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How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Persona Template]

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How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Persona Template]

Marketing Margie. Sales Sam. IT Isabel. Accounting Alan.

Do you know who your business’s buyer personas are? And if so, how much do you know about them?

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research. They help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers, and align all work across your organization (from marketing to sales to service).

As a result, you’ll be able to attract high-value visitors, leads, and customers to your business who you’ll be more likely to retain over time.

More specifically, having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.

“Okay, so personas are really important to my business. But … how do I actually make one?”

Ahh … the million-dollar question. The good news is, they aren’t that difficult to create. It’s all about how you obtain your market research and customer data, and then present that information within your business.

Follow along with this guide and download these persona templates to simplify this process. Before you know it, you’ll have complete, well-planned buyer personas to show off to your entire company!

Before we dive into the buyer persona-creation process, let’s pause to understand the impact of well-developed buyer personas on your business (most specifically, your marketing efforts).

Why exactly are buyer personas so important to your business?

Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to meet the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of the members of your target audience.

Use HubSpot persona templates to easily organize your audience segments and make your marketing stronger

For example, you may know your target buyers are caregivers, but do you know what their specific needs and interests are? What is the typical background of your ideal buyer? In order to get a full understanding of what makes your best customers tick, it’s critical to develop detailed personas for your business.

The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.).

Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. But if you’re new to personas, start small — you can always develop more personas later if needed.

What about “negative” buyer personas?

While a buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer, a negative — or “exclusionary” — persona is a representation of who you dont want as a customer.

For example, this could include professionals who are too advanced for your product or service, students who are only engaging with your content for research/ knowledge, or potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire (because of a low average sale price, their propensity to churn, or their unlikeliness to purchase again from your company).

How can buyer personas be used in marketing?

At the most basic level, developing personas allows you to create content and messaging that appeals to your target audience. It also enables you to target or personalize your marketing for different segments of your audience.

For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging to what you know about those different personas.

Furthermore, when combined with lifecycle stage (i.e. how far along someone is in your sales cycle), buyer personas also allow you to map out and create highly targeted content. (You can learn more about how to do that by downloading our Content Mapping Template.)

And if you take the time to also create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer — and, therefore, see higher sales productivity.

Different Types of Buyer Personas

While beginning work on your personas, you may ask yourself, “What are the different types of buyer personas?” From there, it’d be simple to adjust one for your business — right? 

Well, that’s not exactly how it works — there isn’t a set list of universally-recognized buyer personas to choose from, nor is there a standard for the number of personas you need. This is because each business (no matter how many competitors they have) is unique — and for that reason, their buyer personas should be unique to them, too.

For these reasons, identifying and creating your different buyer personas can, at times, be slightly challenging. This is why we recommend using HubSpot’s Make My Persona generator (as well as HubSpot’s persona templates) to simplify the process of creating different personas. 

In general, companies may have the same, or similar, categories for their buyer personas (e.g. a marketer, an HR rep, an IT manager, etc.). But the different personas your business has and the number of them your business requires will be tailored to who your target audience includes and what you offer your customers.

Now, are you ready to start creating your buyer personas?

How to Create Buyer Personas

Buyer personas can be created through research, surveys, and interviews — all with a mix of customers, prospects, and those outside your contacts database who might align with your target audience.

Here are some practical methods for gathering the information you need to develop personas:

  • Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.

  • Use form fields that capture important persona information when creating forms to use on your website. For example, if all of your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms.

  • Consider your sales team’s feedback on the leads they’re interacting with most. What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?

  • Interview customers and prospects to discover what they like about your product or service.

Now, how can you use the above research to create your personas?

Once you’ve gone through the research process, you’ll have a lot of meaty, raw data about your potential and current customers. But what do you do with it? How do you distill all of it so it’s easy for everyone to understand all the information you’ve gathered?

The next step is to use your research to identify patterns and commonalities from the answers to your interview questions, develop at least one primary persona, and share that persona with the rest of the company.

Use our free, downloadable persona template to organize the information you’ve gathered about your persona(s). Then share these slides with the rest of your company so everyone can benefit from the research you’ve done and develop an in-depth understanding of the person (or people) they’re targeting every day at work.

Here’s how to work through the steps involved in creating your buyer personas in more detail. 

1. Fill in your persona’s basic demographic information.

Ask demographic-based questions over the phone, in person, or through online surveys. (Some people are more comfortable disclosing personal information like this.)

It’s also helpful to include some descriptive buzzwords and mannerisms of your persona that you may have picked up on during your conversations to make it easier for people on your team to identify certain personas when they’re talking to prospects.

Here’s an example of how you might complete Section 1 in your template for one of your personas:

buyer persona demographic

Download this Template

2. Share what you’ve learned about your persona’s motivations.

This is where you’ll distill the information you learned from asking “why” during those interviews. What keeps your persona up at night? Who do they want to be? Most importantly, tie that all together by telling people how your company can help them.

buyer persona motivations

Download this Template

3. Help your sales team prepare for conversations with your persona.

Include some real quotes from your interviews that exemplify what your personas are concerned about, who they are, and what they want. Then create a list of the objections they might raise so your sales team is prepared to address those during their conversations with prospects.

buyer persona research

Download this Template

4. Craft messaging for your persona.

Tell people how to talk about your products/ services with your persona. This includes the nitty-gritty vernacular you should use, as well as a more general elevator pitch that positions your solution in a way that resonates with your persona.

This will help you ensure everyone in your company is speaking the same language when they’re having conversations with leads and customers.

buyer persona messaging

Download this Template

Finally, make sure you give your persona a name (e.g. Finance Manager Margie, IT Ian, or Landscaper Larry) so everyone internally refers to each persona the same way, allowing for cross-team consistency.

How to Find Interviewees for Researching Buyer Personas

One of the most critical steps to establishing your buyer persona(s) is finding some people to speak with to suss out, well, who your buyer persona is.

That means you’ll have to conduct some interviews to get to know what drives your target audience. But how do you find those interviewees? There are a few sources you should tap into:

1. Use your current customers.

Your existing customer base is the perfect place to start with your interviews because they’ve already purchased your product and engaged with your company. At least some of them are likely to exemplify your target persona(s).

Don’t just talk to people who love your product and want to spend an hour gushing about you (as good as that feels). Customers who are unhappy with your product will show other patterns that will help you form a solid understanding of your personas.

For example, you might find that some of your less happy customers have bigger teams and need greater collaboration functionality from your product. Or, you may find they find your product too technical and difficult to use. In both cases, you learn something about your product and what your customers’ challenges are.

Another benefit to interviewing current customers is that you may not need to offer them an incentive (e.g. gift card) to do so. Customers often like being heard — interviewing them gives them a chance to tell you about their world, their challenges, and what they think of your product.

Customers also like to have an impact on the products they use. So, as you involve them in interviews like this, you may find they become even more loyal to your company. When you reach out to customers, be clear that your goal is to get their feedback, and that their feedback is highly-valued by your team.

2. Use your prospects.

Be sure to interview people who have not purchased your product and don’t know much about your brand, too. Your current prospects and leads are a great option here because you already have their contact information.

Use the data you do have about them (i.e. anything you’ve collected through lead generation forms or website analytics) to figure out who might fit into your target personas.

3. Use your referrals.

You’ll probably also need to rely on some referrals to talk to people who may fit into your target personas, particularly if you’re heading into new markets or don’t have any leads or customers yet.

Use your network — such as your coworkers, existing customers, social media contacts — to find people you’d like to interview and be introduced to. It may be tough to get a large volume of people this way, but you’ll likely get some very high-quality interviews out of it.

If you don’t know where to start, try searching on LinkedIn for people who may fit into your target personas and see which results have any connections in common with you. Then, reach out to your common connections for introductions.

4. Use third-party networks.

For interviewees who are completely removed from your company, there are a few third-party networks you can recruit from. Craigslist allows you to post ads for people interested in any kind of job and UserTesting.com allows you to run remote user testing (with some follow-up questions).

You’ll have less control over sessions run through UserTesting.com, but it’s a great resource for quick user testing recruiting.

Now that how to identity interviewees, let’s look at some tips for recruiting them.

Tips for Recruiting Interviewees

As you reach out to potential interviewees, here are a few ideas to improve your response rates.

1. Use incentives.

While you may not need them in all scenarios (e.g. customers who already want to talk to you), incentives give people a reason to participate in an interview if they don’t have a relationship with you. A simple gift card is an easy option.

2. Be clear that this isn’t a sales call.

This is especially important when dealing with non-customers. Be clear that you’re doing research and that you just want to learn from them. You are not getting them to commit to a one-hour sales call; you’re getting them to commit to telling you about their lives, jobs, and challenges.

3. Make it easy to say yes.

Take care of everything for your potential interviewee — suggest times but be flexible, allow them to pick a time right off the bat, and send a calendar invitation with a reminder to block off their time.

4. Decide how many people you need to interview.

Unfortunately, the answer is, it depends. Start with at least three-to-five interviews for each persona you’re creating. If you already know a lot about your persona, then that may be enough. You may need to do multiple interviews in each category of interviewees (customers, prospects, people who don’t know your company).

The rule of thumb is when you start accurately predicting what your interviewee is going to say, it’s probably time to stop. Through these interviews, you’ll naturally start to notice patterns.

Once you start expecting and predicting what your interviewee is going to say, that means you’ve interviewed enough people to find and internalize these patterns.

5. Determine which questions you’ll ask interviewees.

It’s time to conduct the interview! After the normal small talk and thank-you’s, it’s time to jump into your questions. There are several categories of questions you’ll want to ask in persona interviews to create a complete persona profile.

20 Questions to Ask in Persona Interviews

The following questions are organized into eight categories, but, feel free to customize this list and remove or add more questions that may be appropriate for your target customers.

1. Role Questions
  • What is your job role? Your title?
  • How is your job measured?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What skills are required to do your job?
  • What knowledge and tools do you use in your job?
  • Who do you report to? Who reports to you?
2. Company Questions
  • In which industry or industries does your company work?

  • What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?
3. Goal Questions
  • What are you responsible for?
  • What does it mean to be successful in your role?
4. Challenge Question
  • What are your biggest challenges?
5. Watering Hole Questions
  • How do you learn about new information for your job?
  • What publications or blogs do you read?
  • What associations and social networks do you participate in?
6. Personal Background Questions
  • Describe your personal demographics (if possible, ask their age, whether they’re married, and if they have children).
  • Describe your educational background. What level of education did you complete, which schools did you attend, and what did you study?
  • Describe your career path. How did you end up where you are today?
7. Shopping Preference Questions
  • How do you prefer to interact with vendors (e.g. email, phone, in person)?
  • Do you use the internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you search for information?
  • Describe a recent purchase. Why did you consider a purchase, what was the evaluation process, and how did you decide to purchase that product or service?
8. The “Why?” Question

This is the number one tip for a successful persona interview.

The follow-up question to pretty much every question in the above list should be “why?” Through these interviews, you’re trying to understand your customers’ (or potential customers’) goals, behaviors, and motivators. But keep in mind that people aren’t always great at reflecting on their behaviors to tell you what drives them at their core.

You don’t care that they measure the number of visits to their website, for example. What you care about is that they measure these visits as a way to show their higher-ups that they’re doing a good job.

Start with a simple question — for instance, “What is your biggest challenge?” Then spend a good amount of time diving deeper into that one question to learn more about that person. You learn more by asking, “why?” than more superficial questions.

 

Buyer Persona Examples

Let’s go over some examples of completed buyer personas to get a better understanding of what they look like. 

B2B Buyer Persona Example

The image below is a B2B buyer persona for someone who works in HR. The persona paints a clear picture of the target customer’s struggles and how the business can best meet those needs which, in this case, is HR recruiting tools that streamline processes, make recruiting easier, and help HR expertly manage their overall job duties. 

b2b buyer persona example

B2C Buyer Persona Example

The image below is a B2C buyer persona for a music streaming service. 

buyer persona examples: b2c buyer persona

Based on this persona, a streaming service would want to ensure that it has a mobile app that is user-friendly, sends new music notifications, and makes it easy for users to discover new music related to their interests and share content with friends.

Create Your Buyer Personas

Create your buyer personas to understand your target customers on a deeper level and ensure everyone on your team knows how to best target, support, and work with your customers. This will help you improve reach, boost conversions, and increase loyalty. 

And if you’re a HubSpot customer, add your persona to your HubSpot Marketing Platform by following this step-by-step setup guide.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Blog - Buyer Persona Template [Updated]


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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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