what-are-buyer-personas-for-sales.jpgKnow your buyer. Whether you’re in marketing or sales, we all know how important this statement is when targeting customers and crafting messages. Emails, phone calls, or even face-to-face interactions are infinitely more valuable when you consider the needs, fears and goals of each customer.

In sales, buyer personas (also called prospect personas) help sales professionals better understand their customer, allowing them to book more meetings, create more pipeline and increase revenue. The number of personas your company has depends on how many different personalities you sell to.

So what is a buyer persona?

HubSpot’s definition of a buyer persona encompasses both marketing and sales:

“A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. While it helps inbound marketers like you define their target audience, it can also help sales reps qualify leads.”

In other words, for marketing and sales, the definitions are synonymous — the process of building profiles for your ideal customer. But each department’s goals vary:

  • Marketing wants to craft resonating messages, increase traffic and conversion rates;

  • Sales wants to book more meetings, increase pipeline and/or revenue.

In “The Sales Development Playbook” by Trish Bertuzzi, she outlines sections to address for prospect personas.

  • Target title: What role does your prospect currently hold? Are they VP of Sales? Marketing? Sales Enablement?

  • Role & Responsibility: What does the role entail for each of these positions?

  • Challenges & Obstacles: What are some of the major challenges specific to each role?

  • Professional success metrics: KPI’s relevant to each position. Sales measures by meetings, revenue, YOY, growth, margin and P&L. Marketing (traditionally) measures by impressions, views, MQLs created, MQLs converted and subscribers.  

  • Risks & Fears: On a more psychological level, what are some risks and fears that relate to each person’s position. For example: a VP of Sales might worry those in his position only last 18 months, so he has very little time to make an impact on the bottom line.

  • Consequence of Status Quo: How their old tactics aren’t working, recurring issues.

  • Big Win We Deliver: What is the most beneficial aspect of your company to each position? Pipeline and revenue? Alignment? Is training worth it?

We’ll use an example from HubSpot, complete with templates to help walk you through visualize process.

Company X wants to target head of human resources (director or above) of companies with 250 employees plus.

First: Let’s identify their title and role.


Second: Determine what they want to accomplish at the company, and how you can help.


Third: Figure out how you’re going to do that. Remember to speak the language of your buyer, and to craft messaging that addresses their pain points.


Fourth: Figure out how you’re doing to do that. Remember to speak the language of your buyer, and to craft messaging that addresses their pain points.


Last but not least, give your persona a name like “Marketing Mary” or “Fred VP of Sales.” Include a photo to help humanize this abstract persona. Trivial as it may be, this helps complete the entire picture of who you’re targeting.

Sales people, like marketers, can use buyer personas to better understand both current and prospective customers. The best personas are based on market research, but they can also be built from interviews, and trends from their own database.

As Bertuzzi maps out in her book, creating a grid of your prospects thoughts, fears and values will help you not only better understand them, but accurately, efficiently and consistently leverage insights to book meetings and close deals. Good luck!


Julia Manoukian

Author: Julia Manoukian

Julia is focused on creating, managing and producing everything content-related at Sales for Life. From product to content marketing, she is committed to constantly evolving the company's marketing strategy to exceed the demands of the ever-changing buyer.

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