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Customer Personas: Helping Your Staff Sell Better

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Customer Personas: Helping Your Staff Sell Better

Mark and Sam are the product sales managers of two leading consumer electronics firms. Recently, the two organizations introduced new LED TVs into the market. The two products shared many similarities, and their price was also almost the same. However, Mark’s product became a big hit in the market while Sam’s TV lagged far behind. Sam was at a loss to understand what went wrong. 

This is not an uncommon scenario. But, why do products with similar features and price fare differently in the market? Well, one of the important reasons is the way sales teams “project” the value of the product to customers. In their article, Business Marketing: Understand What Customers Value, James C Anderson, professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management and James A Narus, professor of business marketing at Wake Forest University, point out that the knowledge of what customers value can provide companies a significant advantage over their competitors. And, the good news is sales people can be trained to convey the value of products effectively. For this, you need to include an important element in the online product training program for your sales staff – customer persona.

What is a customer persona?

A customer persona may be defined as a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. – HubSpot

OK. How do customer personas help me train my people sell better?

Provide insights into customer needs and buying behaviors 

In his article, 6 Reasons Why Buyer Personas Are More Important Than Ever, Tony Zambito states that customer personas help marketers get a good idea of buying behaviors. They can help shed light on important aspects such as buyer problems and goals. Customer personas can thus eliminate guesswork and provide tangible information about prospective buyers. This information, needless to say, helps you train your sales staff to “deal” with prospective buyers very effectively. In her best-selling book, Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight Into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business, Adele Revella cites the failure of the iPhone 3G in Japan to illustrate the fact that not taking customer needs into consideration can result in poor selling.

Send the right message to customer 

Customer personas help segment customers, and proper segmentation enables firms to train their sales people to send targeted and relevant messages to the buyers in each segment. Consider the following scenario.

A manufacturer of tablet PCs creates customer personas after conducting a thorough research. The company uses them to segment the potential buyers into three segments – companies who use the tablets to provide just-in-time (JIT) learning support for their people, educational institutions who deliver lessons on the mobile devices, and people who use them to take pictures and watch videos. Armed with this information, sales people are coached to send the right message to each segment. 

Customer personas enable sales teams to get a good idea of buyer needs and behaviors. They help organizations segment their customers effectively and train their sales staff to send the right message. Thus, customer personas play a key role in conveying the value of products to customers. Hope you liked the post. Do share your views.

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