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3 Ways Buyer Personas Shorten the [Software] Sales Cycle

Written by Alex Embling

Jan 18 2016


Having a detailed understanding of your ideal software buyers is key to targeting marketing campaigns correctly, maximising sales opportunities and reducing the software sales cycle. Forming the foundation of effective Inbound Marketing campaigns, typically 3-4 defined buyer personas can account for over 90% of a company’s sales.

It’s clear that mapping persona-relevant content against the right Buyer’s Journey stage can effectively reduce the software sales cycle. But when Buyer Personas are correctly used to inform the software marketing strategy as a whole, all action becomes more relevant. This results in higher quality leads, increased retention and conversion, competitive advantage and shorter software sales cycles.

Although 73% of companies use, or plan to use, buyer personas the majority (85%) of companies are not using them correctly. - ITSMA

3 Reasons Buyer Personas Reduce the Software Sales Cycle

1. Buyer Personas Attract Higher Quality Leads

If only 1 out of 10 people in your target audience needs your solution, and 9 of them aren’t prospects, you’re wasting 90% of your time and resources. - Single Grain Marketing

Defined persona profiles identify exactly who’s most likely to purchase your software solution (and who your best-fit quality leads should be). This allows marketers to attract more of those good-fit leads by solving their software-related pain, increasing conversion, minimising wasted marketing resource and shortening sales cycles.

From site design to content, sales strategy and even product development, every campaign action should align the value of your software solution against the challenges of the persona(s) you want to attract.

Using marketing personas made websites 2-5 times more effective and easier to use by targeted users. - HubSpot

Because they form the basis of all marketing decisions, it’s important to get Persona Development correct. Typically for Enterprise Software organisations, good fit Buyer Personas (and high value leads) will be decision makers such as CTOs who are able to make immediate purchasing decisions, or influencers to the decision maker.

2. Buyer Personas Inform Better Content

Because 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, they are also more likely to buy from that company. -  Custom Content Council

If your content addresses the needs of your optimum buyer and is published to the digital environments those buyers read, it stands to reason you’ll attract more relevant leads.

Creating persona relevant content and mapping it against the Buyer’s Journey shortens the sales cycle through relevancy. With a range of content assets addressing specific software related pain at each purchasing stage, marketing and sales have the resource to quickly nurture leads with the most suitable information.

For best results Buyer Persona mapped content should:

  • Address persona pain. Creating content to address persona’s software challenges does more than attract relevant leads. It builds your brand as a trusted advisor and keeps you in mind as the best software solution.
  • Be relevant. Always make sure your content addresses the right stage of the Buyer’s Journey for each lead. Don’t send Decision Stage information such as a demo or webinar to leads in the Awareness Stage for example. If you’re targeting multiple personas, create content that helps each one uniquely.
  • Consider persona environment. During persona development identify the sites, social platforms, news resources and influencers your personas consult. Position your content in these environments to attract a more relevant audience and higher quality, faster closing leads.

3. Buyer Personas Align Sales and Marketing

79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. - MarketingSherpa

According to MarketingProfs, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales despite only 27% of those leads actually being qualified - a sizable waste of sales resource. But if personas are defined at the outset of a campaign, marketing and sales have a clear guide of who to target, what constitutes a qualified lead and when sales should act. This leads to more effective lead scoring, better opportunities and a higher close rate for shorter sales cycles.

In an Inbound campaign, sales and marketing teams are always aligned. Closed-loop reporting provides sales teams with a lead’s historical marketing data (such as content downloaded, key challenges, site pages viewed). This allows sales teams to approach opportunities with more accurate messaging and hold better conversations.

A surprising 79% of B2B marketers have not established lead scoring. - MarketingSherpa

Making the Most of Software Personas to Shorten Software Sales Cycles

Poorly designed personas may contribute to the sobering statistic that 64% of field sales people’s time is wasted on admin tasks and responsibilities around demand generation. - SiriusDecisions.

Of course for personas to positively impact the software sales cycle and save time and marketing effort, they must be correctly formed. When developing Buyer Personas:

  • Make sure information is relevant. For B2B software personas you probably don’t need personal information (e.g. what the CTO does in their spare time). You will need in-depth information on their pain points and typical barriers to purchase (these lengthen the sales cycle) so you can offer your software solution.
  • Think of persona development as an ongoing process. For the best marketing and sales strategy, personas must be as up to date as possible and always accessible to all team members.
  • Keep the persona in mind to stay on track. When making any strategic decision, from content to product development think: “Would this appeal to my prime persona?” Always keep the persona in mind.
  • Remember they are personas not people. While persona data is an average of your ideal buyer information, always remember current clients. Keep the human side in mind to better personalise and target strategies.
  • Remember you may be targeting two or more personas at once!

With well defined personas informing all campaign action, software marketers and sales teams have the structure they need to form relevant strategies, and attract higher quality, faster closing leads.

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