Buyer Personas – One of the Greatest Alignment Tools
If you were to ask members of your marketing department to describe your organization’s buyer personas or target audience, what would they say? Would they have similar answers or would they be different? Could they answer the question at all?
Now, what if you asked the people in your sales department or customer service?
To provide your customers with the best possible experience, people across all departments should have a unified understanding of your customer personas. There should be understanding of what really keeps them up at night and their motivations.
According to 17 percent of APAC marketers, they are struggling to connect functional silos across the organization (and possibly within marketing) to achieve a single view of the customer that can inform and direct customer experience strategies. Without this view, marketers will struggle to craft connected customer experiences that are relevant to the customer, regardless of how much organizational support marketing receives.
According to a survey of US business and marketing professionals conducted in November of 2015, most employees can’t describe their company’s buyer personas.
Only 29% of survey respondents say at least half their organization can describe the buyer personas that have been developed. And a mere 8% think at least three-quarters of their organization can do so.
Is your marketing department telling your story to one group of people while your sales department is attempting to sell to another? When an agency creates a brief, do they know with whom they are supposed to be connecting? When you outsource content creation, do your hired writers know for whom they are writing?
Uncovering Your Buyer Personas
Buyer personas often fall to the responsibility of the marketing department. Uncovering your company’s buyer personas require research, thought, and collaboration. Leverage the data you have on your current customers – don’t just guess. Customer profiles can be combed for clues and details to help zero in on certain trends such as age, other demographic information, and buying habits. Customer surveys can help expand your field of knowledge by finding more specific details such as hobbies and interests.
Collaborate with your sales department to ensure that your findings are correct. Salespeople are in closer contact with customers and can provide valuable insight to help flesh out your buyer personas.
Once identified, personas should then be shared with everyone in your company. It is crucial that everyone in your company - and everyone working with your company, such as agencies - are aware of your audience and with whom they are communicating. Your marketing department needs to know to whom they are telling your company’s story. Leverage the personas to drive tailored communications.
Your organization can use buyer personas to provide a customer-centric experience. The sales department is responsible for convincing your target audience how their pain points can be alleviated or eliminated by utilizing your company’s solutions. Personas help to identify and focus efforts on your customers’ decision-making processes and motivations – these are essential for any sales department.
Taking the Personas Beyond Sales and Marketing
The benefit of personas goes beyond marketing and sales as well. Customer service can be greatly improved when agents know who they are helping. If you share talking points organization-wide, why not share personas as well?
Product development too can benefit from buyer personas. Being able to get into the mind of the customer is always a good thing! When all departments are focused on the needs and pains of the end-user there is natural alignment of goals and decisions. Everyone in your organization should know who they are servicing.
And on behalf of all agencies around the world, please share your personas with us too! When you outsource content creation or hire an agency for a campaign, the more information you can provide them the better the product you’ll receive in return.
It is important to note that buyer personas are a guide – a tool – that will need to updated regularly to stay relevant. As your audience grows and matures, it is essential that you take the time to revisit your personas to update and refine them. As you identify more key data points, include those fields in your user profiles. Identifying personas can save departments a lot of wasted money and effort. Taking the time to know your audience can pay dividends. Make it a part of your company’s shared knowledge to help get you to the next level.