Eight Things to Know About Your Prospects

Eight Things to Know About Your Prospects by Peter Baron was originally published on Venture Atlanta’s blog. The article is reprinted on The Connector with permission.

Film countdown 8After all your research, industry discussions and marketing analysis have been completed, you will have successfully identified prospective buyers for your product or service. You know your target industries and the titles of those responsible for evaluating solutions and signing on the dotted line.

Perhaps you’ve even established a product/market fit, but when scaling to sell more products, you’re also hiring people to connect with your targets. That’s when you’ll want to know more about your buyers.

Today, marketers are digging deeper into understanding their buyers by learning more than what’s on the surface. Identifying characteristics beyond a simple profile can give you insights that can ultimately sharpen your marketing message, streamline your selling process, and optimize your marketing dollars so efforts aren’t wasted.

To help you better understand your buyers, consider the following buyer persona analysis questions as you build out your messaging and sales strategies:

  • How are they evaluated?

Your strategy should factor in how a buyer gets a gold star on a performance review. Is it reduction in expenses? New customer acquisition? Better visibility into a process? Higher customer satisfaction or increased safety? Knowing how a buyer is evaluated in his or her job will help your message resonate with what’s important to their career.

  • What are the information resources they trust?

Consider all of the ways your prospective buyers consume information to help them perform their job. Typically, it is a mix of industry journals, market analyst reports, social media and peers. Each buyer has a different mix, so you’ll want to create marketing programs that match up to the mix they follow. Also, you’ll need to serve content the way they like to have it served up, whether in the form of a case study, white paper or industry articles. And don’t forget about optimizing for mobile. There are certain people who embrace mobile more than others.

  • What business conditions trigger their buying decisions?

For each industry you are selling to, make sure you know its unique challenges and conditions so you can address them in your messages. What’s changing in their business? Are there technological changes that may dictate the need for your solution? Are regulations pushing an industry to adopt a new way of doing business? Knowing these things can help you understand the buyer’s risks, pain points and urgencies, so that you can map your communications and sales to that business condition or trigger.

  • What results do they expect from purchasing new solutions?

This maps back to the previous question. How will your solution solve the business condition? Perhaps your prospects are in the banking or retail industry, and new regulations are forcing them to adopt new technologies to prevent cyber attacks. This isn’t rocket science, but it’s part of the overall buyer persona your company will need to understand.

  • What prevents them from investing in your solutions?

Maybe there’s a competitive threat, another vendor to displace, or inertia. Anticipating objections helps your marketing and sales teams make a more frictionless sale. Perhaps other priorities have risen above your solution. It’s your job to raise the visibility and urgency around your solution.

  • What features do they evaluate?

You may assume all prospects are evaluating the same set of features, but that could be a costly mistake. Understand what those differences are among your target industries and you’ll be on stronger footing to sell. Make sure that, as a vendor, you understand the features that are most important to them to get the deal done.

  • What is their role in the decision process?

Understand if your prospect has to get sign-off from a higher-level person in the organization, and who that person is so you can develop a messaging strategy to address his or her concerns, as well. Will you need to have champions within the organization, and if so, who are they? Find out if the users of your solution are involved in the decision. You need different communications to all of these groups.

  • How does a deal get done?

Finally, understand the buying process within the markets you are targeting. Is there a factor on the calendar such as seasonality that will impact the selling process? What is their fiscal year? When do they need to spend their budget?

Having these insights will bring structure and clarity to your marketing processes. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to focus on the right message at the right time, while attracting qualified leads with content that speaks to their concerns.

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