ve literally seen binders on desks with pages of persona insights, qualitative and quantitative insights that cost thousands of dollars to produce.”

    Buyer personas, in theory, are highly useful strategy documents. Why then are they so hard to find, trapped in PDFs and Powerpoints at the bottom of a desk drawer, or at best, maybe on the company intranet?

    Personas should be made available throughout the business, referenced quickly and easily to guide the direction of marketing, sales, and product decisions.
  • The million-dollar question for many marketers is, “when was the last time you updated your buyer personas?”

    Unfortunately the response often comes back in the form of years.

    Personas are often not refreshed until a new regime change comes in. But if this is the case, you may miss the inevitable changes in that occur within fast-moving industries, whether regulatory (new compliance laws) economic (hard times in specific industries), or demographic (new or retiring buyers).

    What’s worse, without refreshing personas on an ongoing basis, you may miss critical new influencers that emerge in the buying process. This information can be found in your CRM, happening in real-time in your marketing automation system, understood anecdotally in your sales pit, or revealed in primary persona interviews.
  • The process of creating strong personas involves three things that may terrify you:

    Interviews with real buyers (gasp!)
    Collaboration with other departments (say it ain’t so!)
    Challenges to your beliefs or deep-rooted assumptions (Nooo!)

    I know. Take a deep breath. It will be okay.

    There is no silver bullet for buyer personas. To get it right involves time-consuming interviews with real people, and an examination of the results with an open mind. This takes up bandwidth, may shift and pivot strategy, and – yes – calls for collaboration with other teams in the company.

    A surefire way to create personas that don’t work is to do so in a conference room, doors shut, without involving other departments or speaking with real buyers.

  • One common challenges faced by many marketers seeking to gain access to customers for the purpose of customer intelligence gathering is that sales doesn’t want to relinquish control. They feel as if they “own” customers and don’t want to allo wmarketers to talk to them.

    I recently read a GREAT piece of advice from the ITSMA- they recommend some strategies for tackling this.

    To win over sales you’ll need to do two things: build their trust that you won’t mess up any of their deals through the conversations you’ll have…. And #2.. Show them the WIIFM – what’s in it for me? Show them that this initiative will directly benefit them, mainly by improving value propositions and making their own conversations with buyers more effective.

    Start with your sales BFF…. The friendlies on your sales team who are open to some new thinking and giving this a try.

    Explain that the objective of your research is to get a better understanding buying process in order to do a better job of identifying good prospects and to make the sales process easier. The goal is to get better at identifying potential buyers and building strong value propositions that will persuade the buyer to choose you—both activities designed to make the sales job easier.

    There’s not really a right or wrong way to do it, as long as you get sales involved in the long-term process.
  • On the flip side, creating personas WITHOUT collaboration from internal stakeholders is a surefire way to get them ignored.

    You each have pieces of the puzzle.
  • On the flip side, creating personas WITHOUT collaboration from internal stakeholders is a surefire way to get them ignored.

    You each have pieces of the puzzle.
  • There are many schools of thoughts on what to include in a buyer persona.
  • There are many schools of thoughts on what to include in a buyer persona.
  • We need to bridge this gap between the perceived value of personas and their application.

  • How?

    The word operationalize literally means changing operational systems and processes.

    To get your organization truly going on a buyer-centric go-to-market strategy, first you’re looking to deploy insights throughout the marketing organization to influence decisions in content marketing, demand generation, and PR. Get your team moving in lock step…. Then… expand
    Sales enablement in some orgs is owned by marketing – if so, this is your route into the sales team. Buyer insights should be available for sales, available contextually in their CRM, or in sales trainings. Ardath Albee is a big proponent of issuing a cheat sheet with every piece of content that gives the salesperson a breakdown of who it’s for, what their pain points are, and other insights that help them know WHEN to use a particular piece of content. I thought that was very smart.
    Are the contacts in your CRM or marketing automation database matched to a persona? This is a great way to not only enable persona-based sales and marketing…. It can help you identify areas where you don’t have enough of a particular persona, or identify potentail NEW personas that have snuck into your funnel or email list.
    This third one may seem a bit self-serving, so for that I apologize, but SiriusDecisions recommends building a centralized repository for buyer insights wher emembers across the organization can access strategic customer insights. Not only should information like buying motivations, preferences, etc be available, but ideally related assets as well – sales playbooks, related content, etc.
    Open the lines of communication… not only with your buyers, but also internally. Gathering feedback from buyers is only part of the story, your customer insights should also allow for feedback from your internal team.

  • And look… I know the hardest part of doing personas right is getting started. So I wanted to bring someone who is in the process of revitalizing their personas RIGHT now. In the midst of it all.

    One of Cintell’s customers Dan Briscoe VP of Marketing from HCSS -
  • And look… I know the hardest part of doing personas right is getting started. So I wanted to bring someone who is in the process of revitalizing their personas RIGHT now. In the midst of it all.

    One of Cintell’s customers Dan Briscoe VP of Marketing from HCSS -

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