Personas – A Product Marker's Gift to Sales – by Laura Patterson

Have you met Helen?  You should, because she is your next new customer. What else do we know about Helen that will help the sales team articulate the benefits of why she would buy a product or service from your company?

To attract new customers, the sales and delivery teams often rely on marketing to create the tools to support the sales process. These sales enablement tools help the sales organization improve their effectiveness at generating revenue and earnings by giving salespeople the right information at the right time to increase their rate of success. One tool more and more organizations are leveraging is buyer personas.

The presentation VisionEdge Marketing has proposed for ProductCamp 7 on August 6th titled, “Personas – A Product Marketer’s Gift to Sales” will show you how to leverage this important sales enablement tool. Buyer Personas are archetypal users that represent the needs of larger groups of customers, in terms of their goals and personal characteristics. Think of them as “stand-ins” for real customers. A buyer persona seeks to zero-in on customer behavior and characteristics. It is a concise description of a specific customer type.  As part of this session learn:

  • The benefits to developing buyer personas.
  • The differences between personas, profiles and roles.
  • How to create personas to provide valuable insight into the motivations and personalities of specific buyers and users.
  • How to use research to develop buyer personas.
  • How to leverage personas to help the sales and delivery teams.

Buyer Persona Example
A persona might begin this way.  Let’s meet Helen:
Helen is a director of sales growing, mid-sized manufacturing company. She’s 32, works long hours often coming in before others and leaving well after the sales team most nights. Helen is single, a competitive runner, and is partial to 80s rock. She drives a new BMW convertible. She struggles with managing a dozen salespeople, many who are 10 to 15 years older than her. Helen wants the company to invest in a new CRM system to replace the contact management they long ago outgrew, but wonders how she’ll convince the company’s CEO and CFO to spend the money.

It’s important not to confuse buyer personas with profiles. A profile contains information about the type of user/buyer relevant to product being offered. Profiles contain general characteristics about your groups of users/buyers. Profiles are the foundation for constructing personas. And while these two concepts seem similar, they are different. Profiles describe types of prospects, customers, or users.
Buyer Personas describe specific people and sound like people you know; they take on a reality that encourages empathy and facilitates thinking from the customer’s perspective. Think of personas as narrative descriptions that bring user profiles to life. Personas present and communicate an alternative representation of user profile data that is easy for the sales team to keep in mind during the buying process. A good persona helps the salesperson recognize and identify with the prospect as people rather than as a collection of facts.

Why Go to Effort to Create Buyer Personas?
Buyer Personas bring customers to life by giving them a name and/or title, personality, and in some instances even a photo. They are an ideal way to help guide decisions about product functionality, design, positioning, messaging, and overall marketing. The purpose of a persona is to identify a customer’s motivations, expectations, and goals. Even though personas like the one about Helen, are fictitious, they are based on knowledge of real customers. A well-crafted persona enables you to stand in your customer’s shoes and take a more customer-centric view.

While they are simple in form and structure, the information they contain is powerful; it can be applied to decisions throughout the sales-enablement process. When well-crafted, personas can help with understanding specific requirements, facilitating alignment, and expediting the sales cycle.

Creating Buyer Personas
It often takes some research to create personas because you want your buyer personas to actually represent the customers rather than reflect internal opinion. In our presentation, we’ll show you how to design you research to identify trends or patterns in user behaviors, expectations, and motivations.

Turning Personas into a Sales-Enablement Tool
Using personas allows you to better focus your sales and marketing training and materials, improving your overall effectiveness. They enable the sales team to identify and communicate customers’ needs efficiently and effectively. These “stand in” customers, based on real customer data, help the sales organization connect and engage with prospects.

This post added by guest blogger Laura Patterson discussing her proposed session for ProductCamp Austin 7. Read more about Laura Patterson.

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