8 Questions to Ask Your Sales people to Help Create Buyer Persona
Buyer personas are a crucial marketing tool that nourishes your content strategy, and more importantly, drive sales. Even after traditional marketing in the Philippines has evolved into digital marketing, properly profiling your right audience is still pivotal in your campaign. Buyer personas are what determine content topics that resonate. However, coming up with a sketch of your target market is not easy task to draw up. It takes lots of research from different sources to create buyer personas that are actually useful.
From customer interviews, industry blogs, competitors, reports—there are plenty of sources to get the information needed to build a persona. But where should you start your research? Start with the sources most accessible to you: your salespeople.
Your salespeople have the closest contact with your prospects, thus, they hold valuable insights qualities and quirks your buyers possess. Even better: your salespeople want to close deals more than anyone, therefore, they’ll be more than willing to sit for an interview with you.
But what should you ask your salespeople? According to CEO & B2B marketing strategist and author Ardath Albee during her talk at the Intelligent Content Conference, there are nine essential parts to come up with well-informed buyer persona as follow:
- Day in the life
- Keywords and phrases
- Engagement scenarios
To squeeze juicier insights from your salespeople, let’s go through some of these important components and come up with the appropriate questions.
Question #1 (Orientation): Who are you talking to in a prospect company?
Identifying the person your salespeople talk to builds the character you need for a buyer persona. Is he a manager of a certain department? A marketing representative? A CEO? How long has he been in the business? What was his character like? The more details you ask about that individual’s professional background, the more specific the content strategy team can get when creating the right content.
Question #2 (Day in the Life): Who influences the people you are talking to?
According to Albee, the day in the life component lets you step into the persona’s shoes. While the orientation component tells you insight about the individual’s demeanor toward his job, the day in the life part tells you the other personas that influence the prospect’s decision-making. For instance, is the prospect reporting to a boss? Is there a buying committee that influences the purchasing decisions of a company? With these in mind, the content strategy team can create content that does not only converse with the prospect but also to his influencers.
Question #3 (Questions, Engagement Scenario): What questions do these people ask you?
Questions are a critical component that can get you through each stage of the buying cycle. Every time you answer a question, it creates the opportunity to feed more useful information to the prospect, thus getting closer to sealing a deal. This very set of questions allows your digital marketing team in the Philippines to create engagement scenarios that let them visualize ways on how to interact with personas in every step of the buyer’s journey.
Question #4 (Problems): How do they describe the problems they’re solving?
If you want your persona to help set the tone and style of your piece, getting a specific description of the problem is one way. Take for example, the prospect is concerned about “quality issues.” This general term may give you content ideas, but if you go specific with the problem, say, “lack of automated tool leading to errors related to human oversight,” you’ll get a better understanding of the issue, thus enabling you to create a more relevant content. From these descriptions, your salespeople might also notice recurring phrases being used in conversations, which brings us to the next question…
Question #5 (Keywords & Phrases): What phrases do these people typically use in conversations?
Just like questions, identifying these phrases can afford you valuable opportunities for your buyer persona project. These phrases they use in relation to the problem they’re trying to solve tend to be what your prospects are typing in the searchbox, say, “reduce human error in the workplace” or “human error prevention tools.” Find a commonality and make a list of these phrases to include in your persona.
Question #6 (Objectives): How do they describe what they want to achieve?
Again, being specific is key to resonating content. What are the prospect’s goals and responsibilities? Don’t just say he wants to improve the work process. There are definite ways to achieve this broad objective like by “eliminating these specific technical errors in the workplace.” The more specific the objective is, the more relevant the content will be.
Question #7 (Preferences): What conversation tactics engage them most?
Find out what the prospect prefers: formal presentation or casual over lunch discussions? What do they look for in a presentation: charts, graphs, videos? How long are they willing to listen? The kind of conversation tactic the salespeople use the most translates into the approach digital marketers should use when creating content, so include this in your buyer persona.
Question #8 (Obstacle): Why don’t they push through the buying stage?
No, price is not the obstacle we are referring to. It’s the factors that keep the prospect from moving forward with the buying cycle like the higher-ups in the company. Those higher-ups might need more convincing than what the salesperson has provided to the prospect, so knowing this kind of information helps the content marketing team come up with a solution to eliminate the obstacle.
Interview 5-6 salespeople in your company and find the commonality in their answers. Once you gathered enough information, you can now move on to your next sources: the customers. On our next post, we’ll be talking about the questions to ask your customers to help your digital marketing team in the Philippines create a buyer persona that you can actually use. Stay tuned for our next post!