Developing Buyer Personas: 6 Questions to Ask Your Sales Team

Marketing and sales both want messaging that helps find qualified leads and propels them through the funnel to becoming a closed customer as efficiently as possible. Yet often the two teams don’t share information. Marketers who do utilize their sales team’s input can find out incredibly relevant information about quality customers. Information like demographics, behaviors, interests, needs, and desires can be used to build buyer personas, which can help your team more efficiently use your resources. Additionally, buyer personas can help you more efficiently find customers that are a fit for your business and less time working bad leads.

Persona profiles are extremely powerful – three to four accurate profiles can account for over 90% of a company’s sales. But how do you get the information you need from your sales team to start building these personas? Start by asking the right questions. 

What are the demographics of our closed customers?

Identify what age, gender, income class, education level, and location your quality customers come from. Although basic, demographics are some of the most important information you need to build your personas. Look for patterns shared by the top customers, and if possible export CRM data points into visualization tools to help make the analysis easier. This information is relatively easy to find and provides great insight into your prospect’s decision-making patterns. For example, a 25-year-old woman is likely to be interested in different services and communication methods compared to a 48-year-old man. Just by identifying key demographic information, you already have a good outline of how to map out your persona and messaging strategy.

What are the firmographics of our closed customers?

It’s not enough to just know about your closed customers as individuals to build personas – you need to understand the company they work for as well! (Especially if you utilize ABM strategies). Firmographics are to companies what demographics are to individuals. Knowing your closed customers’ industry, company size, product/service, ideal customer, and their personal and business goals and challenges are a great way to understand other potential customers. Personas that include individual and company-based information will help you better build out personalized messaging strategies for each stage of your customer journey. And firmographics are some of the most easily targetable signals on business-focused ad platforms like LinkedIn.

Which job roles do our closed customers have?

One of the most important questions to answer is which job role did the end decision-maker for your closed customer have and what other job roles influenced the purchase decision. Through your firmographic research, you should know what kind of organizational structure your closed customers have. Blending their company’s structure with job role information is a key component to add to your persona. The way you market to the C-suite decision-maker versus the average IT specialist would be different. Yet for many purchases, it might be critical to reach both roles with personalized messaging to ultimately land a quality customer.

What are/were the goals and motivations of our closed customers?

As your sales team is having conversations with quality leads, they are uncovering their goals and motivations. What is driving the decision-makers to seek out solutions like yours? What does it take for that decision-maker to get promoted and how might your solution help? How is success measured for someone in their role? How does your product or service help them get there? It’s much easier to trust someone who wants to align their goals with yours. Adding goal and motivator information to your personas will help you show future prospects that you understand them. 

Which challenges and pain points are most important to our closed customers?

Understanding the difficulties your buyers face is also essential to delivering them the right message and moving them through the right customer journey. As your sales team works quality leads, they will have discussions about the challenges and pain points that led to that company reaching out.  What are some common obstacles to their goals? What do their stakeholders want, and how well does it align with their personal goals? How can your company help them overcome these challenges? What are their barriers to purchase? If you can get the rich information that comes from the answers to these questions you will be able to build robust and highly relevant personas.

What does a day in the life of our closed customers look like?

Diving deeper into behavior, especially looking at it from a day-to-day perspective, can be key to uncovering nuances that help you build personas. This information can assist you in not only finding better potential customers but nurturing them through the funnel in the right way. What social media platforms do they use? When are they most active at work? What content do they consume and where from? These questions that your sales team might ask to better understand customers can help your marketing team figure out when and where to implement your messaging strategies. Knowing your purchase influencer’s work schedules might help you figure out when the prime messaging times are. Understanding their media consumption can help you figure out where to place messages as well as give you insight into their interests – which can be more helpful than you think.

This list is by no means exhaustive, nor does a good buyer persona have to include all of the above information. But having some information from all five categories is a good start to depicting an accurate version of a quality prospect that could turn into a closed customer. Basing personas on aspects of current closed customers help the marketing team hone messaging strategies. Personas also ultimately help the sales team save time in the future by using the personas to find a larger volume or more quality leads

Need help building a buyer persona question list for your sales team? Let’s talk.

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