What is persona based selling?

What is persona based selling? Different people buy different things. A fairly obvious statement, but one which many business development and marketing campaigns often to overlook.

Whatever security problem your product is trying to solve, a specific buyer will exist within a target organisation. It is important to be able to clearly describe who that person is – not really what they look like! – more about what drives them. It’s key to be able to answer questions like the following:

  • What is their job title?
  • What does success look like for them?
  • What are their objectives?
  • Can you describe their typical day?
  • Can you describe their job description – are they creative, analytical or operational?
  • Who do they work for?

The more detail your persona profile contains, the better you will be placed at creating powerful and direct communications towards those persona groups and more importantly, be a in a position to add value by solving their real world problems – not just the problems your solution is capable of addressing.

A persona group is essentially a set of profiles that are relatively repeatable across a given industry or sector. For example, in the financial services industry an identity architect could be a well described role that helps to design digital identity and access management services, such as login, registration, federation, permission systems and so on. Success for them could be associated with time of deployment, reduced number of registration failures or faster employee on-boarding for example.

Once you’re in a position to describe the personas in detail, they can be targeted against specific accounts.

What is account based marketing?

ABM is essentially being focused on specific organisations that you want to work with. That sounds obvious, but instead of attempting to provide communications and marketing across an entire sector, you are selective and targeted. Messaging and understanding is more account specific – showing you truly understand not only the industry the organisation works in, but their specific problems and needs. An identity architect within a FTSE100 retail bank will have fundamentally different challenges to one working within a disruptive insurance startup.

By applying account specific messages and engagement methods, you are in a better position to be a trusted supplier – cross selling and upselling different value propositions that provide real benefit to the client – not just “firing and forgetting” generic sales offers.

ABM is typically a more joined up approach – requiring a coordinated team from sales, marketing, sales engineering and product management – to drive an end up set of artefacts that can be used during prospect engagement.

First – understand the problem, second the solution

A combination of ABM and persona based selling, allows you to not only qualify out of engagements that do not fit your specific target audience, but allows you to focus on problem solving. You need to be able to empathise with the problems your potential customer is facing – why do these problems, what is the impact on not solving them, how does this in pact the success of your persona profile? The more you focus on the problem, the more you can focus on creating a product or solution that adds true value.

Many organisations start with describing their solution first – start with describing the problem first – in a language your persona understands.

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