Marketing and Sales Leaders Must Build Capabilities To Understand New Target Buyer Personas
The roles of marketing and sales professionals have changed quite a bit in the last decade. They are about to undergo even further change and transformation in this decade and beyond. One core competency that has become a must-have for marketers and sellers is having the capabilities to truly understand buyers. One way to build this important core competency is through target buyer personas.
A prerequisite for any organization is the desire and commitment to understanding buyers must already be part of its DNA. You often hear about superior athletes, dancers, musicians, and artists having a mindset whereby they “live, breathe, and have a desire to be great” in their chosen passion. This type of mindset must already be present within the halls of organizations to truly understand buyers. Without it, understanding buyers run the risk of being put on the shelf as an item “we will get to later” as one marketing leader remarked to me years ago. I sure hope he thinks differently now.
If a commitment to truly understanding buyers is part of your company’s DNA and cultural fabric, there are several ways you can make this commitment a reality:
1 – Ongoing Buyer Insights Research
Such a commitment involves conducting ongoing buyer insights research. Research that yields deep buyer insights and is characteristic of leading to meaningful buyer personas. Qualitative-oriented research can often be hard and there is a tendency to put it off. The pay-off, however, is significant given the continuous shifting of buyer goals and behaviors.
2 – Buyer Insights Management
Far too often, organizations can treat buyer insights and buyer personas as checklist items for content production. You can prevent this by developing a dedicated focus on Buyer Insights Management. Where there is a collective capability to gather quantitative and qualitative insights that lead to a true understanding of buyers and buying centers.
3 – Buyer Persona Expertise
Buyer personas were developed with the intent to instill a common understanding and language about buyers. They become an important language and source of knowledge for your marketers and sellers to understand buyer goals and issues. In the realm of marketing and sales, researching and identifying target buyer personas is essential and an ongoing process.
4 – Onboarding
A frequently missed opportunity to instill a Buyer Mindset with new talent is at the onboarding phase. Recently, I was able to look at a 2-week onboarding process and schedule for a Fortune 100 organization. Buried deep into the schedule at about the 11th day was a 30-minute session on “who are our customers.” Considerably more time should be devoted to onboard new talent with knowledge about your company’s buyers and customers. Especially for buyer and customer-facing positions, a thorough review of your organization’s target buyer personas can go a long way in quickening their ramp-up time.
5 – Enablement
In the last decade, we have seen significant growth in sales enablement. It is great to see a movement towards broadening the concept of enablement beyond just sales. I resonated much with a recent post by Scott Santucci, the founder of the Sales Enablement Society. Santucci pointed out that, for 20 years, the friction between sales and marketing has led to too much focus on operational and activity-based metrics. I wholeheartedly agree. We see marketers and sellers more worried about how they can tally up these types of metrics as opposed to truly understanding buyers.
For your marketers and sellers to succeed in a variety of initiatives, such as ABM or ABX, you can develop consistency in your teams’ performance by enabling a true understanding of target buyer personas. Without such understanding, the chances for success can seem insurmountable.