In this screencast video, we’ll explore how to define your audience in two ways: 1) the companies you want to attract and 2) the individuals within those companies whose attention and trust you need to earn. And then we’ll show you how to document profiles of each so your Marketing team, your Sales team and the rest of your company will all be rowing in the same direction when it comes to developing new business. We recommend downloading these free worksheets if you’d like to fill in your own profiles as (or after) you watch.

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Ideal customer and buyer persona profiles for manufacturers

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About The Foundry: Building Better Industrial Marketing

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Video transcript:

Hey, everybody, I’m Joe Sullivan, a co-founder of industrial marketing agency, Gorilla 76. And today, I’m gonna be talking about a critical first step in building a sustainable ROI-driven business development system. And that’s clearly defining and documenting your target audience.

So it can be really tempting to jump straight into a new marketing campaign. But that, of course, is gonna take resources, it’s gonna take time, manpower and capital. And if you stop to think about it for a second, doesn’t it only make sense that you take the time to truly identify who exactly it is you’re targeting and what they care about? As marketing and sales professionals, it’s in our best interest to optimize our resources, not to create waste.

In this video about ideal customer and buyer persona profiles, we’re gonna take a look at how to define your audience in a couple of different ways. First, the types of companies that you’re selling to – or your ideal customer profile. And then second, the types of people at these companies that you need to reach – who would be your buyer persona profiles. And then, after we take a look at each of these, I’m gonna show you how to go about documenting each with your marketing and sales team. So let’s jump over to my screen.

Okay, so let’s start by defining your ideal customer at a company level. So think about your customer base for a second. Which ones are the most profitable? Which ones allow your company to do your best work – the work that you’re truly experts in? Which ones do you and your team actually enjoy working with? Think about the ones that maybe don’t cause you anxiety in the middle of the night.

So these ones are your ideal fit customers.

Now, imagine yourself waking up a few years down the road, and seeing a portfolio of clients that look just like this. This is exactly why we want to define our ideal customer profile, so we can seek out and win businesses that we actually want rather than just what falls onto our lap.

So now, think about what are the shared characteristics of these ideal customers? What are the common threads when you look at things like the following?

  • Their industry
  • The size of the company in terms of revenue and number of employees
  • Maybe how much they spend with you
  • Their geography
  • Who they sell to
  • Technology they use
  • Your access to their decision makers
  • Maybe company values

Write all the stuff down, this is what’s really gonna start to form your ideal customer profile.

Now, I need to point something out. So when you start to create an ideal customer profile, and really start laser focusing on that exact type of business, if this curve represents your current volume of leads being generated, then in the short term, it might start to look more like this, which may not be that exciting to see. But as you start to look more closely, the curve of truly sales-qualified leads is likely to go from something like this to something more like this.

And here’s what else is really great about this. So the companies that are out there who are really ideal fits for you – they start to perceive you as an expert in their space rather than just a generalist. And now all of a sudden, you’ve kind of differentiated yourself from the competition. You become the solution, rather than just a solution.

So here’s a quick example. At Gorilla 76, we don’t call ourselves a full-service marketing agency with a wide array of services for a wide variety of business, but instead we call ourselves the industrial marketing agency. And we help manufacturers, and industrial service providers build online marketing and sales programs that attract the right leads and drive more sales.

And time and time again, our specialization really helps us attract and win business with the right types of customers that we’re truly best at serving, and by doing what we’re best at doing.

So now that we know what the type of company looks like that we’re targeting, we need to dial in on the individual human beings at those companies who play a role in the buying process. This is were we get into buyer persona profiles.

So a majority of the manufacturing organizations that we work with at Gorilla don’t sell commodity products. Instead their buyers are looking for more customized, solution-oriented products or services. And this results in a highly consultative and often long sales and buying process for them.

So the buyers in these situations are rarely just one person, but instead a committee of individuals with different roles within the company and requirements for what’s being purchased.

Inside these companies that fit your ideal customer profile, you’ve got a wide variety of individuals with different jobs, and often a handful or more of them are gonna be looped into the buying process in some capacity. These people might include Design Engineers, Plant Managers, Procurement folks, Presidents, CFOs, and others. And these people –whoever they are at your ideal customer – this is who your buying committee is, because each of these individuals has a different pain they’re trying to solve.

Your sales team already knows you can’t just talk to them all the same way, but marketing has got to follow suit. That’s why we create these persona profiles. So let’s take a look at a few example buyer personas that may or may not make sense for you to classify within your own business.

One that we see often within the target audiences of our manufacturing clients is who we’re calling here The Information Gatherer. This is the person who is tasked by a decision maker to go find a solution to whatever it is. And because the majority of information gathering in the B2B industrial space is now happening online, this person is often going to Google to look for products, services, answers to questions and solutions to problems. So if you want to be in front of this person, and on the list that this person puts on the desk of his or her boss, you need to have their attention and online visibility in front of them.

A second example persona is the person we call The Spec Seeker. This person is often an Engineer, a Plant Manager, or some technically-minded individual. The Spec Seeker often has the technical expertise to understand how a solution will work within the company’s facilities and operations. He or she is certainly going to be involved in terms of evaluating the options brought to the table by that previous persona, The Information Gatherer.

And then a third example persona could be The Decision Maker, often a President or CEO, maybe a CFO. This person is gonna make the final decision, and ultimately write the check. So decision makers are trusting their team to thoroughly vet options and this person ultimately cares more about things like ROI, long term cost of ownership for a solution, building sustainable relationships with smart, experienced partners and sort of high level things along those lines.

So some of these personas may or may not resonate with you. Maybe there are others that make more sense for your business. Regardless, here’s what you want do to document each persona.

For each one, you want to write down:

  • Common job titles that this person has
  • The role they play in the buying process
  • Their level of authority at the company
  • Common pain points that this person has. We bold this one because the pain points of this individuals is often what’s gonna form the foundation of your marketing strategy.
  • What he or she values about you
  • The level of education needed by this person about what to buy
  • Where he or she seeks information, whether online or offline
  • How he or she usually discovers you in the first place
  • Potential objections this person has to hiring you
  • Keywords he/she might search for on Google, especially with that Solution Seeker persona
  • And then we usually like to throw in a real life example or two from some of your existing customers that sort of fit this persona. That helps you kind of keep it in perspective and tie it back to your real world, and your real business development situation.

So now that you know what needs to happen in terms of documenting these buyer personas and ideal customer profiles, let’s briefly touch on what this documentation process should actually look like.

So the first step is to get your team together, and this is really critical because you need everybody who plays an important role in your business development process to be on the same page. You want upper management, the head of your sales and marketing staff and any key marketing or sales consultants, or agency partners to be present.

The next step is to define your ideal customer and buyer personas. This should be a collaborative discussion between the group in the room. Sometimes it can be a pretty lengthy one too, as everybody is gonna have their own opinions.

The third step is to put it all in writing

And then finally, you absolutely wanna share this throughout your organization. From management to operations to customer service, to sales and marketing, you want everybody rowing in the same direction.

Okay, that’s it for today. So I’m gonna post some of the previously mentioned resources in the page notes. I encourage you to subscribe to our industrial marketing newsletter, and visit our Learning Center to find more content like this one. And if you’d like to set up a free consultation to talk about defining and documenting your company’s ideal customer and buyer persona profiles, please fill out the consultation request on gorilla76.com. So thanks for watching.

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Our Tactical Guide to Industrial Lead Generation will teach you how to attract, engage and convert ideal-fit prospects into real leads, move them into your sales funnel and measure results.

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