In today’s sales environment, you’re increasingly likely to deal with multiple people who partake in the decision-making process. This is especially true for complex B2B sales involving organizations of any significant size. Given those circumstances, you need to understand the motivations, needs, desires, and situations of everyone involved in the buying process. The most efficient way to ensure you are prepared is through buyer personas.
Buyer Personas Defined
A buyer persona represents the ideal people to seek out as potential customers. Typically, this looks at things like job titles, customer priorities, goals, challenges, preferences, etc.
Most of the time these buyer personas are imaginary – describing the general characteristics and traits of the types of people you deal with in your target markets.
Why use buyer personas?
They ensure you are prepared to engage in the right dialogue with your buyers & influencers.
As an example, let’s say you’ve determined that there’s three primary buyer personas in your market – Buyer Persona A, Buyer Persona B, and Buyer Persona C. You’re in the prospecting phase and realize the prospect you’re communicating with is Buyer Persona B. You’ll be able to have the right conversation around their needs, desires, and goals. You’ll know what to avoid as well as how they like to connect.
That’s in a 1-on-1 situation. What about 1-on-multiple, as is common in present-day B2B sales environments? Good question. Let’s look at a hypothetical example:
You’re a sales rep for a manufacturer called Ninja Computers and Hardware. You’re trying to land a contract to be the sole computer supplier to Pirate College, a small, private liberal arts university on the West Coast.
Closing that deal is going to involve input from multiple departments – the administration, IT, purchasing, and legal at bare minimum, and it’s certainly feasible that academic faculty committees will have input as well.
All those stakeholders will have different buyer personas. IT will want to make sure the computers can handle all the programs the college uses and that they aren’t going to get swamped with service calls. Purchasing is going to take a hard look at price. Legal will scrutinize the terms and conditions of the contract. The faculty needs to know the computers can handle all the specialized tasks that come with technology in academia and will have questions about ease of use.
That’s a myriad of competing concerns, challenges, and priorities from a wide array of buyer personas. Without doing the work to craft those personas, you’d be walking into a situation where you have a head start about what needs to be addressed for each person.
So it’s not just about nimbly adjusting to your buyers – it’s about realizing and recognizing the differences between everyone who has input into a business decision. Nor is it just about Michael at Dunder-Mifflin and Sally at Wonder-Muffin when creating buyer personas. It’s about Michael, Jim, Pam, and Dwight at Dunder-Mufflin and Sally, Kim, Sam, and Marshawn at Wonder-Muffin.
In other words, buyer personas help sales reps address both individual buyers and group-based customers. They help you tailor your sales conversations to the totality of buyers, enabling the process to be swift as possible – even in delicate, complex situations. So if your personas are currently a blank space, shake it off and start the research and building process.