Buyer Personas vs. Ideal Customer Profiles
Buyer personas and ideal customer profiles help you understand your customers on a generalized level, which in turn allows you to understand their journey through the buying process even better.
An Ideal Customer Profile is a description of the company, the industry, and the specific business vertical that your ideal customer is in. How many employees work there? What is the company’s annual revenue? Where are they located? From there, you can look into the diverse set of individuals that work within this company. This is where buyer personas come in.
A Buyer Persona is a semi-fictionalized representation of your ideal customer based on market research, interviews, and real data about your existing customers. A buyer persona includes demographics, behavior patterns, and goals your different customer types may have.
Customers begin their buying process online. Educating your customers on the problem they are exploring and the solution that you have for them makes them an even more qualified lead by the time they are at the decision stage.
Whitepapers, blogs, ebooks, and case studies not only educate your leads, they also help to differentiate your product or service from your competitor’s. FAQ pages, testimonials, and reviews are also immensely helpful for a consumer reaching the decision stage. You want your company to stand out, and you want your customer to be informed on their options, so they can confidently pick the solution that best suits their needs.
Lead Intelligence and Scoring
Lead scoring is “a methodology used to rank your prospects on a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization.” Lead intelligence uses the behavior data captured from the way these leads use your website.
Lead scoring takes thought, collaboration, and a good lead management software to set up, but after you’ve accomplished this, it takes very little day-to-day management on your part.
First identify what makes a visitor to your site a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). These are people who have engaged with your content - but we aren’t sure how engaged they are yet.
Your lead intelligence software will then score how engaged these users are based on actions they’ve taken - maybe they visited 3 pages on your site and left, or they visited 50, requested an ebook, and tweeted about how amazing the user experience on your site was. The latter would be considered a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and is ready to become a qualified prospect.
How do you qualify a prospect and move them to the buying stage? Ask them these questions:
- What’s the problem you’re seeking to fix with this offering?
- What’s prompting you to do something about it now?
- Do you have a budget for this?
- How does the budget sign off process work?
- What does the decision making process look like? What role do you have in this process?
- What hurdles could come up and derail this project?
- What other solutions are you evaluating?
- Do you currently have a solution in place? If so, what are your paint points?
- When do you need a solution in place by?
- What does solving this problem mean to you?
Qualifying leads is a crucial part of your sales process. It helps you determine if your offering will help your prospect, and if continuing is worth both side’s time. Customize these questions and carefully craft your company’s version of these - the results will be worth the effort!