Part 1 of 2: The Confluence of Buyer Personas and Company Personas (look for part 2 coming soon with our partners at HG Data)
The idea of creating buyer personas has long been used by marketers to create a human profile of our buyers. We’ve grown to understand the buyer beyond their job title which allows us to focus instead on the personality, motivations, authority, responsibilities, priorities and other attributes that comprise buyer personas. In fact, in a recent benchmark study, an overwhelming 93% of respondents confidently understood the drivers and responsibilities of their buyers.
A wide variety of data types and insight are now being used to develop buyer personas that give us an understanding of the people within the companies we are targeting. However, the company persona is a similarly powerful tool to tailor our messaging, and in order to develop it, we need more powerful data – detailed firmographic data. Developing company personas means understanding companies in our target market beyond superficial attributes like headcount, revenue size, or location. Instead, it means including information such as technologies in use, executive staffing changes and current projects underway. This enables us to understand, segment and target the marketing and sales process far more precisely to the organizations’ needs. The end result is a new layer of intelligence that can be combined with buyer personas that can help marketers target and segment an audience contextually, and at scale.
As consumers, we know credit card companies track our purchases and use this information to segment us towards future promotions. Our buying patterns tell so much about us that these companies can extrapolate our future with cohort groups, analytics, and analysis. The same type of information is available in the B2B world about the companies we engage with. The buying patterns of a company are analogous to what each of us do with our credit cards, both online and offline. The personality of an organization is exhibited by its choices, its actions, and its behaviors. If a company had a soul, the purchasing history is a window into it.
It’s time to consider the role that company personas can have in improving our understanding of target accounts, and what that means for the marketing and sales activity designed around them.
What are the benefits of company personas?
The sales process has evolved into a truly collaborative interaction where both seller and buyer come to the table equipped with information. For sales, detailed firmographic company personas can elevate conversations with tight targeting and strategic information before every call.
Well-honed company personas will change the dynamic from that of vendor-customer to one where colleagues are collaborating to achieve an ideal solution.
Some tangible ideas for using company personas:
- Use as a foundation to guide an account based marketing (ABM) strategy
- Combine company personas in tandem with buyer personas and buying committees to enable granular targeting at scale
- Help sales understand where to penetrate organizations based on the buyer persona combined with the right company persona
- Further segment a contact database by company persona to fine-tune targeting efforts
- Develop specific messaging for inside sales professionals based on the company of the individual they are calling
- Create specific nurture-tracks in marketing automation or email marketing based on the company persona, with relevant offers and content
Don’t take for granted your personal knowledge of the organizations into which you are selling. Each company exhibits specific behavior and attributes that can serve as your guide for how to best engage across both marketing and sales teams. These data-fueled insights help to paint a more complete portrait of our target accounts beyond the superficial details we’ve relied on for years such as size and location.
So, are you ready to start getting to know your target accounts like you would your next-door neighbors?
Find out more in Part II with our partners at HG Data, coming soon.