Where are your Buyer Personas?


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Here, there and everywhere you’ve heard about buyer personas. Advances in marketing automation makes accurately identifying buyer habits and preferences simple. Knowing these customer attributes is now table stakes. Chances are your organization has invested in them. They were either created internally or with the help of a third party.

Those personas are costing you. Every day they go unused and unleveraged is a day of missed opportunity. But they can still be salvaged.

As an exercise, identify your team member responsible for buyer personas. Chances are they are in marketing, or may be in training and development. Send them the following email:

Dear Jane,

Where are we on this 5 point scale?


Brace yourself for the response. Then, begin working to ensure next month your personas are everywhere. No matter where you are on the scale today, moving to #5 is critical. Download the Persona Adoption Guide to improve adoption of these valuable resources. It gives indicators of where you are on the scale. It then gives best practices for jumping to #5 from wherever you are.

We’ve seen clients at each point on the scale. Being anywhere but at #5 can be painful in different ways.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at the 5 Point Scale:

0-      What are personas? If your team does not have personas, you are behind. Chances are each of your competitors does. Customer intimacy scores tend to be low. Churn has probably increased in the last 2 years.

1-      They’re sitting on my shelf. An investment has been made. Someone authorized it. And yet it has become shelf-ware. It’s the Scarlet Letter of sales initiatives. No one wants to be responsible for the dust collector.

2-      They’re sitting in each rep’s drawer. This feels like progress, but it’s one of the more painful places to be. Not only has money been invested, but also hours of sales rep time. They might have gotten on the webinar when the personas were rolled out. Got excited and actually printed one out with the hopes of leveraging it. But with no coaching or certification it’s now just keeping the paperweight busy.

3-      They’re sitting in each rep and executive’s drawer. Now this is progress. Buyer personas need to be at the fingertips of each sales team member. That includes you. But how much interaction with the field is done from your desk? It hurts when you miss a coaching opportunity while out in the field.

4-      They’re downloaded on each sales team member’s mobile device. This is a leading indicator of a sales force positioned to succeed today. It indicates a mobile sales force with sales leadership that supports the field. It can still become shelf-ware, though. It’s much harder to sweep your virtual shelf-ware under the rug. Literally.

5-      They’re everywhere. This is where your team must be.To leverage personas is to live personas. Your team lives on their phones and tablets. They live in sales meetings and sales calls. Your personas must be present when interacting with clients. They have to be reinforced in coaching calls. They should be found in your CRM and at the water cooler.  


The Disconnect

Personas are often created in a vacuum. Like all sales initiatives, persona work should be reinforced through a sales enablement process. One goal of a sales enablement process is collaboration between departments. It brings together the efforts of product management, marketing and sales to grow revenue. Sales Operations must own the sales enablement process. The door is still open for re-introducing and driving adoption of your buyer personas. Begin by downloading the Persona Adoption Guide to ensure your buyer personas are everywhere.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Kearney
John Kearney serves as Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets. John has helped organizations implement Talent Development and Sales Process programs that have led to revenue growth of 20% and increased efficiencies within the sales team.


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