FACT: Every business needs buyer personas. Unfortunately, not every business has a buyer persona - 50% don't have one.
A great place to start when doing a buyer persona is doing a brand audit. Do a quick assessment of your label price points, tasting room aesthetics, where do people live that would enjoy these products most, anything that defines your brand. For example, if you have classic labels on Napa Cabernet you can assume this will appeal to baby boomers with high disposable income. You need to go to where these baby boomers live, like Newton, MA or Darien, Connecticut.
Now - do a quick search of which restaurants and bottle shops are in those targeted areas. If you find steakhouses that have similar products to yours, then those wine buyers are going to be really good prospects for you to socialite. Make a buyer persona for Stan's Steakhouse (Steakhouse Sam) and ask yourself - how can I make Steakhouse Sam's life better by supplying him with product. Can I help him generate revenue? What does Steakhouse Sam need from me in order to be successful?
Then create a pitch about him, not about you.
Trouble with Wine Sales?
When sales prospecting its more important then ever to know exactly who your target buyer is. Wineries generally do not have a lot of resources available to them so it is important to create high impact with the lowest amount of effort when creating sales in house.
Before selling any wine the most important concept to understand is exactly who you are pitching to. Make sure your wine is going to the person most likely to buy it: Are you making high end, premium, one of a kind, small lot wine? Do you deal in bulk juice? Is this a shiner project? Figure out your niche. Each of these commodities command a certain buyer persona and price, so make sure you are prospecting the right buyer persona to begin with. A wine bar in high-end Marin County wants something that commands scores, a fantastic winemaker, etc. At a Bevmo, you can sell your bulk juice/ private label projects to. Whatever it may be, focus your efforts towards the buyer persona who is most likely going to buy your unique product.
Buyer personas are fictional caricatures of your ideal customers. Personas help you in marketing your products and services. Its a method to see your customers in a more intimate light, and think about how they live...this gives you a better idea of how to market your product towards them. Knowing who you are selling too allows you to tailor the messaging, propositions, and sales towards a defined audience, which makes it more likely to be effective.
Think of it like this, having a buyer persona is check and balance for all your decision making - and the reason I say that is because it is for ourselves here at Merchant23. Liquor Store Larry is our buyer persona for (surprise!) liquor stores. Everything we do here at M23 is geared towards Larry - how to add value, how to make his life easier, eliminate his pain points, help him become more profitable, protect him from competition - which in turn makes him more likely to engage in business with us.
Here is a sample of what a buyer persona template looks like to get you started. This is a reference to better help you understand.
Credit to Single Grain for the image
While the buyer persona is fictional, it does give your team a good idea of where to begin when creating marketing campaigns, cold calling, or anything that relates to messaging your buyers. Most importantly, however, is how it will allow personal across all departments to share the same goal. The marketing and sales arms of a company should both be aligned with one another - one needs to feed into the other in a constant feedback loop. Having uniform criteria for all departments to adhere to makes marketing messaging to clients much more cohesive, which in turn makes you more efficient.
2) More efficiency = more money
CSO Insight's “2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study" has findings that point out only 50% of organizations have defined their respective buyer persona. That means 50% of organizations are run sub-optimally...which means they are not maximizing profit! Lets look at it from another angle. See what John Sneer wrote in Forbes:
"If you start building your brand before getting to know your customers, you’re probably going to have to go back and make costly, time-consuming changes that could have been avoided if you had created and referenced your buyer personas."
Having a buyer persona lined out will save you money, because you will have a clearly defined target for your company to work towards impressing.
3) Double the success
Emma Brudner states in the article “What's a Qualified Lead? Depends on Who You Ask [Data]” that:
“The research shows that only 34% of companies with no formal definition were able advance a lead to a first discussion more than half of the time. This percentage jumped to 63% when considering companies with clear definitions. Bottom line: Organizations that formally define the term "qualified lead" connect with prospects more often.”
The data is undeniable. Having a buyer persona makes it more likely that prospects are going to advance down your sales pipeline. As a winery you want to offer your buyer persona something that helps their business, and gives them value, and they will oblige you with lucrative profits. Think symbiosis.
We have including a link to a great buyer persona template. Make this an exercise that your whole team takes part in. That will get all departments aligned and make it easier to focus in on the best opportunities for your brand.
4) Increased Retention Rate
Selling your product to the right person also has the benefit that said person is going to not only enjoy your product, but want to keep re-ordering it. You have exactly what they want, continue to give it to them!
Don’t make the mistake that once that purchase order is put in that your work is complete - this is proof of value added. Continue to cultivate a symbiotic relationship with your purchaser and you will forge life long customers to your product and brand. They are your ideal customer, continue to nurture them. Most wineries only need a hand full of retail buyers to achieve annual depletion success! 10 calls a day, every day, for 90 days, if followed up properly, can achieve massive compounding success for your brand.
Time is of the essence my friend - the faster you can segment the market into qualified buyers the faster you can send them offers, the faster you generate purchase orders, the faster you can do it again. Winery direct sales are growing, this is an opportune moment in time, take advantage of it!
To conclude, we have included this data graph to help give you a better idea of what the layout of the industry looks like - what age wine drinkers are, which state makes the most wine, and much more.
A message from our founder:
We really want to build the best product for the wine and spirits industry - to do this, we need your help. We would like to talk to you, if you have 5 minutes to spare, we would love to show you a personal tutorial of our system, share some best practices, and also, take some time to understand your pain points and frustrations, so we can implement them into our software experience. We hope to hear from you, thanks in advance.