How Leading CMOs Develop a Strong Messaging Architecture

15 Oct 20

The difference between connecting with a prospect and losing a deal is sometimes all in the wording. A tactical messaging architecture provides a critical tool to the sales team to deliver a message that resonates with the prospects.

You are to the point where you have built the ideal go-to-market strategy, completed a thorough buyer segmentation, and you even pulled together a Rockstar sales playbook. You have clearly defined buyer personas and even a well-defined buyer’s journey. You are doing everything right, but you are just not resonating with your prospects. Maybe it’s time to start looking at your messaging architecture.

We have all been there. Listening to those Gong recordings of our sales team fumbling through a sales call where they are just not connecting with the prospect.  It could feel like an awkward date or one of those Ben Stiller movies where you can’t help but cringe! The good news is that you have already done all the hard work. You have laid out the buyer’s core needs, emotional benefits, pain points, and value drivers as part of the buyer persona card development. Like most sales and marketing organizations, you likely use either a product feature centric or generalized messaging across all personas. If you are a little more advanced, you are using messaging tailored to each persona's core needs. To be a best-in-class organization, let’s take a look at establishing a messaging architecture.

What Is a Messaging Architecture?

A messaging architecture or messaging framework consists of well-structured terms, phrases, or statements arranged by role or hierarchy to convey an organization’s product or corporate messaging priorities. It helps your sales and marketing organization deliver consistent messages in all types of content and across all levels of customers.

A messaging architecture is a structure of messaging for each persona that allows us to ladder up and down depending on the level of the prospect (End-user, Management, Executive, etc.). A great messaging architecture has several key points.

Each point on the message architecture should:

  • Address a core need for a given persona
  • Contain a physical or emotional benefit to each level within the persona
  • Outline key objections and your responses to those objections
  • Include supporting proof points for your responses (case studies, research, etc.)

The Importance of a Strong Messaging Architecture

You have spent a lot of time developing personas that inform who to talk to, their needs, what challenges they face, and what their value drivers are. It is equally important to clearly articulate a message that will meet those needs, satisfy a pain point, or deliver on value. Think of it as a great pick-up line for that awkward date we talked about earlier!

Develop a Best-in-Class Messaging Architecture

Developing a strong messaging architecture does not have to be difficult. The best way to start is first to ground yourself. Do you want to tie into corporate messaging or product-level messaging? We’ll talk you through both formats. When it comes to demand gen and lead management, nine times out of ten, you’ll want your sales team focused on product-level messaging.

Product level messaging allows you to directly tie the prospect's emotional or physical benefits back to the core needs that your product is trying to satisfy. To do this, we first list the three or four biggest core needs that our product is satisfying. Under each of these, we outline our key personas and the various levels under each persona to build specific messaging at each level. Think of this as a decision tree-like format. The beauty behind this tool is that we can ladder up and down or move sideways to customize our approach for various personas and levels within the personas.  

Conversely, you can ground your architecture to corporate brand messaging. You likely have already created a brand architecture and value story through your branding efforts, but where this differs from product level is that we lead off with the persona and move right into specific messaging at each level. This allows us to communicate the brand value and positioning to the various levels within your target persona. This becomes incredibly relevant when we address website messaging, blog posts, campaigns, etc. This also applies heavily to service-based companies who rely on their corporate brand identity more so than leading off with a “traditional” product.

Crafting the Message for Each Role Within a Persona

As a best practice, when we look at each level within the persona, we want to create a short message card or cheat sheet for our sales team. This folds perfectly into your sales playbook! You already have the components you need for this; it’s just a matter of organizing it into the following format. You will want to create one of these cards for each level within each persona. The message card should include:

  1. What is the Persona?
  2. What is the level within the persona?
  3. What is the core needs or pain point that you are trying to address?
  4. What is the physical or emotional benefit your product provides to meet this need?
  5. What would be their biggest objection(s)?
  6. What is your response to those objections?
  7. What are your supporting points or proof points (Blog posts, White paper, presentation, etc.)

How Do We Apply Our New Messaging Architecture?

Once we have created specific messaging, across the various levels of each persona, the marketing team can begin crafting content (website, blog posts, etc.) and campaigns to reflect these messages. At the same time, sales can develop their sales/elevator pitches, value stories, letters, emails, presentations, and proposals that support the messaging architecture.

With a well-structured messaging architecture in place, your sales reps will connect on a new level with their prospects, one that will have them all ears.

If you found value in this article, be sure to check out “The 4 Pillars of Flawless Marketing and Sales Alignment.”

If you need help talking through your messaging architecture or any part of the buyer segmentation process, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


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