Sales Pillars: Personas and Buyer’s JourneyOn November 30, 2021 by blog-admin
The four pillars of sales.
Previously, Thiago talked about sales pillars and in a very Shakespearean way he answered whether or not you should have them. The title of this article is a spoiler and the idea is to make it clear that you must have the sales pillars and structure them.
In the course of this first article I will show you how this structuring can help you and also how it should be done. The ultimate goal is to go through each of the 4 sales pillars: Buyer Personas, Buyer Journey, Sales Funnel and Qualification Matrix, making a quick retrospective, showing what you consider most important in each of the pillars and also giving tips practices for you to create yours.
Personas, the customer within the Sales Pillars
Persona are not people but there are several analogies between them.
What are personas: It is the bi-dimensional and semi-fictional representation of your client(s). It is the representation of the customer within the sales pillars.
It is the first of the 4 sales pillars that must be defined if you want to be more effective in your marketing and sales process. You build it based on a demographic and behavioral analysis of your customer.
Bringing up a bad experience that you too may have had. There was a time, this was my first sales experience. Because I didn’t have a well-defined persona, I ended up having an entire meeting with a potential client thinking that he was the decision maker.
When the meeting ended, I ended up hearing from my prospect that he would have to present the proposal to my boss. Would he present the boss with my clarity and dedication that I did?
Don’t sell to the wrong person.
Not having defined who the decision maker is creates a huge problem.
Going deeper in the definition of the 4 pillars of sales for your business means considering that not always in a first contact you will easily find the decision maker represented by your persona and the logic is always to get to him as quickly as possible.
Another annoying situation that the first of the 4 sales pillars seeks to avoid is the fact that you consider a persona to be just a decision maker directly in B2B businesses.
Remembering that in B2B it is not a persona who buys, but a team of personas. A two-dimensional representation that involves the decision maker, influencers and users.
Considering this, you should think about the possible areas involved in decision making. Finance, of course, is one of them.
You can recognize more than one persona and offer a speech that is in line with their reality. Can you imagine how the Human Resources manager is when he knows that by structuring the 4 pillars of sales in the company, our consultancy trains the sales team to sell more and carry out the task in a more effective and motivated way?
It may be the case that we consider Human Resources an ally to our solution.
However, every construction of a persona must be based on facts and data. To define Human Resources as a possible persona needs through testing. First try to convince them of the benefit generated by my solution, and see if they are really interested.
It’s always good to keep in mind when your business caters to different personas. The moment I learned this was when I worked on attracting international volunteers to work in NGOs and companies here in the country.
The NGOs spent a period of the year extremely busy with fundraising and project impact analysis, in addition to delivering the service to the community.
It was common, due to lack of budget, that some projects that needed a specialist, such as a web-designer to develop a website, or a specialist for audio and video recordings, were shelved for a long time.
Although there is a structure in the NGOs, in most cases I recognized that the decision-making process was much more horizontal and democratic.
In companies, decision-making was vertical and it was useless to make the smoothest and most wonderful pitch for the wrong employee. The companies’ interest was that we attract volunteers to relieve the work and bring about short-term improvements.
It was interesting to note how the speech for the two personas was very different.
Like people, your personas can be different. Learn to handle it and create opportunities.
Also very helpful when considering a team of personas is knowing which people go on vacation, leave companies, or change industries. There is nothing worse than gaining the trust of a decision maker who, during the sales process, will fall into one of the three previous cases.
Having a team of personas convinced about your solution means that if something unexpected happens, a management change, for example, will not make you reach the zero point of the negotiation.
When defining the first of the 4 pillars of sales, initially consider the overview of your persona and find out who will be the decision makers and also the people who will benefit most from your solution. Again, it’s extremely important in the persona building process not to stick to assumptions alone.
The time spent establishing your persona pays for itself in the future as knowing your customer well is key to any business. And face to face with your customer, you will be able to generate several actionable insights to facilitate the construction of the following pillars.
Like every pillar that holds a Greek temple, the 4 sales pillars communicate with each other and understanding the personas leads to the next pillar which is the buyer’s journey. The construction of one contributes to the maturation of the other.
Buyer’s Journey, the path inside the Sales Pillars
The second of the 4 sales pillars is the buyer’s journey. It’s the progression your client will make from the first phase, where he has no idea of your company’s existence, much less the existence of a pain you can solve for him, progressing to a second phase of considering possible solutions and a third phase that is decision making based on the considerations of the previous phase.
The lead will experience an adventure and learn a lot on that journey. About the pain you feel, about yourself, and in the end, you will make a decision that could change your life.
There is, for each of the phases, a very clear need from the customer’s point of view. In the first phase, the client will become aware of the company and must be educated about the problem and pain he is facing.
The analogy for this phase is a patient who has a headache. He doesn’t know if it’s a punctual headache, a migraine, or a possible
stroke. Since he didn’t delve into this pain, perhaps he won’t bother to consider a solution and won’t enter the consideration phase yet.
If you work in B2B sales and already start in a call or meeting pushing your product, not understanding where the customer is in the buyer’s journey, there is a great chance that the sale is heading for failure. Breathe, step back and understand the customer’s reality.
In the second phase, the customer is considering several solutions. It is a research and comparison phase. The mindset of this phase is the search for a new car. You search by price, model, fuel consumption in town and on the road. Then the buyer makes a comparison of all results.
The mistake you can make at this stage is to talk a lot about pain when the client is already looking for a solution. He already knows his head hurts he wants to know how you solve it.
In the headache analogy, at this stage the client is already aware of and preoccupied with the pain and is willing to visit a doctor. The parallel to our sales world happens when our customer is interested in making a formal contact and looking for more technical information.
If you have a headache, there are 236 different medications and 4590 possible decisions. Maybe your customer doesn’t have as many options but realizes how it all comes together?
In the last phase of the second of the 4 sales pillars the customer is ready to make the purchase, and the speech automatically moves to implementation, costs and customer support. Nothing makes decision-making easier at this stage than Success Cases. Show how similar customers have achieved tremendous results.
And as a continuation of your buyer’s journey you can consider other phases such as Advocacy, where your customers become advocates and promoters of your product, nothing like word-of-mouth marketing is it?
Or also consider the Loyalty phase, where recurring purchase becomes standard. When deciding to structure these phases, you should think about several activities that you should offer your client so that he/she decides to enter them.
What if you don’t know about the buyer’s journey? What are the risks?
You generate rapport break by not understanding what your customer wants at each stage, being slow when talking about problems when you should be talking about a contract or reckless when presenting a proposal to someone who does not yet understand the problem and the value of its solution.
It’s your job to understand the buyer’s journey and make it as smooth and gradual as possible so that your customer feels confident moving through each of the phases.
Build and update the two previous sales pillars in a complementary and incremental way. What you discover in the stages of the buyer’s journey serves to update your persona, your marketing and sales pitch, and even anticipate objections.
In this article the team of Blue World City talk about the first two pillars of sales: Personas and Buyer’s Journey, with insights and practical tips on how to use them.
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