How to create a sales funnel using b2b buyer persona?
30 Mar 2019
Meet Mike. Mike is an insurance agent and has decided to increase his income. He wants to create an insurance comparison website to collect more queries online. Or is it too simple - B2C and little competition on the comparison engine market.
So he decides to think bigger, more challenging. Mike also has a law diploma, he can even remember the tears of joy on his parents' face after completing the application. And also the hard days during his internship in the prosecutor's office and the expensive cars parked under beautiful tenements.
So he decided to go the harder way, opening a law firm. B2B and huge competition in the market, but in return - widespread recognition with peers, parents, and respect from high school friends.
Once work from friends and family has started to dry up, Mike decides to launch a website to generate new B2B enquiries.
The internet was supposed to allow Mike to scale his service, but there are several favorable conditions he'd like to create. Repeatability and standardization of the legal service process and a working sales funnel that collects and converts B2B customer enquiries. This will make up the bulk of Mike's initial marketing strategy.
How can a client's buying persona help Mike collect questions (sales leads) and design a sales funnel that will be effective for his target B2B buyer persona?
Persona and sales funnel - definitions
Persona: A comprehensive method of customer segmentation. In addition to demographic and mental similarities, it connects customers in terms of how they see and use the product. In the case of Mike, his legal services. The buyer persona could look very different depending on whether you're operating B2C or B2B.
Sales funnel: (aka Rooms funnel) This is a predefined path that directs the customer from the moment of initial contact to the moment they purchase.
The most wonderful thing about the funnel is that the internet and numerous emerging tools allow you to automate some processes. Particularly during the first two stages - building product awareness and arousing interest. In Mike's case, he'd be targeting B2B buying personas.
Specialization in a service or product
Step 1: If the competition is high, choose a specialization
Mike decided to specialize in law relating to mergers and acquisitions, i.e. the purchase and sale of companies, shares, and company law.
Market size? Maybe not as big as divorces, but at least he knows his clients will still have money left to pay for his legal services.
Sales funnel from the customer's point of view
Step 2: Select a customer group with limited resources
To make a sales funnel, Mike needs to know where to place it so he's chosen buyers personas will see it. How to make customers discover him? How to make them interested in his service?
First, however, Mike wants to choose which group of clients he should focus on. This could be individual business owners or decision-makers within a department or team.
Why is this important?
Mike hasn't got the funds to run a big-budget marketing campaign promoting his services. He doesn't have a sales team, the people, or sufficient resources and he really doesn't like a waste. Mike needs to make sure he maximizes his marketing by targeting the decision-maker.
So he has several options to choose from, but he can't afford to build his reputation and brand among everyone, so it's time to target his reach at businesses and people that match his selected persona, his ideal customer:
- starting their adventure with business;
- running companies and looking for an investor;
- wanting to sell their company or shares in it;
- planning to invest: business angels, accelerators, funds;
- wanting to buy a company, e.g. competition.
Each of these groups is different, different in terms of needs, possibilities and interests. What's more, each has a different value to Mike and every one of them has its own entry threshold and access restrictions.
For example, working with funds can bring greater benefits than with people who are just starting their business. However, the funds have higher expectations and stricter requirements for a lawyer who wants to work for them. Although both would require a B2B approach. Mike realises that creating a sales funnel requires two things.
Deeper recognition from your clients. Their world, needs, motivations, interests, location, places where they can be found. The "Persona tool" can be used for this purpose.
Choosing one group or buyer persona to focus on. For Mike, it's easier to get a more modest lead online to build his reputation, than concentrate on a huge market and have smaller results. As the saying goes: "Better a sparrow in your hand than a pigeon on the roof." To this end, Mike used a tool straight from strategic analysis.
Personas in legal services
Step 3: Create your clients' persona
Step 4: Choose one or more, depending on your options. I purposely specify that it's about legal services
Creating a buyer persona depends on the industry and the product or service that will be bought. The decision-maker is different in each case.
It requires a tailored approach to make sure you create the best buyer personas.
The same person buys a Kinder Bueno and legal services, but the reason for choosing these products is guided by completely different motivations and uses different selection criteria. The main difference lies in the motivations - while Kinder Bueno is to please, the legal service is bought for fear of something.
Services and products bought for fear of something are a separate topic about which our company, The Story, has been collecting data for two years.
I will not describe in this post how to create a buyer persona, but as promised, I will focus on translating the result of work on a buyer persona into a sales funnel.
The first thing is to get to know the B2B buyer persona that Mike chose to focus on. All the features and information contained in this buyer persona should be factual market research and must come from trusted sources and research - many resources already exist, whether it’s someone else's already conducted buyer research, or your own resources you can take advantage of (analytical tools, sales results, conducted interviews with people who match the B2B buyer's persona profile).
Sales funnel design
Step 5: Choose from the buyer persona profile elements that tell you how to reach the persona (touchpoints) and how you can convince them your product or service is for them (benefits for buyer persona)
Step 6: Use touchpoint matching tools and design messages to highlight the benefits for the buyer Persona
Mike noticed how much more value there was when a potential client is actively looking for information on the creation of company contracts, making them ideal customers. This differs from investment funds or medium and large companies that have their own legal departments or are served by a law office.
The longer way is to do it using Google and spending time on social media, such as Facebook and also browsing Instagram.
Mike decides to create a landing page that will collect the information on both types of clients and add it to a list of people potentially interested in his services - sales and marketing leads.
Sales leads are customers aware of the service and ready to buy, who turn up with a specific query in anticipation of a relevant offer.
Marketing leads are customers who are aware of the service but are still considering purchasing and still need to be persuaded to address a specific question.
Mike addressed marketing leads from professionals that were written in plain language and talked about his specialization - creating company contracts, selling shares, attracting investors, and developing a new company.
During preparation, Mike chose topics and language in a way that addressed the problems and needs of his potential clients. However, Mike addressed a contact form to sales leads.
To make it easier for his clients to reach his website, Mike decided to display ads on Google, Facebook and Instagram - according to his client's Persona profile. When asked what advertising slogans and ad content to use, Mike answered using text from interviews with his clients. He knew exactly what problems they were facing and what was important to them. Both types of leads are collected by a landing page and hit the list of potential customers.
This all took place under the regulation of GDPR, Mike has integrated the tool with MailChimp. This tool for managing the list of recipients and sending mailings, allows you to automate the responses to incoming queries and be able to conduct further communication.
In addition, the same queries go to Hubspot. This is a CRM that allows you to conduct ongoing sales of services to customers and analyze the results.
Both tools have free versions and completely meet Mike’s expectations.
In this way, he automated the part of his sales activities that take place online. Mike himself can focus on handling incoming queries or on acquiring leads offline - visit the same events his target Persona also attends.
Conclusions: While creating the sales funnel, Mike worked on the personal profile of his clients.
Thanks to this approach he solved several additional problems:
- made a choice which B2B client group is the most attractive to him;
- learned what and through which channels he should communicate to his clients;
- prepared the content of advertisements and mailings appropriate for his Persona;
- designed and set up the process of obtaining B2B leads via the internet.
Summary. How to use a Persona while designing the sales funnel?
- If competition is high, choose a specialization.
- If you have limited resources, select a specific customer group.
- Create a buyer persona for your clients.
- Choose one or more buyer persona, depending on your options.
- Choose from the buyer persona profile elements that tell you how to reach them (touchpoints) and how you can convince them the product is right for them (benefits for buyer persona).
- Take advantage of touchpoint matching tools and design messages.