There has been a shift from the traditional Outbound Marketing and sales strategy such as advertising and cold calling to Inbound Marketing which Hubspot defines as “...a focus on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be”
Thanks to technology, customers can avoid more and more unwanted, interruptive marketing messages
Inbound marketing leverages that great content on your digital platforms to generate qualified leads for your sales team.
63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. (HubSpot, 2017) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
One of the biggest challenges is attracting the right type of lead so that your sales team can generate more sales.
80% of marketers report their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective. (BrightTALK, 2015).
We have spoken to lots business from SaaS companies to professional services to engineering companies, and they all have the same concern – “We don’t want our sales team following up on those leads that are just not right for our business?”
So how can you avoid attracting unwanted or irrelevant leads?
The starting point for any company when developing their content and lead generation strategy is to identify your buyer persona
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a profile of a fictional buyer, based on real-life data and characteristics that help you to understand who a prospect is but also what keeps them up at night, how do they spend their time and how they like to buy.
The underlying principles of inbound lead generation are to provide value to real people who are, at any given moment in time, busy googling answers to real questions they have about their challenges at work.
A buyer persona should help you identify your ideal customer's pain points, the problems that they are trying to solve and what it means to their company and role within that company to find a solution to that problem.
Creating buyer personas is not easy and does require researching your existing clients, old clients, talking to your sales team and even trying to talk to those clients that have said “no” to your product offering.
This helps build a more accurate buyer persona.
It is your Buyer Persona that determines the content that you provide on your digital platforms.
Your buyer persona ensures that all content you are publishing is addressing their needs, challenges, and objections.
Adele Revella CEO of http://www.buyerpersona.com/recommends focusing on the "The Rings of Insight" to ensure that your personas will positively impact your content creation, lead generation, and sales.
These “Rings of Insight” include:
- Priority Initiatives–What are the challenges or objectives that your buyer persona allocate times, budget and resources? It’s not about you or your product.
- Success Factors– “What operational or personal gains does your buyer persona expect from solving this problem or identifying a solution to their problem?" What does success look like to them?
- Perceived Barriers– This is very important and requires a lot of attention. “What concerns cause your buyer to believe that your solution or company is not their best option?” What could prompt the buyer to question whether your company or solution is capable of achieving his or her Success Factors?
- The Buyer’s Journey– What stage of the Buyers Journey is your buyer persona at? This will determine the content that they will be looking for and the content that your should be providing.
- Decision Criteria– “What is critical to the buyer? What are their decision criteria?
A good buyer persona will help identify the buying decisions that you need to influence and why the buyer will choose you or indeed your competitor.
Knowing your buyer persona makes all the difference when it comes to creating compelling content and offers.
Your checklist for competing your Buyer Persona
- Determine the buyers.
- Determine what you want to learn.
- Interview or survey buyers, prospective buyers and your sales and marketing teams.
- Shift through your findings and find patterns. If you have transactional or other useful data – look at it too.
- Construct 1 to 3 personas for your most valuable prospects/customers. Resist the urge to do more.
- Validate the personas with people who ‘know’ the personas. Make revisions as necessary.
- Use the personas.
- Update them on a regular basis. People change. Your business changes. So should your buyer personas.
The starting point for developing your inbound and lead generation strategy is to identify your Buyers Persona.
Your content should always have your buyers persona in mind and the buyer journey that they are on.