As a team member at Design the Planet, an award-winning brand marketing and design firm that specializes in building and improving franchise and multi-location brands, I help guide our clients through fleshing out their ideal buyer personas as an integral piece of the overall process of effectively connecting with their target audience. Building your buyer personas is a vital part of strengthening your brand, as these guidelines give you a clear, objective view of your core audience. This deeper level of understanding helps you determine what makes these individuals tick and serves as a guide for your entire marketing strategy and approach.
Most companies automatically designate the creation of these buyer personas to the marketing team, but we actually encourage our clients to consult their sales team, as well. This tactic may leave you scratching your head, but Holly Regan, researcher at Software Advice, agrees. “Since your sales team is always out there on the front lines of buyer interaction, who better to ask for insight into the wants, needs, pain points and behaviors of your target buyers? Your reps have an intimate knowledge of many different types of buyers and can help you craft personas to fit any situation,” she states.
Your best salespeople are the ones who are tuned in to your most willing buyers, and they know how to make a strong connection with those individuals. Therefore, their input is vital in creating the most effective and thorough buyer personas possible. Regan concurs, stating that “your sales team can help you with several tactics that will help you fully develop your buyer personas, such as setting up interviews with clients to collect primary research, collecting data on accounts or opportunities “won” and “lost”, running sales force and marketing automation reports, finding “look-alikes” in companies that display similar behavior to your target buyer, and creating case studies based on satisfied customers.”
The sales team is exposed to subtle details about your clientele that the marketing folks aren’t usually privy to. Therefore, they can provide valuable answers that no one else can to questions such as: What is the main indicator that a potential client will benefit from our services? What tells you that a client is in the right place and frame of mind to buy from us? What stands out to you as a “red flag” in a client meeting? What are common qualities you notice about the majority of the people that buy from us? Take advantage of their physical interaction with clients to learn about any common “tells” that your sales team picks up on, and use those qualities to help you create “flesh and blood” ideal buyer personas.
Additionally, your sales team is the one that is out in the field every day witnessing the tides and trends of a constantly evolving marketplace, so they are better equipped than anyone to keep the company abreast of any changes that should be reflected in your brand messaging. Regan agrees, adding that “”one of the most important things to remember is that buyer personas are fluid: target buyer preferences, patterns, characteristics and behaviors are indeed constantly changing, so making sure that you meet with your sales team on a regular basis to adjust your personas accordingly is very important.”
The most effective type of branding is emotional branding, and you can’t connect with your target audience on an emotional level until you know exactly who they are and what they care about. Through sales and marketing teamwork, you can create the most detailed “flesh and blood” buyer persona possible, which will then allow you to customize and craft brand messages that knock your ideal buyers over the head, turning prospective clients into active clients.