In 2001, Tony Zambito established the first buyer insight and buyer persona development methodology designed specifically for B2B Marketing and Sales. This innovation has helped leading Fortune 100 companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers, resulting in improved lead generation, customer experience, and revenue performance. He has assisted companies such as HP, Reed Elsevier, FedEx, Pearson, Robert Half International, Microsoft, Genesys, IBM, Thomson Reuters, and Conoco Phillips in customer research, buyer insight research, and buyer persona marketing.
Tony was our first guest on Leadspace Radio. Take a look at some of the best practices Tony shared with us while on show.
LS: Let’s start with the basics. What’s your definition of a Buyer Persona?
Buyer persona is really a communication platform based on research and insights. What they are is an archetypical representation of who your buyers are, what they’re trying to accomplish, the specific goals they have, how they think and why they buy. There’s an issue of people interchangeably thinking about buyer personas in the context of segmentation and profiling, which has every emphasis on factual information and attributes. Where the concept of buyer persona comes into play is you really are focusing in on behavior. Focusing on specific goals people are driven by, and what their motivations are.
LS: How should one go about creating a Buyer Persona?
Your buyer persona should be based on interviews with real people. That’s the real foundation. So, that means your buyer persona should be a representation of real people that you talk to. After you do the interviewing, you really need to take time and distill all the insights, identify the pattern, and look for what would be considered those unarticulated, not so obvious types of insights. Those are going to be very meaningful, not only to you as an organization, but meaningful to how you understand your buyers.
They are representative of the actual people you talk to. They represent a series of patterns of insights in terms of what they’re trying to accomplish, how they think, and what things are influencing their decisions.
LS: Maybe you can give an example to illustrate that point?
Sure. Let’s say you’re part of an organization with a customer retention problem. You have a small to medium size customer base of 15,000 customers, and you’ve seen 5% erosion over the last three years. Buyer persona helps you understand why that’s happening. You’re not meeting the goals of your buyers for some reason, and you need to know why.
LS: What’s the key message about Buyer Persona you like to communicate to your clients?
Shift your thinking to the true intent of persona, which is to tell the story of your buyers. It becomes a story that tells about your archetypical representation of your buyer. About the profound insights that were uncovered, about the situations and scenarios your buyers are in, about some of those key attitudes and perceptions and beliefs that your buyers have, and how they actually influence the decisions that they make.
When the story completely unfolds throughout that process, you can then stand together as a team and say, okay, what are the implications here for our organization? How do we match to the specific goals and scenarios and attitudes and beliefs of our buyers so we can be meaningful to them? That’s a big difference from just profiling, saying here’s who they are and here’s what their key attributes are.
Buyer insights and persona development are the foundation for any successful buyer-centric demand generation strategy. You shouldn’t be creating content, spending valuable time and resources on demand generation if you have not defined these for your buyers. Need more insights from Tony on buyer personas? Listen to the full radio show here.