Buyer Insights Are a Matter of Interpretation

buyer insights interpreting
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Tony Zambito

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The critical skill of interpreting buyer insights is needed to achieve actionable outcomes

A common thread in the many executive-level conversations and interviews I have had in the last twenty years is that of a lack of insights.  Specifically, a lack of insights into their buyers and customers.  The lack of buyer insights is consistently identified as a top challenge in any of the numerous C-Suite surveying as well. 

As we enter a pronounced era of uncertainty, decisions related to investments, strategies, markets, and the likes have intensified.  Many of you know the feeling.   When you are faced with a major decision, be it personal or business in nature, you want all the information you can get.  You are looking to make an informed decision.  With such a high degree of uncertainty in today’s business climate, the temperature on major decisions has gone up a few degrees.

Oftentimes, I find myself reminding executives that gathering insights is just one leg of a three-legged stool associated with buyer insights.  A second leg, even more challenging, is the art and science of interpreting insights.  The ability to distill insights into meaningful strategies and interactions with buyers and customers is what most leaders and organizations find challenging. 

A case in point.  In a recent coaching conversation, I talked with an executive who invested a substantial amount in buyer personas.  She lamented that she did not feel she got any new insights to help her.  After we reviewed what she received from a third party, she boiled it down to feeling she received a rehash of information they already knew and was easy to get.   In this worst-case scenario, she not only did not get any meaningful insights but she also was left with nothing to interpret.  Nothing to help her to make informed major decisions she was faced with.  She was left with a one-legged stool and a broken leg at that. 

The third leg is that of the buyer persona itself.  There is usually a refrain when the shortcomings are obvious that goes something like – “our buyer personas are not actionable.”  When I hear this and ultimately review the buyer personas, I find the lack of insights to be significant.  Buyer personas are a medium to communicate insights.  To get the enterprise clicking in unison on best serving its buyers and customers. 

The point here is that essential to buyer insights, then, is the important matter of interpretation.  Business leadership requires such skills to solve pressing problems and help achieve growth.  This is such a critical point regarding the importance of buyer insights research and buyer personas. 

Let us recap the three-legged stool analogy briefly:

Leg 1 – Gather buyer insights

Leg 2 – Interpret buyer insights

Leg 3 – Communicate buyer insights (via buyer personas)

The second leg, the matter of interpretation, is the key to making buyer insights and buyer personas actionable.  This leadership skill is what will separate companies that can or cannot connect with their buyers and customers. 

If leaders in business operations, marketing, and sales do not develop the acumen to interpret buyer insights, they will be left holding up a broken three-legged stool with two legs missing.