"What I have noticed is that there seems to be two types of personas: those suited for marketing and those better suited for salespeople," writes Ardath Albee at Marketing Interactions.
Though personas loaded with exhaustive biographical details (e.g., favored sports, movie genres, and dog breeds) might help salespeople manage relationships, they don't really help marketers segment and target B2B leads.
So to get the most marketing bang from your buyer persona buck, Albee says, your buyer personas must do four things.
1. Guide the development of relevant marketing programs
Think of the marketing-friendly persona as a tool that helps you develop content and campaigns that give your leads the information they want, when they want it, and provides it to them in a format they appreciate. That a lead has two kids and a collie doesn't really matter.
2. Point to specific interests as they relate to priorities
Forget about generalities. What is each persona's pain point? And what is her priority in implementing a solution? She might be concerned with making an inspired choice that improves her chances of promotion. Or she might simply want to unload an irritating task.
3. Detail circumstances that could close (or derail) the deal
Each persona will approach the buying process differently, so pressing the right buttons is important. Ask yourself, what would make this persona your solution's greatest champion? And what would make her think she'd rather buy from a competitor?
4. Represent a highly defined buyer
A persona should help you target a very specific customer. Avoid what Albee discovered when reviewing one company's roster: Each could have been "representative of the same title, roles, and responsibilities as the others." In other words, interchangeable personas won't deliver the insight you need.