Standard marketing practice for a lot of marketers, digital agencies, and myself is to analyse and work with personas.

However, most people in complex B2B sales are doing them wrong, and they don’t really understand there’s actually more than one persona in the sales process.

For example, one of my clients sells very complex middleware in the IT stack.

And when he was working with a digital agency, they wanted to create a buyer persona so they could target some digital ads towards them.

It just wasn’t going to work. Why?

Because there’s more than one persona within the buying process.

You need to understand who the stakeholders and the decision-makers are.

That’s right, plural!

There’s many more than one persona that you need to figure out and understand to make it work.

In the complex B2B sales environment, I often see companies that manage to generate initial interest, but the sales process ends up going nowhere because they don’t understand the various personas they are dealing with.

Or, even worse, the teams really don’t understand the buying process from the customer’s point of view and they even miss to address key stakeholders.

Sorry to break it to you, but there is no easy way out here.

Having been involved in large, complex B2B sales for many years, I understand that there’s many more than one persona that we need to unpack if we’re going to win in the market.

For example, there are people we call recommenders. 

Someone who is helping the actual decision-maker articulate the problem. They go and scope out the market and then find the solution.

Then you have a gatekeeper or the ego, someone that you have to convince that your product or proposition will stay with the business for a long time.

And then finally, you’ve got the approver who actually signs off on the deal or the purchase order.

You need to understand all of those personas within the B2B environment.

Understand what drives them. Understand what buttons to push, to get the reaction and decisions you want.

Each sales process is different.

You need to map out who the personas are and what is driving them.

So here’s the two things I recommend to really focus on when understanding your customers better and winning more sales.

Map out the sales process or map out the customer’s buying process. How does it work? Who’s involved? What are their needs and desires? What are they trying to prove?

And then do a needs analysis for each of those people and understand what their key purchasing criteria are, understand what works for them, what doesn’t.

If you don’t have a plan that fully understands and recognises the different stakeholders, you’re going to stumble in your sales process and your competition will win more of the business you should be winning.

You might as well just send prospects straight to your competitor.

You need to get your sales and marketing teams to work together.

Get your sales and marketing teams to map out who the key stakeholders are, what their drivers are and how your solution meets and exceeds their needs.

If you want to understand more about what your teams should be focusing on, download my free marketing audit here.

I will help you identify how to fix your marketing so you can grow your business.

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