Your B2B buyer personas form the foundation of your inbound marketing strategies. Without them, it's impossible to develop content and campaigns that speak to your customer's needs and connect with them on an emotional level. If you already have robust buyer personas created for your most important market segments and you regularly update them, you're ahead of the pack.
On the other hand, if you've been using the same personas for a while, it might be time to make sure they haven't grown stale. Here are seven signs that it’s time to update your B2B buyer personas.
1. Low or Declining Conversion Rates
If you're still getting a steady stream of traffic to your websites and landing pages, then it's likely that your SEO and other inbound outreach methods are working. But if your conversions start to drop off over time or were never high enough to begin with, it could point to a problem with your buyer personas.
2. Long Conversion Time
Good buyer personas can reduce lead conversion time by 72 percent. When you’re targeting the right people, your products and services should be an ideal match for solving their problems. If you have to spend a great deal of time nurturing and convincing people that you're the right choice, it's possible you're not targeting the right group.
3. Too Many Unqualified Leads
The only time a huge number of leads is unwelcome is if they are not qualified. Poor leads consume resources and take attention away from your best customers. If you're not targeting the right set of people, you might drum up a lot of attention only to get a few sales.
4. Persona Divide
As you make sales and learn more about your buyers, you may realize that your original buyer persona is much more nuanced than you originally thought. For example, if you find your solution is attracting prospects from two very different industries and you're finding it difficult to segment them, or if you're struggling for neutral language that covers both industries, it might be time to create separate and complete buyer personas for each distinct segment of your audience.
5. Declining Organic Results
When you're successfully targeting your prospects with a strong inbound campaign, your organic search results should naturally increase. Even in the most competitive spaces, gains should be made fairly consistently if you've identified the right people and proven that you understand their problems.
If your organic traffic numbers falling, you may not be pursuing the right keywords or your content may not be aligned as well as it could be. By refining your buyer personas and taking another look at the language your target audience uses and the nuances of their problems, you'll see your organic traffic begin to right itself.
6. Industry Trends and Shifts
When major shifts occur in any industry, it's only a matter of time before your ideal market segments also start to shift. These shifts can result from economic factors, technology breakthroughs and even aging populations.
For example, staying out of politics is usually a good idea, but political events can still affect industry behavior, and your marketing should reflect that. If rising interest rates or potential tax breaks are making headlines, you may want to revisit your buyer personas to find out whether these developments are affecting their pain points.
7. Change of Business Goals
Whether it’s a sparkling new rebranding or a change in your company's offerings, whenever significant changes happen on the inside, you should consider all the ways it will affect your potential buyers. Have your ideal buyers shifted with you? Will your current personas still be a match? Has a new competitor started gaining ground with your target prospects?
Fresh is Best
Even if your personas have performed fairly well and seem reliable, that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. If it's been even a year since you've re-evaluated your current buyer personas, that's reason enough to take a second look. When your buyer personas are fresh and on point, you'll find more success in your inbound efforts — and your bottom line.