Marketing and Sales Leaders Can Increase Their Value Through In-House Buyer Insights and Buyer Persona Development Capabilities
Since the origins of the buyer persona concept in 2001, buyers and their buying behaviors have always been in a constant state of change. What is different today versus the earlier 2000s is the pace of change is much more rapid as well as substantial. The global pandemic adding fuel to anticipated behavioral shifts on the part of buyers. Creating a roller coaster ride with twists and turns that can be stomach-churning for marketing and sales organizations.
A significant issue facing many marketing and sales leaders is that your high-stakes decisions on how to engage your buyers have become even higher stakes. Every choice and decision you make on how to allocate dollars to marketing and sales strategies, programs, and technologies is of a higher stake. Although one reason is due to having to show a greater return on investing those dollars, there is another that matters more:
If your marketing and sales investments are not aligned with buyers and their rapid pace of change, you can be missing out. Why? Because buyers will have moved on. Changing their preferences and setting new expectations.
With buyer behaviors and decision journeys in a constant state of flux, forward-thinking means building expert buyer insights and buyer persona capabilities in your organization. Which includes authentic buyer persona understanding and not the fluffy or inaccurate sales-intelligence profiles that have not served you well to date.
A problem seen over the years is marketing and sales leaders can treat buyer insights and buyer personas as an afterthought. More like the last step in an initiative to deliver a new or redesigned product to market. Looking for specific insights and buyer personas that are going to help them with a product launch.
If this is how you have thought of buyer insights and buyer personas, you are urged to avoid this mistake. Instead, get buyer insights and buyer personas into place at the first formation of a go-to-market strategy and avoid wasting precious budget dollars on multiple reiterations.
By building dedicated buyer insights and buyer persona expertise in your organization, you can go a long way towards getting aligned with buyers. And keeping pace with shifts in buyer behavior. Here are 5 additional yet essential reasons to consider:
1 – Build a True Voice Of the Customer Capability
The idea of the “Voice of the Customer” has been around for quite some time. While the idea is easy to grasp, making it part of an organization’s DNA is not so easy. Gathering deep buyer insights, the right way, and creating true authentic buyer personas can make the Voice of the Customer be heard.
2 – Foster Marketing and Sales Alignment
One issue that seems not to have changed much in the past twenty years is the stubborn misalignment of marketing and sales. No doubt you have experienced this in one form or another. Dedicated buyer insights and buyer persona expertise can bridge this ongoing gap significantly. Helping marketing and sales to plan and coordinate around a common view and language about buyers and accounts. (As many of you know, misalignment can be very costly as pointed out in this excellent HBR article: When Marketing and Sales Aren’t Aligned, Both Suffer.)
3 – Designing Buyer Interactions
As the digital shift and preferences for self-serve buying experiences continue to accelerate, design leadership will become critical. Shaping buyer interaction design (BxD) will become one of the most important efforts organizations will need to consider in the coming years. The powerful concept of ethnographic research and personas have their roots in interaction design.
4 – Work Better With Agencies
The use of creative, process and technology-based agencies will continue to grow in this decade. Agencies can bring specialized services that help companies to make headway on reaching more buyers creatively and efficiently. Where they can lack is in knowledge and competencies for buyer insights and buyer personas. Recently, a friend sent me a “Rosie the Riveter” type of buyer persona created by a marketing agency for his company. I fear it will be more harmful than helpful. Dedicated expertise can help you ensure agencies get the insights and buyer personas they need to deliver services aligned with buyers.
5 – Build Internal Knowledge Value
Dedicated expertise in buyer insights and buyer personas can help you to build internal value within an organization. When you deploy such expertise, you can build value by collaborating with multiple functions such as IT, Product Development, Customer Service, and etc. The purpose is to develop shared knowledge about buyers. Giving you the ability to leverage insights and common views of buyers to improve investments, business strategy, and operational efficiency outcomes.
Marketing and sales leaders have long known about the value of buyer insights and buyer personas. But most have struggled to advance within their organization nor have the knowledge on how to do so. Most likely, still on your challenge list somewhere.
The time has come to develop in-house buyer insights and buyer persona expertise that creates value and keeps you in touch with the changing behaviors of buyers. A key to helping you unlock the full potential of your organization to align with buyers.
(For marketing and sales leaders seeking to develop an in-house expert or you want to Become A Buyer Persona Expert, visit this link for more information.)