The 4-Step Process To Building The Right Personas For Your Guided Selling Strategy Pt. I

Personas part 1
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The 4-Step Process To Building The Right Personas For Your Guided Selling Strategy Pt. I

Demographic marketing and sales, on it’s own, is dead.

I know that’s a bold statement, but let me explain:

No demographic data will ever tell you who people really are – just what they are. Demographics are a good and necessary start, but it’s only 50% of the story… that’s why such tactics only get you conversion rates of maybe 0.5% or, if you’re lucky, 1%.

But when you introduce Personas to that, conversion rates go up to 10-15%. That’s what I’ve found from working with over 50 different businesses – and I’ll show you the exact same steps I have used with each of them.

Why? Because all of a sudden you are able to give people what they want, in the way that best suits them as a human being. You stop selling to them – and start helping them discover products they really want and need..

And that is the single most powerful thing you can do in a selling strategy.

 

What Is A Persona And Why Do You Need One?

Personas are one of the least understood and most misused tools in sales and marketing today.

A Persona is a fictional character that closely represents one of your customer groups. They have a name, personal life, fears, aspirations, ambitions and emotions – just like all of us.

Basically, they stop you planning for the ‘average user’, which is good, because no such thing exists.

The key reasons why you need Personas:

  1. Sales Flow: In order for you to sell to me, you need to understand how I decide
  2. Personalities: Two people who share the same demographics could (and often do) have very different personalities and therefore demand to be treated differently
  3. Experience & Flow: Personas inform you about problems or gaps in your selling flow – and how to fix them.
  4. Conversions: If you understand all of an individual’s requirements you know what you need to offer, tell and show them in order to close the deal.
  5. Clarity: The content you produce will be able to laser-focus on the issues each Persona has.

In this two-part series, I’ll show you how you can create Personas that are going to be effective. We’ll follow a simple 4-step process that I’ve used time and again with great success.

For this to work, you will need to be able to do one thing:

Forget what you know about your business already. You need to be walking in your customer’s shoes for this to work!

 

Step 1: Understanding Your Customer Groups

This includes three crucial steps to set up everything else to follow:

  1. Gather your market intelligence: Get all of your demographic reports, website analytics, customer research/ surveys and so on together; read it and understand it – you want to see what people are responding to, what they are rejecting and their journey through your sales process.
  1. Understand the Macro-Environment: What’s happening in the World that may affect how people decide and buy? Brexit? Interest rates? New technologies or regulations? List out all you can think of.
  1. The Workshop: This is the big one. Get key people in a room for day and workshop yourselves to brain-drain. Ideally, you want around 10 people: 3-5 from marketing and 2-3 from each of sales and customer services. You need the front line people. Marketing is mostly theoretical and happens behind a desk, you need the guys who are talking to your customers every day. They know the questions, problems and hurdles – and the best answers to persuade the prospect to buy. That’s gold right there… and it rarely comes out in any marketing-only sessions.

 

How To Get The Right Information From Your Workshop

So, you have everyone in a room and have even laid on a nice lunch… what next?

The primary aim is to extract all the information you can from the various minds and departments. You want to brainstorm about the different customer segments that you have, with a focus on the buying and engagement psychology.


Structure of the day

  1. Identify the main customer groups
  2. What inbound marketing is done that you may need to align to?
  3. Psychographic analysis of these main customer groups: How do these groups make their decisions? What’s their buying process? What’s most important in their lives?
  4. What USP’s has your business developed to address each audience?
  5. What are the wider macro environments these groups operate within?
  6. What ‘persuasive assets’ do these groups want to see? In what order?
  7. Review of findings from the day to fill in any gaps
  8. Round up & finish

 

Getting the most out of the day

The above list includes the main points that I cover when doing workshops. I find the first 10-20 minutes is often quiet while all attendees hope someone else starts, but it quickly develops into a (sometimes heated) discussion with everyone voicing their opinions. You need to be a good host and make sure everyone gets to speak, not just the loudest, most confident ones.

You should also, at times, provoke and challenge their thoughts. This isn’t to be nasty or argumentative, but because the tool of playing ‘Devil’s Advocate’ is a powerful one that will break down barriers, conventional wisdom and any legacy thoughts.

The day will go quickly, so keep an eye on time and make sure you have all you need before wrapping up.

Congratulations, you’re now ready to start building your Personas…

 

Look out for Part 2

In the second part of this guide, I’ll show you how to make sure you not only create the right kind of Personas, but understand how to use them as part of your Guided Selling strategy.

About The Author
Phil Cave
Phil Cave is the founder of People Shaped Marketing. He helps companies like Samsung, BBC, Ricoh, RBS, Virgin, Lloyds, Stagecoach and Ferrari grow their profits through his unique methodologies. He has been repeatedly labelled as one of the "Top Digital Experts in Europe" and "One of the World's leading minds in Persona-driven Marketing". He has worked at some of the biggest agencies in London before owning, running and eventually selling his own successful digital marketing consultancy.

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