Identifying your best-fit target buyer, is a crucial part of Inbound marketing campaign development. Without persona development, campaigns will be poorly targeted and struggle to generate quality leads. But with a strong data-informed profile of buyers and their key challenges, marketing activity can become more focused and relevant.
Relevance is key. If marketing activity resonates with key buyers (from site design, through content, to communications etc), it will be more effective in attracting and nurturing quality leads through the conversion funnel, and will shorten the sales cycle.
3 Ways Buyer Personas Reduce the Sales Cycle
So how do data-based buyer personas shorten the sales cycle?
For buyer persona development to be effective, it must be based on actual client and industry data. This ensures campaigns are correctly targeted to yield results. With the correct data and targeting in place, buyer personas help to reduce the sales cycle by:
Attracting Higher Quality Leads
Lead quality directly impacts the success and length of your sales cycle. Poor quality leads will only have a negative impact , and be a waste of the sales team’s time and resources.
However, Inbound campaigns work to improve lead quality by ensuring all marketing activity and content resonates with buyer personas. This helps to increase the relevancy of traffic and lead quality, and provides sales with opportunities who are more likely to understand the value of the solution, and close faster.
Typical target personas will be those who are able to make a purchasing decision or influencers to the decision maker. Think about which leads and customers generate best success for you - and use them to define your personas.
2. Increasing Content Effectiveness
What challenges do your personas have that you can address? Where do your personas go to find content that solves their problems?
With the correct data backing your persona development, you need to personalize your content in such a way that it addresses buyer needs, and so attract more relevant leads.
To be effective, content should be mapped to address specific buyer challenges at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey, from Awareness, to Consideration, to Decision. By creating content assets that can resolve buyer pain at each purchasing stage, you can then nurture leads more effectively through the sales cycle.
3. Aligning Marketing and Sales for Effective Lead Nurture
To really reduce the sales cycle, effective lead nurture is key. As HubSpot have noted in their list of marketing statistics, 61% of B2B organisations send all leads to the sales team without first qualifying them. Typically, only 27% of those leads will match up to the business definition of a qualified lead. That creates a substantial drain on sales time and resource, stretching the sales cycle. As we mentioned in point 1, quality leads are key to effective sales.
Both marketing and sales should be aligned on what constitutes a quality, persona-focussed lead from the outset of a campaign. This will result in more effective lead scoring, saved time and higher quality sales conversations.
Sales and marketing teams are always aligned in Inbound campaigns for this reason. With a closed-loop approach, sales teams immediately gain a clear idea of a lead’s historical marketing data, allowing them the best possible chance to hold effective conversations, nurture, and close efficiently.
Ensure Buyer Personas Are Data-Backed For Best Results
To keep campaigns on track, and to have the best possible impact on reducing the sales cycle, buyer personas must be correctly informed by relevant data, be regularly reviewed, and always stay front-of-mind.
By creating defined, data-backed buyer personas and using them to inform all campaign action, marketing and sales teams are able to create more relevant strategies, attract higher quality leads and close leads faster.
Author Bio: Alex Embling is Director of Strategic Internet Consulting, a London-based Inbound marketing agency with a raft of major public and private sector clients. Alex helps businesses large and small generate qualified leads via Inbound marketing and sales, social media and open source web development. He tweets at @StrategicIntC.