March 31, 2017

Sean Ford: Improving and Using Buyer Personas

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Tags: Podcast

In this week’s episode of B2B Nation, we sat down with Sean Ford, CMO of LogMeIn, to discuss the buyer’s journey and buyer personas. Our conversation covered: 

  • How buyer education shapes the lead generation process
  • How to target buyers earlier in the sales journey
  • How to use personas to build better marketing strategies

Below are a few highlights from the interview:

Different Markets, Different Journeys

“View the buyer’s journey as a continuum, as an ongoing relationship with the buyer or customer to allow the customer to engage with the brand whenever, wherever, and however they want. The company should be looking to have a steady stream of helpful information and not hope they can pull a Hail Mary at the end of the deal.

“Because the buyer’s journey is so fluid and personalized, you have to step back and look at the market and the go to market model. Certain buyer processes are high velocity and others are higher consideration. High velocity is generally lower priced products, while high consideration would be more enterprise-sized deals. These bring about entirely different interactions along the journey.

“There’s also a difference between high and low awareness markets. Online screen sharing and conferencing is a high awareness market because people generally know what that product does, and so you’ll spend your time highlighting the distinguishing features and lifestyle choice that one product represents over another. In a low-awareness market, you’ll spend far more time educating on the imperative of the product and why selecting your product is important. The education of the buyer will vary depending on the type of market and buyer.

“The size of the deal is important. More expensive deals will often involve more people, and that carries a level of services required to get it up and running. It will often involve more impact on the outcome of business objectives for the buyer. The inverse is generally true for lower cost products.”

Plotting Your Touchpoints 

“If you believe the premise that every customer will decide how, where, and when they interact with your brand, you need to map out the possible brand interactions. Work with personas and find the touchpoints they will interact with, and then decide which have the greatest influence on the purchase decision.

“Companies sometimes miss the information they have at hand that would tell them how they are covering and balancing each touchpoint.”

Improving Buyer Personas

“Every marketer knows they need personas, but they define the victory at building the persona, rather than using those personas to help you build a strategy. You have to commit them and embed them in your marketing strategy from start to finish. A lot of people drop the ball on that, myself included.

“When building the persona, we have all the standard stuff, but we lack insight into how the personas are using our product. Use cases are helpful. They bring salespeople into the process to help sell the product, and they provide a level of rigor and credibility to the content that your team builds as well.

“Use your sales teams and your actual customers to help you continue to revise those personas .”

Customer Retention

“Retention starts before the purchase. Retention for an existing customer starts when they’re in the decision-making process, because that’s when they’re introduced to the product, the service, and the people at the company.

“Once they’re a customer, you’re extending that service, so you want a high degree of consistency between the customer journey and then through the experience as a buyer. Use ongoing interactions and messaging and education all through the process so they don’t hit any speed bumps.”

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B2B Nation is a podcast for B2B sales and marketing professionals, featuring expert opinions and advice on the most important topics in the industry. Check out our other episodes on SoundCloud, or follow us on Twitter: @Technology_Adv.