A Common Language for Marketing and Sales Teams — Part 2 Of 3 How Personas Improve Organizational Alignment

Objective buyer insights promote alignment between marketing and salesWhat do 88 percent of the most successful organizations have in common? They have aligned their marketing and sales teams.

In my previous post, I introduced the concept of personas and discussed some of the positive effects they can have on an organization. Increasing sales and marketing alignment and building internal credibility for your marketing program are two areas where a persona initiative can have substantial impact.

Marketing and sales teams often have very different perspectives on who the customer is and how he or she buys the product you are selling. Personas bring sales and marketing together and align them with a common set of insights into their customers. Additionally, the process of developing personas cultivates early buy-in from stakeholders not only in sales and marketing, but across the organization — further strengthening your organization overall.

The process of gathering information through in-person interviews with actual buyers gives the customer the last word. Validating these qualitative findings with quantitative results further removes the subjective element, creating an objective foundation. The guesswork from the marketing and sales teams is replaced by real perspectives of real customers. Everyone can come together around an objective viewpoint. And that makes everyone’s job easier. Marketing campaigns can build trust by speaking directly to the buyer in a way that feels personalized. Qualified leads are easier to generate and contain richer information for your sales team to follow up with because the marketing department is better versed in what is important to both sales and customers. And sales are easier to close because reps can emphasize benefits that address buyers’ real concerns.

When designing a marketing or sales plan, it can be easy to fall into the trap of assuming what motivations influence your customers’ purchasing behavior. Using only static, high-level demographics to guide your campaigns is a surefire way to undermine your credibility — with both your audience and your sales team. Readily identifiable trends are often mistaken for validation. Personas allow you to escape this vacuum and define a more intelligent engagement strategy.

In summary, personas allow you to:

      • Develop real insight into the perception of your product or service
      • Identify the buy cycle and needs of all buyers involved in the purchase
      • Increase the relevancy of content and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
      • Align marketing and sales efforts
      • Determine the most effective approach to generating qualified leads

This type of objective, actionable intelligence helps sales and marketing come together organically around a common frame of reference. And the solid groundwork and deep research behind your personas ensure they won’t break down with daily use.

In part three of this series, I’ll discuss how you can integrate personas into your company’s culture to ensure ongoing impact.

05/05/2014

About Tim Cook

Tim has more than 25 years of B2B marketing experience. He leads The Mx Group’s Client Services and Demand Generation departments. Previously, Tim held senior marketing positions at the global outsourcing firm Convergys, and served clients at McCann-Erickson and Resource Marketing. Tim completed his B.A. in English literature from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. He completed certificate programs in integrated marketing communications and change management at the Chicago Graduate School of Business.

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