Sometimes, a sales transaction just doesn’t work out. Being in sales is tough enough, but when you feel as if you have done everything possible to make the sale work -- adjusted services, changed prices, jumped through hoops, etc. -- accepting the failure can be incredibly difficult. Why didn’t it work? They couldn’t meet your product price. They wanted a service that isn’t in your capabilities. They wanted your company to operate in a way that met their needs at the expense of your other customers.
Quite often the underlying reason a sale does not work out is that the wrong type of prospect was engaged in your selling process. That is why it is critical to maintain a clear understanding of what you offer for a product or what you do as a service. It is also why buyer personas are needed to help marketing (aka communicating about) to the right audience. (A “buyer persona” is fancy marketing talk for a deep understanding of who are your ideal clients, which is used as to guide what the brand says and where it is said.) And, it is why random acts of marketing aren’t the same as an integrated marketing strategy when reaching those identified ideal customers.
What is a random act of marketing? It’s the occasional social media post. It’s the press release to your website which doesn’t answer the customers’ question: “What’s in it for me?” It’s a new brochure with shiny pictures that don’t align with what you do/are. It’s putting a sign out front without considering how the signage would appeal (or not) to potential customers. Basically, random acts of marketing build your brand generically without the guideposts of knowing your ideal customers. Potentially, these efforts attract the wrong prospects to your sales offering.
Marketers do not do random acts of marketing because marketers have a brand strategy for the company that is anything but generic. Marketers take the time to know their target audience; that is, who is most likely to buy what the company produces or sells. Marketers discover and cultivate the right audience, as well as have qualifying criteria for prospects, to ensure your ideal customers are who the marketing message reaches.
But even if your company does not have a dedicated marketer on staff, marketing and communication plans can be made to support your sales efforts. You can still focus your communications to target prospects using buyer personas.
How do you create buyer personas? A marketing agency is a helpful support with this type of activity and they often have detailed processes for creating robust profiles of potential prospects (i.e., buyer personals). If that is outside your budget, you can start off more simply.
Knowing your buyer personas begins as easily as knowing who you serve. What do you know about them? Do you serve a specific industry? Within the industry, who buys your product or service? Purchasing buyers and CEOs hang out in different parts of the internet and require different information for decision making. Do they tend to fall in a certain age range? This could influence the formality of the language you use. Do they tend to be technical specialists within the industry or laypeople? Again, this would influence the technicality of the language used as well as where you might place ads.
What is the target buyer’s motivation to buy? This would influence the emotional content of your communications. What kind of questions would they have during the buying process? This would impact the materials you prepare to educate them on your offering. While this approach is not as nuanced as a marketing agency might provide, applying even a simple persona can improve the communications coming from your marketing efforts and the way the sales team approaches prospects.
The B2B sales process can be complex. Committing random acts of marketing doesn’t support an integrated sales communication campaign and makes finding your ideal customers more difficult. Make sales easier by knowing your ideal customers.
Alexandria Trusov is the Global Marketing Manager at Alpha Resources and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.truinsightsconsulting.com.