I was caught ‘show-rooming’ last month. Funny thing is I did not realise I was doing it until the salesman ‘told’ me. And he could tell what I was at because one thing an experienced sales professional is an expert in, is buyer personas. What can a marketer learn from a salesman about defining target audience and defining the complete buyer persona?
So there I was, in a large electronics store, casually looking at IP radios. …‘Not too bad out there today’, the salesman breezed as he wandered in my direction. Before I could ask him anything, he took one look at my face and he knew. The small talk died and I was left with … ‘any questions…. I’ll be just over there’. We both knew we would not be speaking to each other again.
He really had my number and thankfully didn’t wait while I humiliated myself by squeezing out my excuse. With one look, he knew I was no longer a warm lead. His ability to read a prospect is hardwired into his brain. He weighed up my age, demographic details, and demeanour and made the right call on the spot. They just don’t teach that stuff in school.
Sales role helps your marketing skills
While it’s not an absolute requirement, there’s no doubt cutting your teeth in a sales role gives you a more solid understanding of the role of marketing. If you’re a career marketer, you may disagree but I believe any job where you’re facing the public prepares you, just a little, for a marketing role.
Sales people have unique insights into customers that can be hard to replicate in traditional marketing roles. Creating solid buyer personas is the key to marketing communications and when sales and marketing teams work together, they can come up with robust, realistic buyer profiles which will be the foundation of new marketing strategies and campaigns.
So if you want to define your buyer persona, you could do a lot worse than talking to your sales team and use the tricks they use all day, every day.
Define your buyer persona in six steps…
- List their characteristics – know the emotions, values, technology preferences, socio-economic backgrounds and demographics of your target market.
- Technology and media – how do they consume media? Do they read the newspaper online or an actual paper? Do they read a newspaper at all? What about social media and technology usage? Skilled salespeople cajole all sorts of information out of people. Make sure you know what’s relevant and what’s not.
- Do they belong to a group – find out how they define themselves in group terms. Are they parents/professionals/tourists…Who do they feel they belong to?
- Numbers – harvest the hard facts. Sales figures, customer satisfaction numbers… From both secondary and primary sources, you can never have enough data about your customers and prospects.
- Words – listen to the words they use and reflect these in your marketing materials. You may well need the help of an experienced salesperson for this bit!
- Build it – put all this detail together and when you’re preparing your marketing blurb, keep this persona in mind and write like you are writing directly to them. Because you are.
If you sell more than one product, and that would be many of us, you’ll have more than one buyer persona. They will overlap but just keep your focus on making that sale in the short or long term. And know the information you need that will help you get there.
And there you have it. It’s possible that marketing teams all over the world are ignoring or worse still, competing with, what should be their greatest resource. Building a solid buyer profile will benefit you and your team. But make sure you gather the insights of everyone in your organisation that faces that customer on a daily basis.
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