Buyer Persona Qualitative Market Research
Delivering the right information to the right people at the right time in the buying process is critical for persuading buyers to purchase your solution. But what if your marketing and sales strategy is built on false assumptions about what’s important to buyers and how they make their purchasing decision? What if you discovered that 70% of your marketing budget and 40% of your sales efforts were not being spent in places that actually influence the buying decision, as the CMO of one company discovered after interviewing their customers?
As a certified practitioner of 5 Rings of Buying Insight™, a proven methodology used by 3 out of the world’s 5 largest software companies, I can help you to uncover deep insights about how buyers make a purchasing decision around the type of solution that your company markets and sells. I do this by conducting unscripted interviews with buyers who bought from you and your competitors, and capturing details about their buying journey – from the moment they made your type of solution a strategic priority for their organization to how they learned about the different product choices on the market.
More importantly, l uncover why buyers selected the solution provider that they did, any biases or misconceptions that factored into their decision-making process, and what would lead them to disqualify your company or solution. Armed with these insights, you can then make more confident decisions on what you need to do to persuade buyers to purchase your solution rather than your competitor’s.
Turning insights into action
The best thing about interviewing buyers who recently chose you and your competitors’ solutions is that the insights you capture are highly actionable. You’ll know precisely:
- WHO you need to persuade within the buyer’s organization
- WHAT information they need to make their purchasing decision
- WHEN buyers are most likely to be receptive to your message
- WHERE to reach buyers with your marketing content
- HOW to create a persuasive argument for purchasing your solution
- WHY your marketing and sales plan is the best course of action
The insights can then be used to generate a wide range of buyer-optimized content in support of your marketing strategy and sales enablement. This includes thought leadership pieces, content marketing assets, value propositions, sales playbooks, objection handlers, and more.
Why your previous efforts to understand buyers may not be enough
Two comments I frequently hear are “We already know who our buyers are” and “We’ve already created buyer personas”. Here’s why these efforts to understand your buyers may not be generating maximum results.
Your sales team has limited information about buyers who’ve contacted your organization, and no information about buyers who never considered you.
If your understanding of your buyers is based on information gathered from your sales and business development teams, then you only know part of the story. Sixty percent (60%) of the B2B buying decision is made BEFORE consulting with a vendor. This means your sales team only engages with buyers at the later stages in their buying journey and has only captured part of the information you need. Moreover, buyers are usually reluctant to share all the factors that went in into their purchasing decision with your sales team. That’s why you need to interview buyers who bought your solution, buyers who considered your solution but chose your competitor, and buyers who never considered your solution at all. You’ll gain knowledge about how all buyers, both known and unknown to you, move from status quo to making a purchasing decision.
If you built your buyer personas solely on demographic data, you only know WHO your buyers are, not HOW they made a purchasing decision for your product category.
The usefulness of buyer personas depends on the methodology used. If your marketing team or agency only used readily available demographic data about your buyers, such as their age, gender, responsibilities, top priorities and what keeps them up at night, then you only know WHO your buyers are. This information is the same for all purchasing decisions, regardless of the product or service, so it doesn’t give you any new insights on how to influence their purchasing decision. However, when you interview real buyers, you’ll capture insights about HOW they made a purchasing decision for the type of product you market. This will help you to create marketing campaigns and content that speaks directly to buyers’ pain points and needs using language that they understand, instead of marketing jargon or sales-speak. Click here to see an infographic that compares the pros and cons of three popular buyer persona methodologies.
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