Avatar: Know your Audience

Getting to know your customer is a proven way to remain competitive in your sales processes and crucial to learning as you navigate how to increase sales, unique ways to increase sales and marketing to current customers. You can build customer profiles and service improvements directly into your sales process to ensure greater opportunities for upsells, targeted advertising, data collection, future sales, and more. The added benefit to these unique ways to increase sales: you can use the information you learn from your customers to provide them with customized and personalized experiences throughout their buyer journey and in the future.

How to Increase Sales by Getting to Know Your Customer: Create Buyer Personas

Collecting demographics and psychographics (or interests that inform emotional buying decisions) is an important part of the customization process for your customers and their journey as buyers. With this information, you can build communications and future products that specifically please your customers – and you can use the information you gather to communicate with your customers properly and market to them.

Let’s look at an example of how this might work.

Software as a service (SaaS) company targets enterprise-level businesses with their sales processes primarily using three avenues of reach:

• LinkedIn ads

• Affiliate programs and referrals

• In-person marketing industry events

This SaaS company understands that while they’re targeting companies, their prospect is represented by the decision maker: an actual person that fits attributes on a customer avatar or buyer persona. Over time, the buyer persona might change, as may the buyer’s needs, but for now, they’ve collected some data and have conducted some market research to understand what their buyer is like.

The company has developed primary, secondary, and tertiary buyer persona profiles. Their primary buyer is named Maeve.

Maeve Buyer Persona Profile

Maeve is a 43-year-old marketer with a title such as “director of marketing.” She’s the decision maker at a large healthcare company looking at social media software to manage over a dozen special programs and initiatives and nearly 200 email programs involving customers, for example, weight loss programs, fitness programs, reminders and alerts, and women’s health emails. She is a six-figure income earner in a Northeastern United States metropolitan area such as Boston. She has a car but sometimes takes public transit to work at her hybrid job, where she is in the office twice a week. Maeve is generally proficient with the type of software she wants.

Maeve started as a patient advocate at the health insurance company, and she deeply cares about ensuring healthcare access for as many as possible. While in her five-year tenure with the health insurance company, she obtained her Master’s in public health communications and has a good idea of what we’re looking for. Maeve is a liberal voter, married with no children in a household with up to four rescue cats and dogs.

So how does our SaaS company sell enterprise-level software directly to Maeve? By analyzing what she finds important in her day-to-day life. Maeve may volunteer some of this information during her journey as a prospect.

Initially, Maeve volunteers this information to the company’s advertising platform, in this case, LinkedIn. LinkedIn can know or estimate some information about Maeve, which she has volunteered (or by other data LinkedIn has collected about users), such as:

• Salary

• Location

• Name

• Email

• Gender and pronouns

• Employer

• Additional contact information

• School she recently attended

• Number of connections in similar marketing roles

• The type of LinkedIn user she is (job seeker, job poster, activist, listener, or infrequent user)

• Other interests, such as volunteering at the animal shelter or contributing to an animal rescue organization

Before the software company reaches out to Maeve – maybe before she even searches for it – she’ll get an advertisement relevant to her interests.

How to Get To Know Your Customer in the Buyer Journey

Some unique ways to increase sales occur during the buyer journey or the quest from prospect to purchase. This also continues as the company explores the question, “how do you increase sales to existing customers?”

Advertising Stage

The availability of big data – as well as the granular data it’s comprised – has enabled our SaaS company to understand where they should spend their money to acquire a customer like Maeve. They serve an ad that contains true information and appeals to her demographic. For example, “For December, we will donate 10% of all new signup sales to an animal rescue in Boston.”

Prospect Stage

Once Maeve clicks on the interesting ad, which addresses her professional need for social media marketing software and appeals to her personally by tapping into her desire to help animals, Maeve enters the prospect stage. At this crucial stage, gathering information about Maeve will underscore the company’s position as a thoughtful and caring option, making her more likely to buy.

There are a few ways this can happen at the prospect stage:

• Gatekeep a downloadable about social media management for healthcare executives, requiring the prospect’s email address and answers to three questions to continue

• Directly ask for an email list signup, which provides a thank you note and some informative articles once she signs up

• Allow a chatbot on the website to redirect Maeve to a customer service representative who will answer Maeve’s questions about the software.

All of this is a fact-finding journey and a get-to-know-the-customer process.

Question & Answer Stage

Data is everything. When Maeve has questions that need to be addressed by an FAQ, it’s time to take those down. Since they already know Maeve’s industry and interests, the company can continue using the right subjects and language to speak with Maeve.

All of Maeve’s emails from the SaaS company are positioned to appeal to her emotions, provide information, or ensure Maeve knows that the SaaS company in question is the correct go-to when it’s time to make the decision.

Pre-created information for a segment of prospects the SaaS company is courting. It could be the most valuable part of this buyer journey for the prospect, who may find a personal phone call, industry-targeted webinar, or another sort of event specifically appealing.

Now is the time to ask more direct and personalized questions from Maeve when the SaaS customer interacts with her. For example,

• “Last time we spoke, your dog was getting surgery. How are they doing now?”

• “What’s the budget for your software? I’d like to see if we could fit your business well.”

• “Are there other decision-makers who should be on our next call?”

• “What are your hesitations in implementing this type of software?”

Custom responses are key here.

Buying Decision Stage and Second Sales

During the buying decision stage, Maeve will decide what level of service she needs. Too pushy, and the SaaS company could drive her to a competitor. However, armed with the right information, they can understand how much they can upswell, and most importantly, they can explain to Maeve why a specific level of service is right for the needs of her business.

Marketing to Current Customers: How Do You Increase Sales to Existing Customers?

Once this sale is complete, Maeve will be a current customer. At this stage, there are multiple things the SaaS company should do to get the most out of their relationship with Maeve, their new customer:

• Provide excellent customer service with outreach — check in with Maeve monthly or quarterly, asking about her specific experience with the software

• Reach out to Maeve personally to suggest only upgrades that work for her

• Offer a dedicated customer support representative for enterprise-level software

• Send personalized thank you gifts during the holidays, during Maeve’s business anniversary, and perhaps for her birthday

Marketing to current customers includes another caveat: Maeve is the customer, but so is her employer. If Maeve takes a new job, the SaaS company will want to congratulate her, retain her business, and maintain a business relationship with her former employer. These personalized interactions can help the SaaS company do that or sense stress and discontent in Maeve if she is about to make a business move.

Share Cybersecurity Concerns and Empower Your Customers

Another way to increase sales to existing customers is to share cybersecurity concerns: It’s like the 1990s again in that customers are wary about making online purchases from merchants that aren’t verified. You’ll earn loyalty if you can empower your customers to trust you and protect their data. You can easily do this when discussing security in your payment process.

Meet Your Customers Where They Are: How Do They Want to Pay?

Your existing customer base has developing opinions about secure and convenient payments. Did you know that 84% of customers use P2P payment services? If you don’t accept P2P payment services like Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal, the customer might find it easiest to go with your competitor. Most of all, meet your customers where they are (and how they pay). Make things easy for them and continually engage — long after they’re already customers.

Make it easy for them by choosing a payment processing company that does it all.

Key Takeaways

If you want to know how to increase sales and market to your current customers, consider the following:

• Creating a primary, secondary, and tertiary buyer persona

• Collecting data to know your buyer better

• Knowing that changes in content and concern will come

• Personalization is key

• Customers want to be reassured about cybersecurity concerns

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