Derailing the deal, part 1: Wrong buyer profile



Do you ever feel like your deals are heading down the track toward success, but then somehow end up not closing and falling apart? What is happening between point A and point B? What is derailing your deals? In this mini-series, we are going to look at 5 different, yet interdependent, common issues that cause deals to miss the mark:

  1. Wrong Buyer Profile
  2. Unqualified Buyer
  3. Status Quo Wins
  4. Me-Too Positioning & Messaging
  5. No Value Proposition

Wrong Buyer Profile

Do you know the expression “barking up the wrong tree”? Engaging the wrong buying audience is just that—”barking up the wrong tree”, and if you are not careful, it can waste lots of precious marketing and sales resources. A buyer profile is intended to set strategic parameters and provide guidance, and it is up to the judgment of the marketing and sales teams to apply the ideal buyer profile in context of their strategy and tactics. When marketing and sales teams are executing their respective campaign and prospecting activities, it is imperative they do so with a focus on buying audiences that include the following:

  • The audience must have fundamental problems the seller’s solution addresses. The most common mis-step that surfaces in buyer profiling for marketing and sales teams is the ineffective use (or lack) of a buying organization profile. The organizational profile is intended to represent a collection of characteristics that would likely be present in an organization faced with the fundamental problem the seller can solve. These characteristics include key demographic data, (e.g. industry, size, geographic region) as well as markers within publicly-available information about this organization (e.g. SEC documents, press releases, articles in the local business journal) that convey symptoms of the root-cause problem. Marketing and sales teams can leverage these characteristics to build a universe of organizations that should be the target of their campaigns and prospecting initiatives.
  • The organization should have a problem that is big and bad enough to address. Based on market research and insights gleaned from having solved the problem for similar organizations/personas, you are confident this organization — and this buyer in particular — is embattled with many of the same underlying challenges and issues. If not, they will likely not be compelled to engage in any “problem solving” activities. For example, an organization that distributes an email newsletter once a quarter is likely satisfied with a service like Constant Contact. Attempting to sell them a multi-million dollar marketing automation system with all the bells and whistles would probably fall on deaf ears, and constitute a mis-placed use of limited go-to-market resources.
  • The buying persona(s) you are engaging must have the authority to take action. We will get into qualification a little later in this mini-series, but at this point, it is about identifying prospective decision makers, stakeholders and influencers whom you would expect to have the clout to help their organization make a course correction. If you are marketing a solution that would likely require final approval by the Senior Vice President of Operations, and continue to find the “buyers” in the room to whom you are proposing a solution are IT system administrators, you need to reexamine not only your qualification process, but more critically your buyer profile.

Keep your deals on track by making sure your prospective buyers have these three characteristics, and you will save your team valuable time, energy and resources.