If you want to start an interesting debate with a bunch of B2B marketing, sales and product folks, ask them what they think of the saying, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.” With all the time and attention spent on what happens before anybody buys, it’s no surprise that there’s often not much energy left to do a great job after a buyer becomes a customer.
This view is changing as companies recognize that holding onto more of the business they have is a profitable growth strategy, and that marketing can be part of the solution. Personas, which many marketers are building or have built, are a perfect example of a tool that can easily be extended, with a few minor adjustments, to help post-purchase.
If you’ve recently been involved in building a B2B persona, I’m willing to bet that very little time was spent on defining what matters to the persona after it buys. The thing is, when an account has actually bought something, all the people in the account have just made a big change in their relationship with you. They’ve become customers, which means they have new and different interests and options that need attention. Those contacts and accounts will (hopefully) spend a lot more time being customers than they did being buyers, so it makes sense to revisit their needs and preferences after the sale and as the relationship evolves.
How do you enhance a B2B persona to reflect the post-purchase lifecycle? The same way you define a buyer’s attributes, but this time with the customer perspective. Here are a few elements to consider: