In Content Marketing, Demand Generation, Marketing and Sales Alignment

New year approaching, time to start planning for 2015.

The 4th quarter has started and not only are we working to close out this year strong but we’re also reflecting back on what we want to do better next year. 2015 planning is kicking off and it’s going to be a big year for us!

Because of the exciting transformation we’ve been going though, we’ve neglected our blog a bit so as we plan for the New Year, we’re getting a head start and plan to share with you what we’re doing, thinking about and planning on implementing in the new year, all right here in the coming weeks.  Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be our Sales pitch but instead tips and best practices we’re employing as we continue to refine our offerings to our evolving marketing buyers.

Figured since we’re practically starting over here on the blog, we should start fresh and at the top with Personas.

Personas have been around a long time now but they are still in our opinion the most critical piece of any marketing strategy, messaging framework, campaign and revenue planning.  Most of us can probably call out who our target personas are but do we really know them?  Are we building marketing programs and sales enablement that focus on their wants, needs, values and sought benefits?

Understanding who our buyer is, how they are involved in a purchase decision and what motivates them is key.

For us, we’ve always targeted Marketers with our data solutions but as the roles in marketing become more analytical and marketing ops has a larger role than ever before we have to consider that our decision making unit is also changing.  Not to mention our offerings have changed.

Persona based messaging, marketing and selling includes ensuring the buyer will be at the center of every program we run, all content we create and every piece of sales enablement built.

While marketing has embraced the idea of personas, most Sales teams are still practicing solution selling or focusing on a specific product offering.  These approaches don’t work when you consider the following:

  • Buyers don’t buy products or pre-packaged solutions, they want to solve a problem.
  • Buyers now drive the buying process.  With so much access to information online, there’s really no need in contacting a vendor until they are at the final stages of making a decision.
  • 70% of the Buyer’s Journey is done online before a vendor even knows they are being considered.

So as you are refreshing and revisiting your target personas, pull Sales in.  Ask them to actively participate.  Explain the value of really knowing the WHO they are selling to.

Here’s a few things to think about between now and then.

  • When was the last time you refreshed your target personas?
  • Are you still creating product and solution sales and marketing programs?  If so, when was the last time you pulled search results on your product names?  Anyone looking for the names you created and branded?
  • How many personas are in your decision making unit and do you market to all of them?  If so, with differentiated messaging?
  • How does your Product Org, Sales Org and Support teams participate in Persona definition and refinement?
  • How has your customer changed in the last year?  Have you adjusted your marketing accordingly?

Next we’ll cover Buyer Personas vs Message Personas and include an extensive list of questions to use to really define, understand and market to your target personas.

Like we said at the beginning, this isn’t new but it’s definitely worth revisiting and refreshing for the new year.  How are you leveraging your persona work to drive more from your marketing efforts?

Feeling good about your personas?  Good work, now how are you driving marketing segmentation and marketing optimization tactics to accelerate your sales cycle.  Really knowing and understanding the WHO can make all the difference.  Tell us how you are leveraging your persona work to build targeted programs!

ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems.  We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better.  Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.

To learn more about how ReachForce can help you optimize demand generation and your impact on revenue, check out our real-time web form enrichment demo, or request a free marketing data diagnostic. Get the power to let data drive marketing and higher performance.