Firmographics: Understanding A Company’s Personas
It was a B2B marketing nightmare: Sales reps selling investment management software were making cold calls to prospects without knowing how to tailor their sales pitches. Following a classic (and outdated) “find the pain point strategy”, they were boring prospects to death with too many questions and making it clear that they didn’t understand their prospects’ needs let alone a solution best suited to solving their challenges.
The above highlights the importance of firmographics. No, we’re not talking about some kind of fitness program for your abs. Firmographics are to companies as demographics are to individuals. Demographics measures the attributes of individuals (in the B2C world); firmographics: the attributes of an organization (B2B).
Given today’s importance of market segmentation, firmographics are used to create “personas” of the companies you are targeting before you put together your go-to-market plan.
Demographics: Classification based on individual attributes to create individual personas.
Firmographics: Classification based on company or organization attributes to create a company persona.
Firmographics create meaningful market segments
Key attributes collected under firmographics may sound obvious (industry, location, etc.), but don’t take this information for granted. Most may be pretty easy to define, but do it anyway so nothing is left to assumptions.
Because the reality is that the details help you win. We have been known to take business development reps off a campaign, because if you are truly creating the best experience for your customer, then why would you have a smart-witted rep with a heavy Boston accent calling into accounts in the deep south?
Key attributes to consider: Industry, Location, Organization, Number of Employees, Revenue, Decision makers, Customers (of the company, who are they, what are their needs, etc.).
Gathering more granular data is a bigger challenge. Depending on your company size, you can use a variety of resources, from sophisticated online analytic tools to information gathered at events or collected from forms. Examples of granular attributes:
Stage of business: growing or downsizing;
Nature and length of the sales cycle;
When purchasing staff get involved in decisions?
Their busiest season;
Technical ability, comfort level online;
How they use social media;
Sorting, categorizing, customizing
In the case of the investment software company, the technology was sold online, so in order to gather firmographic data, they focused on website visitors: specifically: who was coming to their website (and who was leaving), how long they were staying on specific pages, and why. The data was collected using a tool that identified visitors from Google Analytics, and then filtered leads into various categories depending on where they fit as “persona”.
This gave them much more reliable insight into what solutions these companies were looking for BEFORE approaching them too early in the sales cycle. From there, the leads were sent the right reps who then personalized their sales pitches instead of wasting the prospects’ valuable time and energy.
65 percent of business buyers say that they’d switch brands if a company didn’t make an effort to tailor their offer.”
B2B companies must be more responsive than ever in order to grow, which means you must ensure your prospects that you have taken the time to learn who they are and what they need; and then, provide all the data, studies, pricing, etc. they might need to guide their decision making. It’s not easy to do, but using the power of firmographics, you can at least impress your prospects instead of driving them away!
As a full-service B2B Marketing Agency in Toronto, we have a team that enables businesses to grow. Every marketing dollar is focused on attaining the largest return for each of our clients by ensuring that we match the right customer journey to your business.