Interlocking sales, marketing, and product management

A common pain point for many SMEs is the misalignment between the sales, marketing, and product functions. It usually grows with time and the company's size: product management gets attracted by features and technology, marketing by social engagement, sales by "quick wins". The ones who lose are the customers, with a spiralling effect on the company performance.

Interlocking the three functions and keeping them focussed on what counts, i.e. the customers, is therefore of paramount importance. Achieving all this begins and ends with your company's ability to profile the purchasing decision-makers of a future customer. In turn, it leads to conversions and engagement for your business, strengthens its sales and customer service teams, provides a good user experience and offers innovative products and services ahead of the competition.

Buyer persona plays a decisive role in the marketing strategy of your B2B company. Beyond that, their use can become a unifying force that helps your company's resources work together to achieve optimal results. Buyer personae are not just a marketing concept.

The average number of influencers and decision-makers involved in the B2B solutions purchasing process continues to grow, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get to the buyers.

According to Forrester Research, 63% of B2B purchases involve more than four people, compared to 47% in 2017. These individuals are important decision-makers in the buying process, and many play a crucial and supportive role that cannot be ignored.

Businesses have their unique preferences and procedures for purchasing B2B products and services, and the people involved in buying decisions sit at different stages of the purchasing journey. These decision-makers come from various fields and backgrounds. Some decision-makers are well informed about the product or service their organisation needs and ready to decide, while others are still in the early stages of research.

Furthermore, 68% prefer to research B2B solutions by their colleagues, receive recommendations from digital content, and draw up a shortlist of vendors with whom they can work.

The last piece of the puzzle for them is helpful information via various digital channels, making it easier for buyers to search for themselves. If the interaction with a sales representative occurs early in the buyer's journey, your company has fewer opportunities to influence their purchasing decisions.

If your product or service doesn't align with your customers' priorities, needs, and preferences and meets them where they are, you will perform poorly in your lead generation. You should look at buyers as more than a static, one-dimensional, research-based profile to drive sales. You need to delve deeper into the key battles, hopes, fears, motivations, and challenges guiding purchasing behaviour and decision-making.

Armed with this knowledge and insight, you can leverage your buyer persona to optimise your marketing efforts so that they align with your customer's purchasing process. Find out who each persona is, research where they are looking for information, and develop a list of the qualities they are looking for in a provider. Make it clear how each persona interacts with the other and its role in buying products or services. You can connect with potential buyers in a relevant and valuable way and through the channels they use. You can equip your sales representatives with in-depth purchasing insights to use in their conversations with prospective customers.

And this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Your knowledge and insight into your buyer personae can guide sales, customer service, and product development teams. You can reach the right people, generate feedback, and organise information in an accessible and useable manner that improves business processes and decision-making. And you can provide relevant content through the proper channels to engage and inform your prospects and increase conversion opportunities.

If you address the solutions and features that matter most to your prospects, everyone will know how to best market them. Adding new needs and preferences to your Buyer Personae will help ensure that each department is informed and acts accordingly.

In short, you can harness the depth of buyer persona as a multidimensional tool to create cross-departmental collaboration and unity and put the customer at the centre and front of your business. Imagine if all your employees knew that their role is to solve a specific problem for a particular persona.

Suppose a new product has been designed with the customer in mind and not because of low incremental cost. Think about customer service as conducted thinking about the specific persona and not only efficiency. It is an important quality that gives your company a significant competitive advantage in the market and drives future success. Every employee in your company is empowered to anticipate buyer behaviour and other trends and respond most effectively.