There used to be at time you’d home in on the needs/fears of a single stakeholder and tailor your sales and marketing message accordingly. But decision making, even at the highest levels, has become more of a group effort. According to research in The Challenger Customer by Gartner, the number of people involved in B2B purchase decisions rose from an average of 5.4 in 2015 to 6.8 in 2017.
“With buying decisions increasingly committee-based, marketers must leverage enterprise personas to deliver marketing messages that drive higher-quality (and quantity) leads,” says Noah Elkin, research director, Gartner for Marketers.
In “Improve B2B Lead Generation With Enterprise Personas,” the author concisely lays out how to develop these personas.
An enterprise persona reflects market segmentation choices and places them in a context that makes it easier for both marketing and sales to apply in a consistent manner. Enterprise personas focus marketing and sales on the impact their value proposition has on the client’s larger strategic objectives, rather than a single stakeholder’s goals.
“Building an enterprise persona focuses the conversation around your customers and their needs rather than your product or service,” says Elkin. “This will go a long way toward building credibility and trust with your customers and prospects — two essential ingredients for generating sales-ready leads.”
We’d add that this is also a good internal exercise, where you gather company stakeholders at every level to crystallize your own enterprise persona, aka, brand, beyond your products or services. This is actually a key element in the sales enablement support we provide to our clients.
Developing enterprise personas adds considerable complexity to an already long sales cycle. It requires a pretty demanding set of skills, including data mining, pattern recognition, behavioral psychology and forensics. That’s not easy to find for any company, let alone a mid-sized one with finite marketing and sales resources. But given the time and resources an enterprise sale already requires – and considering what’s at stake – it’s worth the additional investment.