Being an expert on your market or being able to identify target companies is great and all, but these things do little to develop your understanding of your B2B customer… And that’s where real success lives.
For a board game like Guess Who, taking a shot in the dark and hoping to arrive at the right answer through the process of elimination is a good strategy. For marketers however, a guessing game might not be the right way to go.
Misunderstanding your buyer can manifest itself in many ways; maybe it’s poor campaign performance, a rise in email unsubscribers due to irrelevant messaging, dwindling conversion rates from mis-targeted website copy, or it could be failing sales numbers due to unqualified leads plus a lack of effective training and sales enablement materials, and more.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t worry! We’re here to help. Here are 5 signs that you might not know your B2B customer as well as you should.
- Make your B2B customers feel like the main character.
- Revisit and make updates to your buyer personas.
- Stop relying on assumptions.
- Put yourself in the shoes of your buyers.
- Focus on the people, not the process.
1. Your product is the protagonist of your story.
First things first – grab the nearest piece of marketing content – your last email campaign sent is a great place to start. Count how many times you see the words “we” or “our.” Next, count how many times the word “you” or “yours” appears. Hopefully, your copy is skewed towards the latter. But let’s take an even closer look.
Is the copy focused on the following?
- Your solution
- The benefits of your solution
- The features of your solution
Who is the real main character in the storyline of this piece of content? If it’s not the intended recipient, here’s a reality check: they don’t care. In the New York Times Customer Insight Study, researchers found that the #1 reason people share content online is to bring valuable content to others.
2. Your buyer personas need some updating.
Alright, let’s be honest: when was the last time you conducted fresh research to understand your buyers? Is your team relying on information about customers that was created before Instagram was (10 years ago)? If the answer is yes, it’s probably time to revisit what’s happening in the worlds of your buyers.
The pressures of business are constantly evolving — and fast. With industry segments (especially technology) moving so quickly, understanding your buyers is never a once-and-done project. Even if you think you know, I can promise you there’s still room for updates.
- Image Source: Google Templates
Building your buyer personas gives your marketing strategy a more personalized feel; making your targeting and ability to generate leads more effective.
3. There’s a donkey in the room.
Ok, so not a donkey – more specifically an ass. Yes, I’m referencing the age-old saying “when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.”
Simply relying on assumptions can often lead to incorrect judgements or dangerous conclusions. So when you’re creating marketing content, product strategy, or sales playbooks (for example) don’t make an ass out of you and me.
Have some humility – admit that it’s possible you may be wrong. It’s a relatively simple concept, but it can go a long way when you’re trying to do some course-correcting on any long-standing assumptions about your buyers.
Figure out where these assumptions came from in the first place. If the assumptions are coming from the very top of an organization, it might seem impossible to change them. Seek to apply as much data as possible to assumptions to help validate, or invalidate, ideas.
4. Your empathy is… nonexistent.
Buyer persona innovator and marketing strategist Tony Zambito strives for a more human centered approach to modern marketing. In a post about empathy in marketing, he writes:
“In the modern marketing world where content has become the dominant way we communicate, empathy serves as a foundation to stand above the overdosing flood of information experienced by customers and buyers. It requires us to understand the context of the goals and challenges of our customers and buyers. Have you taken the time to put yourselves in their shoes? Lived a day in their life, considered the challenges they face and the problems they seek to solve?”
If the answer to these questions is no… chances are you don’t know your buyer very well.
Forming a relationship with the people you’re selling to is essential in B2B marketing. The video below does a great job of mapping out the journey of a buyer, and how your relationships with potential buyers is affected by that journey.
5. You’re focused more on the process than the people you’re selling to.
What’s on your to-do list this week? This month? This quarter? I’m willing to bet as a marketer (and avid to-do lister), there are about a million items on that list.
A big one is probably related to the process by which you launch campaigns, or the process of passing leads to sales, or the process of lead scoring. Improving the relationship between marketing and sales is an enormous challenge and one that sits at the top of many lists!
Switch your focus from your process, to your people. Make your buyer initiatives the drivers for what you do.
Putting effort into this works, too! Recent data from SharpSpring tells us that 71% of companies that exceed in both lead generation and revenue goals have documented buyer personas.
Maybe you need a reality check….
We’re all on the same team here, so consistent storytelling and messaging across all channels should be at the core of every company. Do some self-reflection and take a moment to really understand your B2B customers like the back of your hand. Build upon that and create an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.