Christine Crandell is 25-year B2B expert in market strategy, driving demand and building successful, profitable organizations. As President of New Business Strategies, she has advised more than 100 client CEOs and Board of Directors in North America, Europe and Australia. We sat down with Christine to find out how she helps her clients understand the buyer's journey. Here's what she had to say.
Kuno: How do you frame the buyer persona development process with your clients?
Christine: We don’t teach customers how to do buyer personas. We focus on helping clients understand their customer’s journey, and we do it in a very different way. We try to teach our clients how to do it themselves. I think that’s our obligation as consultants. Basically, we want to “teach the fisherman how to fish.” That gives us a higher probability of really transforming their business.
Kuno: Can you tell me about your process? How do you introduce buyer persona research to clients?
Christine: I'll give you an example. With Good Technology, we weren’t initially hired to do the customer experience. We were initially retained to help solve the alignment issue. Marketing didn’t get along with sales, and there was a high level of frustration. The CEO finally said “I’ve had enough. Let’s hire a consultant, and you guys are going to learn how to work together.”
Both the CMO and the Head of Sales were very bright people. They weren’t at each other’s throats per se; they were just trying to solve different sets of problems and looking at the world through different sets of lenses.
The CMO had this ‘aha’ moment and said “You know what? The issue here isn’t that we give you crappy leads, it’s that we don’t understand what’s going on with the customer.”
Then the head of sales turned around and said, “It’s not that I have low predictability of my revenue; the problem I have is that I don’t know what’s happening with my customer. I don’t understand the changes that are starting to happen.”
This opens the door for both of them to say “Let’s go understand what’s actually happening within the customer base. Let’s understand what that customer journey actually looks like.”
Kuno: So how did you then execute that plan to help them understand the customer journey?
Christine: We did 30 interviews across North America and Europe. From the interviews, we plotted very detailed steps. What came out of that were two things: It was that ‘aha’ from marketing who were like, “Wow, we didn’t really understand how the journey was actually progressing. Therefore, our lead scoring was way off.” So, by aligning the lead scoring to really focus on the longitudinal behavior of the buyer, they had a really smart lead scoring system in pace.
The second thing marketing had an ‘aha’ in was language. The buyers really wanted a conversation into their vernacular. They wanted language in their vocabulary without all the techy jargon.
On the sales side of the house, we took the journey and put it on this long sheet of paper on which we mapped out all the steps. That became kind of a cheat sheet for the sales guys to go in and figure out where the buyer is and how to enable and empower that buyer to get to that next step.
So people got really smart, and in the end it actually did have an impact on the company strategy.
We're so glad we got to chat with Christine and get a peek into her process. To find out more about her work, visit her company website, New Business Strategies. Stay tuned for future Q&As in this series, including interviews with Abby Kerr and Tami Smith!
Stephanie Kapera is a Strategic Accounts Manager for Kuno Creative and writes about content marketing, buyer persona development and inbound marketing strategy for Brand & Capture. She lives and works in Raleigh, NC.