Traditional buyer Personas for B2B customers often include things like basic demographics, the pains/gains your solution solves/provides, as well as understanding the buying decision behaviour of the customer.
One other thing to add into this picture of your ideal customer is to understand how their individual job performance is measured.
At first glance, you might consider this is a pain or gain – but not always. If you’re lucky you are providing your B2B customers with something that directly contributes to their performance measurement. But you might not be. It might be solving a great problem for the company, but not directly contribute to how the decision maker is rated. Or your first inclination is not to view the problem solved in this manner.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Consider your B2B customer decision maker is a small-to-medium business owner. Their performance measurements are bottom line financials such as market share and profitability. Let’s say that you are providing them a cloud based ordering system that helps them stream line the customer invoicing process from any mobile device. Your messaging might hit home more directly if you are focusing on how this process would cut down their overhead accounting costs (helping profitability) and help them retain ongoing customers (improving market share). Rather than focusing on the anytime anywhere features of a mobile SaaS solution.
Now let’s consider instead that your B2B customer decision maker is an area Sales Manager. This Sales Manager measured on Market Share and Revenue as well, but they may be more directly measured on the length of the sales cycle and their team’s lead to conversion rate. For this customer, your messaging could focus more on the impact of closing deals anytime anywhere; enabling their mobile sales teams to close deals faster, as well as cutting down on the number of buyers who change their mind in the previous extended time before the invoice was sent.
The same solution really and the same overall business problem of streamlining invoicing solved. Dfferent messaging.
It’s basically viewing the pain or gain through the lens of the Customer Persona. Giving you some insight into what motivates them, and what they are trying to achieve in their jobs.
It’s also how you build champions inside of organizations. If your product or solution helps your champion look good inside their own company, then they are more likely to promote you and your product. It’s why traditional marketing of IT solutions often included ways to help build business cases for the product or offered help on determining ROI timescales, so that the IT managers who were putting these solutions forward could use this information in promoting the product to their organizations.
I’d like to suggest that you take it further than this. Rather than just build it into your marketing messages or marketing collateral, also have your cross-functional teams also considerer this aspect of the Customer Persona. Tie the value that your product contributes to the customer’s KPIs across the board.
Is there something that you can build into the product that helps support the business case for the customer? Is there a reporting or analytics function that can produce the information that the customer can use in their own internal reports. Are the cost savings measurable? Is the lead-to-conversion time reduction measurable? In the ROI example, does the product able to actually measure return on investment, or do you have to track it externally in financial reports.
Do your sales teams fully understand what motivates and drives the customer?
Do your service teams know that it’s important to your customer to enable their mobile team? Can that mobile customer team member get an answer to a problem anywhere anytime? Or instead, does your anywhere anytime capabilities apply only when the product is working fully or fully understood by the customer in a 9-5 timeframe.
Of course this 360 view of the Customer Persona outside of the marketing department extends beyond this one KPI attribute of the Persona. It’s important for everyone who interacts with the customer or builds for the customer to understand the Persona. And the richer that this Persona can be, than the easier it is to create this company wide shared vision of the ideal customer.