What are the most crucial things to know about B2B buyers? That’s the question we asked ourselves when we were creating our B2B Target Buyer Persona Template. Using personas is a powerful way to discover and influence your ideal target buyers. And while I’ve been seeing more forward-thinking B2B sales and marketing leaders advocate using personas, many miss out on the single most crucial element that must be included in a B2B buyer persona: triggers for change.
Put another way, why would a prospect be motivated to purchase your offering?
Sales, at its very core, is a facilitation of change, and where change is involved, there is also risk. If change goes poorly, your prospects’ job may be on the line (or at very least a lot of time and resources can get wasted). One of the best ways to mitigate this risk is to appeal to a prospect’s change triggers. Keeping a list of possible change triggers can help you discover why making that change is important. Some factors might include a CRM upgrade, a desire to accelerate KPIs or a dissatisfaction with a current vendor. If reps can align their pitch with a prospect’s change trigger, it can vastly accelerate the deal.
Change triggers can have a dramatic impact on inbound sales and marketing. Buyer personas can help marketing and sales align, as marketers can create content that appeals to various personas’ change triggers and then sales reps can leverage those same triggers to move deals forward.
As an example, let’s say you’re selling a marketing automation suite. From the moment the lead comes in, Sales would know that she is looking for a solution that integrates well with Salesforce. Is she trying to replace a previous solution that didn’t work well with Salesforce? Or was Salesforce just implemented? Discovering her motivation is the key to your entire sale.
Remember that change triggers are going to vary by role. And since B2B deals (especially big ones) often involve multiple stakeholders, it’s absolutely essential to understand the factors that are going to drive change by role. After all, a marketing operations manager and CMO might have different motivations for change. The marketing operations manager in the previous example might be primarily motivated to find a solution with a strong Salesforce integration. And while this might also matter to a CMO, the CMO might care more about gaining deeper analytics from the solution. Premeditating possible change triggers by role can help reps quickly discover each stakeholder’s motivation for change.
Being aware of change triggers is even more valuable when doing outbound prospecting, as it can help you discover leads that are more likely to embrace change. If, for example, you know that CMOs are more likely to change after receiving funding rounds, you can laser target CMOs at companies that recently received funding. You can either monitor sites like CrunchBase and VentureBeat for funding news, or use prospecting tools that can help you sort companies by funding details. There are even tools now that enable you to discover which companies recently implemented various technologies. This can be incredibly powerful, when searching for ideal prospects.
Ready to create your own B2B buyer personas? Check out our free B2B Target Buyer Persona Template for inside sales teams.
Jesse WestDirector of Lifecycle MarketingringDNA
Jesse Davis West is Director of Lifecycle Marketing at ringDNA, focusing on improving the experience and maximizing the lifetime value for customers across their entire journey. Drawing on 9 years of B2B marketing experience, Jesse is passionate about communication, branding and strategic marketing. He also plays a mean lead guitar and can throw down at karaoke.