Do you truly understand your buyers?

Developing thorough buyer personas for your products and services is a critical early step in any business’s go-to-market plan.

If you’re like many B2B product marketing teams, your buyer personas ultimately get distilled down into a single slide buried in a sales training presentation and then goes where all the other sales training decks go to die somewhere in the cloud. End of story (guilty as charged!).

While a lot of work can go into creating these personas, including extensive quantitative and qualitative research, those buyer insights are not getting into the right hands of your marketing function, missing key opportunities to reach prospects with the right message at the most impactful stage of their journey. Building and activating buyer personas across your organization is much more than simply knowing the title of the role you are trying to reach.

Do you know what kind of interactions are most impactful for your buyers? Human or digital? How does it differ throughout their journey? Do you have a good understanding of your buyer’s journey? Since the buying journey is no longer linear as it was in the pre-digital days, what are the episodes…or Micro-Moments…that matter most?

Think about how useful that information would be to demand creation teams who are making budget decisions about which events and conferences to host or sponsor. Or what paid channels will deliver the biggest ROI.

And does your own website address the needs of your buyers first before taking them to product messaging? SiriusDecisions’ Buyer Insight study last year found that one of B2B marketers’ biggest barriers to creating website content that actually gets used is understanding their buyers’ needs.

Another often-overlooked team for buyer persona training are those that manage reputation programs, such as PR, industry analyst relations, social media and other industry influencer relations. In fact, that same SiriusDecisions study found that industry analyst reports are THE most impactful sales enablement asset for B2B technology buyers.

Armed with a tops-down profile of the buyer, these teams can create a bottoms-up audience comprised of living, breathing humans with names to engage through various channels. People who have direct relationships and/or influence with your buyers that you can reach with valuable content beyond a well-targeted ad. Have you shared your prospect list with your reputation teams?

Creating these audiences manually with your in-house team is certainly possible with a narrow scope and a lot of elbow grease. Your best bet is to work with digital agencies like W20 Group and People Pattern to help build out highly sophisticated audiences using their secret sauce.

This is such a rich topic that I’ll blog more about in the coming weeks. In the meantime, however:

Every single sales rep, marketer, communicator and agency team should be asking product marketing more questions about what makes their buyers tick.