A Step-by-Step Guide to Leveraging Personas to Drive Predictive Account Selection

May 23, 2016

50% of B2B brands admit that they don’t have buyer personas in place, according to a survey conducted by B2BMarketing at the end of last year. Considering the success we’ve seen researching and creating buyer personas in order to improve our predictive model, we thought this would be a great topic to delve into.

Let’s start with understanding what the “persona” actually is when it comes to B2B marketing. Personas are, essentially, archetypes that you create based on behavioral trends that you notice in collected data and common goals that might define the behaviors of these archetypes. When you have buyer personas, you can categorize your leads to understand which types to prioritize and how to craft the right user experience for a certain account. The end goal is to make your marketing more effective.

After creating personas, it’s important to leverage them in order to optimize your predictive account selection. Personas tell you how to use predictive sales analytics to determine what personas have proven to be highly likely to buy, you can select your target accounts more wisely to improve conversion rate. All types of data, from organization size to web search behaviors, can be aggregated to help you prioritize your accounts  and assist with creating the right content map for each persona.

Understanding the benefits of leveraging personas is the easy part, though. The real challenge is in getting started. Here are some of the steps we take at MRP for maximum success.

  • Gain deep insights about buyers.

As always, data is king. It takes in-depth research to understand your buyer – their goals, their key decision makers (or decision-making teams), their search behaviors, their position in the buyer journey – so that you can figure out what kind of persona they are. Analytic technologies such as predictive analytics are crucial to this endeavor.

Helps to develop your strategy

  • Goals, not roles.

One big mistake people make when they’re creating personas is lumping people together based on their roles at their respective organizations. Each role is not created equally, and you can tell a lot more about a buyer’s behavior if you focus on their goals, not their roles.

  • Make sure personas are consistently recognized across departments.

As with any account-based marketing effort, you want to make sure that sales and marketing (as well as operations, data analytics, et cetera) are on the same page. Ensuring that all departments have the same definition of each persona means that messaging, communications, and tactics will be consistent.

  • Create content around those goals

The big reason for understanding your persona goals rather than roles is so that you can create a content strategy that lets them know that you can help them to achieve those goals. This ties into the aforementioned tactic of knowing what messaging works for which personas – you want your content to be aligned with their stage in the buying journey, but you also want it to hit their pain points and provide definitive value.

  • Implement what you’ve learned into your support systems.

Whatever you use to carry out your marketing strategies should be updated to reflect your new segmented personas. Again, this can reinforce the consistency – and therefore, the efficiency – of your campaign, but it also helps to streamline your efforts, save time, and make your marketing campaigns run like a well-oiled machine.

When you understand buyer personas, you can use predictive targeting to better choose which accounts to prioritize. When you prioritize wisely, you make more conversions. Taking the steps to setting up and integrating your personas – which is, by no means, a quick and simple process – will pay off by helping you to figure out your key targets, make better use of your predictive data, and close more deals.

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