Buyer personas are central to a successful revenue-boosting B2B fintech marketing strategy. However, you might find yourself bogged down in irrelevant details when researching B2B fintech buyer personas or filling in buyer persona templates.
A buyer persona in digital marketing defines all the sales-relevant qualities of your prospects that you must know. These qualities will help you craft appealing marketing campaigns and close more deals.
Here are five tips that simplify buyer persona creation and bring you closer to your audience like never before.
Tip #1 - Begin buyer persona creation from within
The best place to begin creating your buyer personas is from inside your organization. Specifically, your sales, marketing, and customer service teams will have a wealth of insightful information. Let's begin with sales since increasing revenues is your ultimate objective.
Ask your sales team who they speak to most of the time and what questions they receive. What are the most commonly asked questions, and which issues crop up repeatedly in discussions? For example, let's say your product automates AR processing. Here are some common issues and topics that might crop up on sales calls:
The ROI of your product
How your product can help your clients reach their target metrics
The technical chops of your product
How easily your solution plugs into existing infrastructure
Do you have a free demo?
Can I address line-level customer disputes, centralize communication, and improve customer experience using your tool?
And so on. Remember that your sales team's answers will focus on individual interactions they have had with prospects. It is your job to draw broad audience-based insights from their answers. For instance, some prospects might focus entirely on product qualities, while others might focus on technical integration.
Do not think that product qualities are unimportant to the second group of prospects. Many marketing teams make the mistake of extrapolating single buyer persona data points to larger groups. The result is a buyer persona that misses the mark.
Correlating answers from your sales team to marketing data is a great way of avoiding this mistake. Here are some marketing datasets you can look at to understand your prospects better:
Most popular traffic channels
Topics browsed/content consumed
Internal website searches
Product page heatmaps
Email newsletter engagement data
Landing page clicks
Lead magnet data
Your objective when looking at these datasets is to figure out what your audience is searching for the most. If you don't have extensive marketing data, this is fine. Run with your sales team's insights at first, but remember to track marketing campaign successes.
For example, your sales team might reveal that they receive a lot of queries about your product's dispute resolution features. Does your marketing data reveal higher traffic to your dispute resolution product page? Are visitors searching for "dispute resolution" on your website? Are dispute resolution landing pages witnessing high traffic?
If you notice a disconnect, lean towards what sales tell you. From our previous example, if you do not see high traffic patterns on dispute resolution pages, the most likely conclusion is that your product promotion and marketing are missing the mark.
Take what sales tell you and refine your marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, store the data they offer you and begin asking your customer success or service teams about the issues they deal with the most. Here are some pointers in this regard:
Which product issues or complaints arise the most?
What are issue handling timelines like?
Do these timelines satisfy customers?
Do customers request additional features a lot? Which ones if so?
How do customers prefer to communicate?
What is the job title and role of the person who gets in touch with customer service?
Which metrics are they looking to fulfill when raising issues?
Your customer service teams are at the front of customer communication. Assimilate their insights and look at their input as an opportunity to improve customer experience.
Tip #2 - Aim for statistical relevance
Here's a common issue in the B2B fintech marketing world: Teams routinely speak to one or two types of people and draw incorrect conclusions. For instance, you might speak to just the CXO and product manager or operations head.
Statistical relevance is extremely important when creating buyer personas. What I mean is that the data you collect must come from varied sources. Much like a surveyor researching population statistics, you must poll a large group of people to draw the right conclusions.
The good news is that you don't have to poll millions of people to achieve statistical relevance. Instead, speak to at least three people with different job roles. For instance, interview the CXO, product lead or head, and a team member who uses your product daily.
You can expand this list to include roles within your client's IT department or operations, depending on your product. For instance, if you're in the RegTech space, it's best to interview your clients' compliance and legal teams.
Job roles and goals can also help you create a diverse list of prospects to interview. Here are some job fintech role categories you can use to diversify your interview pool:
Final purchase approver
Admittedly, these roles will overlap in some organizations. However, thinking along these lines will help you draw insights from different sources, something that is essential if you wish to create revenue-relevant buyer personas.
Tip #3 - Use a winning questioning framework
Interviewing is an art and a skill. Unfortunately, it's easy to draw wrong conclusions in interviews since the way you ask questions skew responses. For instance, look at the difference between the two questions below:
Is XYZ your biggest issue in the AR process right now?
What do you need to improve your AR process right now?
The first question assumes knowledge that prompts a yes/no response. If you're lucky, your interviewee might open up and redirect your attention to their real issues. However, most interviewees don't have time to do this or are answering questions on a form or email.
The second question is open-ended and gets them thinking. Note that open-ended questions aren't keys to deep insight. When used incorrectly, they can guide you down the wrong paths and cause you to lose focus. However, use them to set the tone and gather data.
Once you've defined the tone, drill deeper into your interviewee's responses. Here is a simple Q&A structure that will serve you well:
Ask an open-ended question about your prospect's processes
Drill deeper into specific issues they raise in their answers
Ask for examples, stats, and metrics
Ask questions that offer a counterpoint to your prospect's assumptions. For example, "Is XYZ metric a fair reflection of process efficiency? Why not [alternative metric]?"
Pose exploratory questions. For example, "What if you could..." or "Does changing XYZ.."
Check-in with yourself: Do you have a good summary, counterpoints, metrics, and data that govern the issue at hand?
Repeat this process for every section of your interview. Use your common sense when applying this framework. For instance, demographic questions do not need this line of questioning. However, fintech product or task-related questions must have some form of this framework.
Another tip to remember: Vary the type of questions you ask. Ask open-ended questions, multiple-choice questions, and questions that require brief one or two-word answers. When offering multiple choices, limit these choices to three or four.
The more choices you offer your interviewees, the greater the potential to lose focus. For example, most marketing teams offer a scale of 1-10 to indicate preferences. However, someone's "6" might equal another person's "8." Limit options, and you'll receive better insights.
Tip #4 - Uncover buying objections
Most buyer persona interviews assume a "what do you want" posture. Questions focus on product features they would like, the metrics prospects use to measure effectiveness, and so on.
Very rarely do fintech marketers ask prospects: Why would you not choose our product?
Most marketers make the mistake of cocooning themselves in their worlds and forget that marketing is just pre-sales. Most marketers will not like to hear this, but all marketing is preparation for sales.
One of the most important data points you can offer your sales team is the objections that a person has.
Understanding buyer persona objections will also help you counter them in your content. You can create content journeys that cohesively attack your prospects' objections and offer proof that you can help them overcome those challenges.
Discovering buyer objections begins with talking to sales. However, your interviews with people in your target organizations will also reveal some objections. Exploratory and direct questions will help you uncover them.
For instance, the following questions will get your prospect thinking of your product as a solution and reveal their objections:
What issues would you experience if our product offered this [specific solution]?
What led you to choose [alternate product]?
What roadblocks do you foresee if you choose our product?
What do you need from us to secure buy-in?
Is [specific metric] important to you?
Rank the following features in order of importance:
Ability to create memorable customer experiences
Ease of onboarding
Ease of training my team to use [product]
How do you think [product] will add value to your current processes?
Create counters to the objections your personas reveal and run them past sales. Co-ordinating sales and marketing in B2B fintech is tough, and this exercise will help you create seamless messaging.
Tip #5 - Focus on price-to-value relationships
It's time to talk about pricing. Persona interviews tend to neglect pricing questions in favor of product features and issues. However, pricing strategies are an important part of sales, and it makes zero sense to neglect them.
You must aim to figure out pricing levels that are most attractive to your prospects. You can inquire about budgets, but this might be perceived as an intrusion, especially if your prospect has never heard of you or is not considering buying your product.
Instead, it's best to create a price matrix by following the process below:
Define three levels of value for your customer:
Prices that make your product seem a bargain
Prices that seem slightly high
Prices that offer no value to your prospect
Define price ranges corresponding to these levels and seek feedback from your prospects
Alternatively, ask your prospects to indicate price ranges that correspond to those three levels
Your questions will look something like this: Does $110 per month seem like a bargain, slightly high, or too expensive? Your ideal price belongs in the "slightly high" category.
You might be wondering: "Why not ask for the perfect price?" Well, your prospects will always look out for themselves and under-quote their ideal price. Besides, if you could magically figure out ideal pricing, you won't need a sales team. The best price points convince your prospects to consider your product while asking your sales team to overcome their objections.
The bit about overcoming is essential: Without this, your customers will never realize that they're receiving immense value from your fintech product. They'll take you for granted and ask for lower prices once contracts expire.
Create this pricing matrix to help you discover ideal prices. Keep persona behaviors in mind. For instance, if you're targeting two tiers of prospects, one with $100 million in revenue and the other with $10 million, the latter will view price-to-value relationships differently.
Results from your pricing matrix will help you determine pricing tiers and correlate them to product features accordingly.
Buyer persona creation is an involved process that can get out of hand quickly. Focus on these tips when interviewing your prospects, and you'll have sales-relevant buyer personas that tell you everything you need to know about your prospects.
As a critical part of your B2B inbound marketing strategy, you cannot afford to underestimate this process.
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