Guest post by Katie Martell, Co-Founder, CMO at Cintell

This post is in partnership with Cintell, SiriusDecisions, and Get Lift Agency as part of a live webinar event February 24th, 2016 “B2B Personas: The How, the Why, and the What Next?” Register here.

It’s a brave new world of marketing in 2016, but one constant remains the same – the company who understands their buyers best, wins. When our products, sales process, and marketing strategies are aligned around the priorities and preferences of our buyers, we can achieve that desirable state of “customer-centricity.” For years we’ve known about the impact personas can have in unifying these teams and guiding this strategy.

(PS, personas are in-depth fictional characters representing a segment of your audience, helping you to understand how best to engage with their needs and preferences.)

Unfortunately, the power of personas often fails to come to life in many B2B organizations who don’t build them correctly, can’t justify the investment, or don’t know how to put them to work. It’s easier said than done in many cases, and there’s much confusion about how to get it right.

The Power of Personas

“Buyer personas are a key activity for marketing at the very beginning of the innovation lifecycle,” said Research Director Pat McAnally in a recent forum event. She shared the immediate and tangible impact personas have had on various companies who build and leverage them properly, including:

  • 28% higher campaign response rate
  • 2-3 month shorter sales cycle
  • 25% increase in marketing influenced revenue
  • 20% increase in pipeline value
  • 100% increase in sales qualified leads year over year
  • 50% increase in conversion
  • 5X more contacts mapped to a persona and responding to campaigns
  • 10% increase in email orders
  • 78% decrease in time to market
  • 59% increase in web visitors
  • 53% increase in web revenue

Phew!

To achieve these kinds of metrics and justify the investment in personas, it’s necessary for B2B organizations to liberate personas from their Powerpoint prisons and spring them into action.

Here are 10 ideas for putting personas to work.

  1. Tag contacts to persona and segment your demand generation database to improve targeting and campaign results.
  2. Leverage personas to understand the appropriate buying committee at target accounts for account based marketing.
  3. Guide media buyers and demand generation teams towards only the most preferred channels for each audience segment.
  4. Use words and phrases from persona research to ensure your content marketing echoes the voice of your customer.
  5. Use buying committee insights to craft your content so that it builds consensus among the group by speaking to distinct, various perspectives.
  6. Make personas available within relevant leads/contacts in your CRM to empower sales enablement and give your sales team critical buyer insights for more relevant conversations and cross/up-sell opportunities.
  7. Include personas in your sales training materials to equip the team with what they need from day one to have relevant, empathetic conversations.
  8. Distribute persona insights across the whole organization to increase your visibility as the resident expert on the customer, and enable all functions to work with a unified empathy for your target market
  9. Use behavioral tracking to better refine personas based on visitor behavior and activity
  10. Ensure user personas align with product development and engineering to help them understand what’s needed to achieve greater usage and traction with your products (and to understand who they’re building for in the first place!)

You can read 19 more ideas for putting personas to use here.

Next Steps

Learn more about creating and using personas in a free, live webinar on February 24th at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT. “B2B Personas: The How, the Why, and the What Next?”

Hope to see you there.