Across B2B, the need to better define the audience is apparent. Programmatic advertising is booming – and marketing approaches such as inbound marketing and account-based marketing (ABM) all benefit from precision-based targeting. To build your perfect target account list (TAL), here are the questions you need to be asking:
Q1. Who are your most attractive customer segments?
When considering the most attractive segments, businesses should cross-examine their existing CRM to understand which accounts are most successful, which ones show the most promise, and which aren’t worth exploring further.
By looking at successes, you have the opportunity to scale up your reach and identify lookalikes. 83% of marketers use lookalike strategies to expand their target account list, making this first party data so valuable. More often than not, the information is there but companies simply don’t have the right tools or systems in place for effective data consolidation. After optimizing data and looking at your CRM, you can use third party data to expand your list of TALs.
Q2. What makes them a good fit for your products/services?
Buyer personas are a vital part of building your dream TAL, and there are many questions you should be asking early on in the process. By creating fictional personas, you can define characteristics, preferences and pain points – all of the things that real customers can relate to.
The process of building personas is there to help you understand which accounts are the best fit for your different products and services.
Q3. What is their job role?
Delving into the content of creating a persona, it’s important to look at the different job roles of your contacts. How senior their job is, who they report to and how much authority they have in their company are all things that can affect the funnel.
It’s all about understanding how their role influences the purchasing decision, as this will shape the type of content that you send out to them or the platforms you contact them on.
Q4. What are their goals?
When it comes to understanding the wants, needs and desires of leads and customers, you have to think beyond the company they work for. While the company’s overall goals must be considered at all times, there also needs to be empathy for the individual and their job role.
This is where buyer personas can really help sales and marketing with their approach, timing and content development. Ask yourselves what this person is trying to achieve. Are they tasked with cutting costs? Do they need to meet sales targets? Are they trying to improve efficiencies in their team? Consider questions that are more personal to them too. Are they trying to do a good job to impress the board? Are they driven by bonuses or incentive programs? Use their motives to steer your messaging and approach.
Q5. How do your current customers behave?
In order to create campaigns for lookalikes, it’s essential to analyze what your current customers are doing. What content do they respond to? When and how do they convert? What are the platforms they prefer to use? How often are they online? What technology do they use? Even better, what feedback have they left for your company in the past?
If there have been past failures, issues or complaints, these need to be scrutinized to avoid making the same mistakes again. Similarly, good feedback should act as a benchmark for what works.
Q6. Where do they go for information?
One of the most vital aspects of behavior to look at is how they access information online. There’s a growing trend of mobile and tablet users in businesses and this can influence the sites, apps and platforms being used.
Some business personas will be more web-savvy than others – and while some want their information to be short nuggets of insight, others prefer a good old fashioned whitepaper sent via email. Not only is it important to create the type of content customers desire, but it’s vital to meet leads and customers on the platforms they prefer. Meeting them in their most comfortable and frequented space is the way to delight them and build a rapport.
Q7. What are their pain points?
It’s no good knowing who your audience is without identifying their problem areas. Your product or service has to be the thing that solves their most burning issues, answer their urgent questions, and bring them added value in some way.
Understanding their pain points is key to this whole process. Consider whether they lack resources to complete certain tasks, or whether they as an individual are extremely time-poor. Does their position at work put them under pressure to perform in certain areas? Are they struggling to find a supplier they can trust? Perhaps you can make their life easier by offering quick solutions.
Q8. How do they prefer to interact with suppliers?
Demand generation is a lot more than just a branding concept or early buyer journey enticement. It’s a way of creating touchpoints throughout the conversion optimization and sales cycle. However, these touchpoints need to be carefully selected.
This ties in with knowing where customers go to consume information. It’s about tapping into the platforms they use, but there’s also an element of balance here. Just because a lead uses LinkedIn or Facebook regularly doesn’t mean they want to interact with their suppliers on there. Businesses have to know their boundaries in this respect.
Q9. What does the buying process look like from their perspective?
A great way of getting to know your target audience better is to put yourself in their shoes. Building buying personas can help you do this. The more you learn about their buying process and their internal processes or hierarchies, the more pain paints you can identify.
If you can align your sales and marketing with their buying journey, you can really help to streamline the process for them, giving them an enhanced customer experience (CX). And as CX stands out to be a fundamental part of the B2B buying decision, it’s something that every business needs to focus on.