Researching Personas? Ask Sales!

sales and marketing
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Buyer-focused marketing requires us to develop content that speaks to buyers about what they want and need. There’s no way to speak directly to an audience you don’t know. That’s what makes personas so incredibly important.

What are they concerned about? What challenges do they grapple with each day? What lights them up about their jobs? Communicating on these terms allows you to make a more meaningful connection, and gives you the opportunity to align your messaging, your content formats and entire promotional strategies with the things most likely to make an impact.

You need to do your research to understand who your key personas are. But do you know who already has lots of insight about your customers? Your sales team.

Sales representatives and account managers know your audiences better than anyone else in the company. They’re the ones on the front lines, having in-depth conversations and developing relationships. They know the hot topics that capture prospects’ attention, and they know which aspects of your products and services help them close deals.

Schedule some time with a top sales rep to discuss what they know about your customers. If you don’t already have thoroughly researched personas, their answers are likely to help you sketch out a foundation for each of your key audiences. And if you do have persona research in place, insights from your sales team will help add helpful details and keep the big picture up to date.

Bring questions like these into the conversation:

  • What are the common titles of the people we’re trying to reach?
  • What are their responsibilities?
  • What do we know about their demographics: age, gender, education, income?
  • What are their top three challenges?
  • What top three KPIs do they use to measure success?
  • What barriers prevent them from achieving their goals — their pain points?
  • Which issues would trigger a prospect to take action?
  • What obstacles keep them from making a buying decision?
  • Where do they go for information?
  • Who else is on the buying committee?
  • Who else do they need to persuade even when they’re convinced?
 
The great value of these insights is your ability to write content designed to appeal to real people and their needs rather than a blurry, unrecognizable audience. You’ll gain the understanding you need to speak directly to your top prospects and connect with them on a much more personal level.
 
This is a great opportunity to develop deeper relationships with your sales team, too. Build on their trust and open the door to closer collaboration that will pay off with long-term business success for both of you.
 
For more strategies that connect content with personas, read Inside the New Buying Experience: How to Create Awesome Buyer Enablement Content.
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