By Dan Dulik, Director, Product Marketing, CDK Global/Elead
We live in a time of highly personal communications. Spraying generic messages is a waste of time and money. With little to no value to the majority of recipients, messages are ignored or deleted. How can you make your communications more personal and relevant so people actually engage with you? Create buyer personas for your dealership.
A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. Personas are fictional but based on research of your existing desired audience. You might also hear it referred to as a customer persona or audience persona.
Buyer personas serve several purposes that will help in your marketing activities. They keep your team focused on your buyer’s needs, not your dealership needs. They can also help you uncover challenges or issues that are keeping potential customers from buying a vehicle. For example, certain customers may need more help navigating the financing process. Others may need help narrowing down vehicle choices to meet a particular need, such as the most fuel-efficient cars or the best choice for a family of six.
Finally, buyer personas can help you create messaging that will resonate with a particular group increasing the odds of interaction. When you build a strategy based on helping people meet their goals or solve their problems, you’ll build a better bond with the customer and begin that long-term relationship.
With the right messaging and the right CRM software, you will ultimately be able to send the right message to the right person through the right channel – and that’s the holy grail.
Let’s look at how your CRM system can help you begin to create buyer personas. Using an integrated data mining tool, you can search, for example, by spending patterns. Generate a list of customers who routinely move up into a newer vehicle every three years. Group them together as a basis for personas. For example, say you identify this core customer group as in their 40s, professionally successful, with no kids. Your buyer persona might be “Single Sally.”
Another persona could be based on customer life stage. Mine your database for people who bought minivans or large family vehicles. You identify this core customer group as in their 30s, in the thick of family life, likely prioritizing vehicle safety and good gas mileage. Your buyer persona may be “Family-First Fred.”
Once you have personas, you can target or personalize marketing for different segments of your audience. So instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging to what you know about different personas.
Furthermore, when combined with shopping intelligence tools through your CRM, buyer personas allow you to map out and create highly targeted communications. Shopping intelligence tools drop a ‘cookie’ on visitors to your dealership website so you can track, record, and analyze customers’ online shopping behavior and tie it all back to customer records in your CRM. Email alerts flag when a customer is on your website, a competitor’s site, or a third-party research site. This empowers salespeople to use buyer personas to craft the right message and then reach out at exactly the right time with exactly the right information for that customer.
It’s worth noting that communication channel matters – a lot. Try sending an email to a recent college graduate and see how long it takes to get a reply (if you ever get one). On the other hand, send a text and you’ll get a reply in seconds if your initial text was relevant and personal. Always ask customers how they want to be contacted and follow their wishes.
One last point concerns the notes field in your CRM. Typically, salespeople write brief, cryptic notes. You don’t have to write a novel, but details are helpful for assigning personas. For example, how do you know anything about the customer if the note field simply says, “Left VM.” What was the goal of the call? Why isn’t the customer taking the next step? What information do they need to decide and how are you helping with that? These details should be in the notes.
Buyer personas are a powerful tool that can certainly help you tailor messages and better communicate with leads through highly relevant and personal interactions. Utilize your CRM and integrated tools to their fullest extent to help you create personas and activate effective messages to close more deals.