For a startup doing B2B sales, identifying the right company and then person to target in that company to sell to is difficult, but there are ways in which you can explore new buyer personas methodically. In many cases, you have a good idea of who you should be pitching to and what the message should be but since you don’t have a lot of wins to base that assumption on you need to keep an open mind and be willing to be flexible.
We are working with a really interesting SaaS company now in the safety and risk mitigation space that is in the process of figuring out who their buyer personas are. They had some early wins but in all honesty they were spread across a number of sectors and it made it difficult to identify the correct industry sector to go after. So we are actively working with them on narrowing down the sector to sell to and then the people to sell to in those companies. We are also working with them on developing messaging for a variety of roles in those target sectors to try. I think that is really the secret, be willing to try a few different things, listen to what the response is and then keep evolving that process to tighten things up and zero in.
In this use case, they initially had a wide net of target companies ranging from distribution companies, mining, industrials and government organizations. In those organizations we were unsure of the actual buyer – was it the head of health and safety or was it senior leader in maintenance and facilities or something else. So we embarked on a series of list builds and then outbound campaigns using Hubspot as our core sales CRM infrastructure to do this. After running a number of campaigns to prospects in those target markets with those titles we found that individuals with maintenance and facilities titles were more likely to have an interest which was interesting because I think initially we all thought it would be more likely that health and safety contacts would be the main target. So we listened to the numbers and zero’d in on that persona. As a note here, this was not just emails, in the sales cadence we also included phone calls. As a caveat here, we did find that the facilities and maintenance contacts we are targeted responded better to calls than to emails. Most of the meetings we booked were done on the back of the calling effort, referencing the emails.
Now what was also interesting is that prospects in for profit organizations were not all that interested as this solution would have been an expense in their eyes, even though it would have mitigated a risk. That risk mitigation was not enough to move them to consider this. Pivot over to the governmental organizations and for them as “not for profits”, the safety and risk mitigation message resonated with them as did some of the other secondary messaging around knowledge retention and asset tracking. So we narrowed in on this target market.
Now that we have figured out the right target company and we have a solid idea of the buyer themselves we figured it makes sense to keep pushing along these lines (remember in sales you should go wide if you can in target accounts to improve your chance of success) and decided we would try a risk mitigation messaging solution, which is one of the key value proposition points of this organization solution, to CFOs and senior finance people. The results of this have yet to be assessed as it is underway now, but regardless of the outcome, the process of doing it is important.
I guess the bottom line here is you need to be continually evolving and learning. Part of that is being OK in the knowledge that in many instances your efforts will not bear fruit but that it is only through the process of that you can find tangible opportunities.
Don’t stop pushing the envelope and exploring new markets or new buyer personas to sell too. Keep trying and keep hunting. Do it strategically, methodically and listen to the numbers and results.
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