You’ve got a great SAP business and you’re proud of what you deliver. Now you need to communicate your awesomeness to the world, and how you can help them achieve their goals and solve their problems – this is where marketing comes in!
If you are an SAP partner who is looking to learn more about marketing or review the fundamentals, then this post is for you!
Imagine you’ve just executed a great marketing strategy, which communicates the message: “Let us help you complete your sales reporting tasks fast, so you have more time to focus on your financial planning!”. Sounds like a good value proposition, right?
But what if your buyers are not concerned about reporting? What if they’re more interested in the security features of your offering, or your ability to deploy effectively? Your team might be more than capable of meeting these needs as well, but if you are not communicating these specific abilities, then you risk being overlooked!
When planning your marketing strategy, it’s crucial to know your buyers so that you can craft messages that speak directly to them and their needs.
Who are your buyers?
Who are your buyers? Maybe you’ll describe their role, or the industry or line of business in which they work. So you might say, “my customer works in healthcare,” or “my customers are field-service agents.”
What are their short- and long-term needs and goals?
And at a high level, that’s fine. But now, try to think about them from the following standpoints:
- Their daily tasks and responsibilities
- Their definitions of success – short and long-term KPIs to achieve, skills to perfect, qualities to have
- Their professional goals, and the alignment of these goals with those of their managers and subordinates
- Their blockers to success – for example, dependencies, sub-optimized skills or lack of resources
- Features of your offering that would entice them to select it
- Barriers that prevent them from selecting your offering
Focus on decision-makers and not just users
And of course, you want to focus your efforts on the individuals that influence the decision to select your offering – these could very-well be the end-users, but they could also be higher-level employees with completely different priorities.
A persona is a documented picture of your buyer
As you answer these questions, you will start to paint a “picture” of the customers who would select your offering. This picture or generalized representation of your customer that you create is called a persona
Creating personas helps you to relate to your customers as real humans, and it helps you help you understand the specific needs and goals of your customers and prospects.
Create a persona record for each type of buyer
Not only should you define personas, but you should document their traits into persona records. Persona records are useful because:
- They act as the single source of truth about your personas (although you can change them as many times as needed)
- They can be shared with new employees to the team to ramp them up quickly on the company’s sales and marketing targets
- Physical documents better delineate the differences between your personas, compared to storing everything in your head
How do you build a persona record?
In general, to build a persona record, 1) answer questions about your buyer’s professional experiences, and then 2) map the findings for each buyer type into a persona template.
Answer questions about your buyers’ current professional experiences
Answer the following questions about your buyers – and remember to focus on the individuals that influence the decision to select your offering:
Remember that it’s possible to have multiple answers for each question – in such cases, you will want to consider creating multiple buyer types.
Map your findings into a persona template
Once you have answered the questions above, map the characteristics of each buyer type into a persona template that organizes their traits into groups your sales and marketing team will find useful. Here’s a template you can use, but feel free to use any type of template you wish.
Give your personas a name
It’s recommended to give each of your personas a name (“Cheryl the CEO”, “Amy in Healthcare Data Analysis”, “Sam the Field Ops Manager”). This acts as a reminder that your personas reflect actual human beings who have real goals, needs and challenges that you can help them achieve and solve.
You can have one or multiple personas
Based on the answers you provide from the questions above, it will become obvious whether a single persona describes all your buyers or if you have multiple personas with unique needs and goals – for example, if your target market is narrow and focused, one persona might be enough, but if your buyers work in different roles, industries, geographies, etc., it might make more sense to have individual persona records for each of these buyer types.
Whatever you decide is OK, and remember that you can always change your mind later!
Here’s an example of a fully fleshed out persona. This one in particular is based on actual interactions with several decision makers in the HR line of business.
Feel free to add, remove and enhance your records
When you create persona records, think of it as an iterative exercise that you do on a yearly or semi-annual basis. As you learn more about your buyers, or as the market winds change, it makes sense to go back to your persona records and make some updates. You might even merge multiple records into one or split a single record into several!
Get your buyer-facing colleagues to pitch in
And of course, no one knows your customers better than your customer-facing colleagues, such as sales executives. Therefore include them in the process of creating your company’s persona records.
Walk a mile in your buyers’ shoes!
Understanding your buyers is fundamental to building an optimally-targeted marketing strategy. By truly knowing who your they are – their needs, goals, problems, expectations, blockers, triggers, barriers, etc., you’re well on your way to crafting messages that best speak to them – you’ll demonstrate empathy, leadership, and an awareness of their reality – you’ll capture their attention, and you’ll stand out from the rest!