Buyer Personas: The Five Insights You Really Need (and definitely don’t have)

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Content Marketing

Many people will tell you that your buyer personas should be based on demographic data and other readily available characteristics, and there’s nothing wrong with this advice. This approach will help you to align your buyer personas with your company’s existing ideas about its target market segments and strategies.

But the part of the buyer persona that’s the foundation of product and solution marketing is the truth about how your target buyers weigh their options and decide to buy your company’s solution, or a competitor’s, or to do nothing at all.

That’s the part of the buyer persona that positions marketing to be a source of competitive advantage, while clarifying decisions for messaging, content marketing, launches, campaigns and sales enablement.

Marketers who are committed to building actionable buyer personas are building their buyer personas around the Five Rings of Insights. I’ll talk about each of these Insights, and outline the steps to gain them, at the Buyer Persona webinar on Thursday, April 12. Here’s a sneak preview:

1. The Priority Initiative insight tells you what triggers your buyer’s decision to search for your type of solution. Don’t confuse the Priority Initiatives with pain points, because buyers who aren’t looking to make a current purchase also have the pain points your solution resolves. Well-researched buyer personas will tell you what is different about the buyers who make it a priority to spend their time, budget or political capital on a solution like yours.

2. The Success Factors insighttells you how a particular type of buyer describes his or her expectations for success with your solutions. Success Factors might sound like benefits, but they’re more specific than that. When a good sales person first meets with a prospect, he doesn’t try to explain each of your solution’s benefits– that would annoy the buyer, and it’s even worse when you try it in writing. The Success Factor insight tells you which outcomes are most valuable to this type of buyer and why, so that you know how to develop simple, persuasive and non-annoying messaging and content.

3. The Perceived Barriers insight tells you why buyers would choose a competitor’s solution, and why they sometimes decide to do nothing at all. You may have heard that you are losing deals because your solution is too expensive, or that it’s missing a critical feature. But when you learn how to conduct the right kind of interviews with your buyers, you’ll get far deeper insights.

You may learn that your buyers have preconceived, false notions based on prior experiences or what they’ve heard from their peers. Or you might learn that buyers aren’t aware that you could solve a particular aspect of their problem. The Perceived Barriers Insight is one of the most important for both content marketing and sales enablement.

4. I call this insight the Buying Process, but some are calling it the buyer journey. It tells you what your buyer does to identify alternative solutions, weigh his or her options, and make a decision. If you’re marketing a complex solution, you already know whether several buyer personas have an impact on the decision, but do you know which type of buyer is most positive or negative about your approach? Do you know what sources each buyer trusts to answer their questions? All of this and more is captured in the Buying Process insight.

5. The final insight is Decision Criteria – it tells you which benchmarks each type of buyer is using to evaluate and compare alternative approaches to the problem. Buyers are relying on online research, prior experiences, and conversations with their peers to create a specific set of requirements at the onset of their search, and then adding to that list as they become more educated. The Decision Criteria insight makes it easy for marketers to narrow and address the details that will build the buyer’s confidence in your approach.

Unfortunately, you can’t just ask buyers these five questions and learn what you need to know. I’ll explain what does work and show you how the Insights will transform the quality of your marketing at the webinar on April 12. I hope to see you there. Register today!