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Everyone is not your customer (or partner): Why cloud service providers need to create personas

When you go into business, one of the first things you realize is that everyone is NOT your customer. This concept seems simple to grasp, but it’s harder in practice. One way to be more targeted and compelling in your sales and marketing efforts is to develop buyer personas. Buyer personas are ‘fictional’ characterizations of your ideal customers that include the potential buyers’ specific needs, challenges, and interests. These profiles should provide much-needed context into customers’ motivators and priorities, giving marketing teams and content creators the insight they need to create focused messages for each persona. From there you can develop content across the sales cycle, and across every interaction, that makes your soon-to-be customer say, ‘Hey, they are talking directly to me!’

What makes your customers tick?

In marketing and sales, and in product and service development, the exercise of developing buyer personas is twofold. It requires stakeholders to first think through what segments they are trying to attract (i.e., size, revenue, vertical, location) as well as what their motivations are. Second, it requires thinking about how teams can customize their product and service packages to fit within those desired profiles.

For instance, if your team develops innovative mobile apps for the B2B space, who are your best customers? If you’re targeting companies in the healthcare industry, you know potential buyers are highly-motivated by maintaining HIPPA compliance. Understanding what drives them or ‘what keeps them up at night’ can help you significantly improve your customer acquisition and retention efforts.

Those businesses that take the time to cultivate and better understand buyer personas will have a significant advantage when it comes to content creation, product, and service development, targeting and selling, and supporting customers. In another example, if your company provides collocation services to enterprise customers, you know that you’re targeting organizations with a ($5MM revenue+) with multi-site and multi-national locations. Prospective buyers within these organizations can range from mid-management to senior management. In these high-level deals, their job title may span from Director of Operations to Network Architect. More than identifying their role, though, you’ll also want to understand their mindset or what makes them tick?

To get there, you’ll want to answer questions like:

  • What’s your personas’ background, demographics and identifies?
  • What are their motivations?
  • What are your personas’ goals? Be specific. Instead of ‘reducing costs, or ‘maintaining compliance’ this might be something like ‘creating a plan to adopt cloud, or ‘automate compliance reporting.’
  • What challenges do they face? Again, be specific. ‘We have a manual process, so it takes months to onboard new customers.’
  • What common objections do they have to buy a product or service like yours?
  • What can you do to help your potential buyers achieve their goals?

What if you’re targeting partners not ‘buyers’?

Service providers that offer solutions to partners and resellers can still benefit greatly from developing buyer personas. In the channel, especially, you may need to have multiple ‘sets’ of partner personas. If you want to build out your partner program look to identify the partner attributes that sync best with your partner program. Developing personas allows you to best segment your audience and prioritize your prospects in the most impactful ways possible. From there you can create content that will resonate with that group. It also enables you to personalize your marketing campaigns for different segments with your audience.

If you offer a threat management security product and you’re looking to grow your partner program, for example, you may target partners that sell some security services already, like managed firewall and endpoint protection products. Another buyer persona for this same effort might also include a partner that isn’t familiar with the cybersecurity space. Perhaps, until now, they’ve only sold and implemented network monitoring and management software. Now you can create specific content that outlines what the potential partner with no security experience needs to know to start conversations about security with customers.

Putting personas to good use

As you develop buyer and/or partner personas, remember people want to hear about them, not you. If your business can successfully lay the groundwork by developing comprehensive personas you can craft messages and content that speaks directly to your best potential customers and partners. By demonstrating how your company can help them overcome their challenges, you’ll be able to have higher-value conversations with leads.

At Carve Digital, we can help build out your personas and craft highly-targeted messages that will ‘speak volumes’ to your customers. We can also provide guidance on how to build your offerings around those profiles to achieve maximum results. Ask us how we’re happy to help! Just shoot us a note or give us a call at (720) 593-6479.