I’m honored to have Tony Zambito (@TonyZambito) from GoalCentric.com as a guest blogger with a post he wrote as a response to my tweeted call for guest bloggers for this blog. He is an expert on creating buyer personas. Check out his blog BuyerPersonaInsights.com where he currently runs a series called ‘The 10 Rules for Creating a Buyer Persona’.
How to Achieve Sales Enablement with Buyer Personas
“Enabling a sales force is no easy feat. Especially when there may be hundreds or even thousands of sales personnel spread out through various locations around the globe and working remotely. Aligning selling efforts with marketing efforts can become the albatross around any organization’s efforts to connect with its’ buyers.
Fortunately, technology in sales enablement is making it easier for companies to enable a sales force in their ability to win business. Sales enablement technology is an enabler of assisting sales to communicate and progress the sales cycle along. One thing technology cannot do though is have the conversation with customers and buyers for the sales representative. When companies can align technology, marketing initiatives and sales conversations it can attain a distinct competitive edge. Assuring that sales can connect with buyers conversationally is the most challenging aspect of sales enablement. This is where buyer personas can make the difference.
A buyer persona is a qualitative research derived archetype of a buyer that models their goals and provides deep insight into how they move along the buying process. They are not to be confused with customer profiles that have been common to sales and now in some instances you find the buyer persona label being attached to customer profiling.
An example of a Goal Centric client may help:
A Fortune 100 client faced a dilemma of reaching a new segment of buyers. They knew that if they could not enable the sales force to deeply understand buyers as well as to be able to engage conversationally, they would stand little chance of succeeding. They embarked on a buyer persona development initiative in two stages. The first stage was to conduct qualitative interviewing into this new segment of buyers. Over a three months period, significant and previously unknown insight was gained about this new buyer segment. These insights helped senior sales and marketing executives to strategically plan the best go-to-market efforts that would give them a winning edge over competitors. The insights were then translated into crafted buyer personas that reflected conversationally how to talk about the issues and goals of the buyer throughout the buying process. The second stage was aligning marketing communications with the anticipated selling conversations that enabled the ability of sales to help buyers reach their goals. Sales representatives were trained and received guided resources that helped them to have engaging conversations with buyers. They were enabled to demonstrate their ability to understand buyer goals in their language and terminology. Senior executives were able to achieve an increase in revenues in this new buyer segment by nearly 15% in the first year of rolling out buyer personas as a guided resource.
What can we learn through this example about how to achieve sales enablement with buyer personas?
Here are some of the highlights:
- Gain executive sponsorship to engage in the process of acquiring deep insights into your buyers
- Embed buyer personas and the qualitative insights into strategic planning for sales and marketing
- Buyer personas are derived and crafted from qualitative interviews and a specific methodology focused on goals and are not to be confused with profiles
- Important to align marketing with the new found insights into buyers so they can provide the necessary sales enablement resources that sales representatives will actually use
- Invest in adequate training to acquaint sales with the conversational aspect of using buyer personas to engage with their buyers
In the end, sales enablement is a process that ends either face-to-face or through the phone when that critical moment of truth happens – the conversation with the buyer. Buyer personas can go a long way towards ensuring that sales are enabled and ready right at that moment.”