Welcome!

CRM Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Ian Khan, PR.com Newswire, Steve Mordue

Related Topics: CRM

CRM: Blog Feed Post

Handicapping Your B2B Target Market

Who wouldn’t love to have the Superfecta ticket when four long shots finish in the money at the racetrack?

Who wouldn’t love to have the Superfecta ticket when four long shots finish in the money at the racetrack?  Luck is a good thing, we all need it, but I wouldn’t want to wager business results on the concept.

Avid horse racing fans spend hours handicapping their bets. They subscribe to publications like The Daily Racing Form, belong to online forums like TVG.com and study what the celebrated handicappers pick. They look at bloodlines, work times and previous finish times. Occasionally they go with name or jockey or trainer, but not unless all the other things line up.

Creating personas for a target market is a lot like handicapping race horses. You want to know everything you can about them. Especially anything that will help you win. Some handicappers love a bloodline. They’ll bet anything with a "Bold" heredity or a "River" bloodline, for example. This is closer to what you’re trying to accomplish with a persona.

A persona pulls the traits of a group of people together so you can make certain assumptions about them and determine the best way to engage them—and this is very important—before they get locked onto a preference for some other vendor. The best way to get close enough to your target is to know enough about them to craft messaging so relevant that putting your organization on their list of vendors under consideration is a given.

Building layers of knowledge about your prospects will come as time goes by and you have the opportunity to learn more and more. As you do, flesh out your persona with more details and give your company the opportunity to continuously up the odds of creating actionable relationships.

As an example, I’m borrowing Adele Revella’s example of Chris.
(You can see her blog post here. The comments are interesting as well.)

Chris is 29 years old and recently married. He and Karen want children some day, but she’s also got a good job, and with the pressures of a big mortgage, they think they’ll wait a few years to start their family.  For now their baby is Logan, a two-year-old springer spaniel that they rescued from a shelter.

Chris has been in the tech industry for five years. He was a product manager until the most recent reorganization created a separate product marketing group. He willingly made the move to the new department, but that was more than a year ago and he is still trying to understand just how his job fits with those in product management, marketing communications, and sales.

Chris is responsible for the go-to-market planning for several products, but he spends most of his time; attending meetings, answering emails, writing content for sales collateral,  helping sales people with customer accounts, and driving to and from work – the new house has resulted in a longer commute and the traffic is horrible.

These pressures, plus a tight travel budget, have limited Chris's customer interactions to times when he helps sales people with demos or prospect presentations – definitely not what he had in mind when he took this job. He knows he’s not spending enough time listening to the market or working on strategic activities, but he doesn’t have time to get focused amid the daily frenzy of requests and emails. He keeps thinking that there is a more effective way to do his real job, but can’t figure out how to get there from here.


Given Adele’s example above, what conclusions can you draw?
What messaging focuses are likely to engage Chris?

What’s interesting is the mix of personal and work environment information. People asked Adele a lot of questions to extend their insights to his personal life, but that’s a lot more to do with enjoying the story than approaching him as a prospect for work purchases in a B2B environment.

There comes a point at which you must guard against getting too involved in individual personal characteristics when developing B2B personas for marketing programs. You need to remain conscious of the fact that a persona is representative of a group of people. Not just one. So make sure that the factors you choose to use are common across the specific segment.

Save any specific details for salespeople to use when the time comes for personal conversations. In fact, if you can add them to the prospect profile to memorialize them for later, all the better.

A persona should give you an idea about selling to a select target market. With that in mind, here are some things to think about if you have prospects and customers in Chris’ situation.

  • Chris needs to maximize his time. Because he knows he doesn't spend enough time keeping up-to-date with market information, can you help him do so while making your point? What can you tell him that he may have missed?

  • Better collaboration tools might help him work better with the departments he interfaces with and may even cut back on all that email. If you're thinking of contacting him via email, your message has to be spot on to get his attention amidst all those requests and other emails he receives.

  • If you're considering using white papers, time-pressed people like Chris will appreciate an executive summary so they can quickly learn if the paper will be of value. He's unlikely to make  time to read something he's unsure has a payoff he needs.

  • Podcasts with market insights and strategic thinking ideas he can listen to during his commute might help him get some of his focus back. Someone like Chris doesn’t have extra time to read more stuff, so if you can help him leverage audio during his drive, that may help you get closer to him.

  • What insights can you provide that help him improve how he takes his product lines to market? What customer stories can you share that shine a light on your expertise in action? How do people like him increase their effectiveness?

Given the information you know about Chris, what else would you like to know that can help you craft more relevant content and communications that engage him?

Would knowing if he bought an immaculate house in good repair vs. a fixer upper tell you if he’s willing to roll his sleeves up for a project or if he’d be a better candidate for a one-stop solution that the vendor maintains for him?

The point is that we need to get creative and thoughtful about what we can glean from the intelligence we gather. Especially with social media encouraging people to share more insights about themselves that you've never had access to before.

Handicapping your targets is an ongoing process. This only scratches the surface of what’s possible. You’ll have to stretch your thinking to discover which details can be used to generate that extra relevancy which could mark the difference between getting your foot in the door or being left at the gate.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

@ThingsExpo Stories
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, discussed key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the age ...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.