In the sales world, it can be tempting to cast a wide net in order to capture as many potential customers as possible. However, despite what many assume, this approach can actually be counterproductive, especially if you don’t have a clear understanding of your ideal customer.
Today's consumers expect helpful and relevant information that is customized to their unique needs and buyer's journey. Technology has made it possible for highly targeted customer engagement, and it's become the new norm. If your salespeople are still cold-calling a database of names without knowing something about their prospects or are unable to offer a valid business reason for their call...they are shooting in the dark.
Chances are, they are frustrated and your closing ratios are dismal. That's why it’s essential that your salespeople hold off on prospecting until you have established a company-wide target persona. It's a simple marketing task that will enable them to more accurately understand and address the right kind of customer for your business.
A target persona is a fictionalized version of your ideal customer created from real data collected from real customers. They are not a real person - but could be. Most companies will name them, give them an income, a career, and likes and dislikes: Business Owner Ben or Homeowner Hannah. These personas tell a story and create a composite sketch of your average customer, helping marketing and sales alike hone their efforts.
For example, if you own a fishing company, your target persona might be a man between the ages of 30 and 50 with the money to spend on fishing gear. They might be boat owners and enjoy going out on the lake on the weekends. Your target persona will tell you the brands they checked out before buying yours (insight into your competitors), why they finally decided on your products (insight into the value you offer from a customer perspective), and more! That is just one quick example, though your target persona will be customized to your business and industry and will be based on actual information from your current clientele.
Now on to the topic at hand, why it’s important to create a target persona, before prospecting. Consider that in business, the adage 'time is money' is very true. This means that wasting time is in essence the same thing as throwing away your hard-earned money. In fact, if your sales team is approaching the act of chasing leads when these people are in fact not a good fit for your product or service, your team is wasting valuable time and resources.
Another reason why creating a target persona is so important for your sales team is that it improves the quality of your leads. When you and your team have a clear understanding of who your target persona is, you can then tailor marketing and sales efforts to attract leads that best fit into that persona. By focusing on these leads, your salespeople can improve their chances of closing deals and subsequently generating revenue. In fact, findings from Cintell found that 71% of companies that exceeded revenue and lead goals have well-constructed target personas. For comparison, 37% of companies without this only met their goals and another 26% fell short of their sales or leads goals.
When you know your target persona and what makes them tick, you can tailor your marketing and sales efforts to attract leads that fit that persona. By focusing on these leads, your salespeople will improve their chances of closing deals and generating new or increased revenue. The better that your marketing efforts become more "intelligent" and understand the consumer, the better quality your inbound leads will become. In other words, you can ensure that your efforts are aimed in the right direction and that you aren’t shooting in the dark hoping something will land on the intended target.
When you understand your target persona or ideal customer, you can then craft sales messaging that will resonate with them. This also allows your salespeople to improve their chances of closing deals while capturing the attention of the intended audience. Everyone likes to feel known and understood. Creating a target persona allows you to “get to know” your customer even if you don’t know them personally. You can offer marketing messages that appeal to your target consumer at all phases of the buyer's journey.
Defining a target persona is not just important for your salespeople, it is also key for marketers. When you align your sales and marketing efforts together around a target persona that is a good representation of your ideal customer, you can create a cohesive brand message that resonates with your prospects throughout the entire customer journey. This brings the process full circle, meaning you are attempting to interest and sell to the right people who are most likely to buy and then encourage brand loyalty and repeat sales through personalized marketing. According to Marketing Insider Group, 36% of companies successfully used target personas to shorten their sales cycle or customer journey.
In conclusion, it’s clear that your salespeople shouldn’t prospect without a target persona in mind - unless they just LOVE making cold calls. By defining a target persona, your salespeople can save time and resources, improve the quality of leads, personalize the sales process, enable better sales messaging, and align sales and marketing efforts. So, take the time necessary to properly define your target persona, and watch your sales soar! Contact us at Zimmer Communications to learn more about how to create a target persona and then how to utilize this information to increase your leads and sales.