InterviewTypesCreating content that builds trust and affinity begins with knowing your audience at a truly insightful level.  This requires building buyer personas that reveal each of your target buyers’ needs, challenges, solution requirements, preferences, roles, responsibilities, and more.  Understanding your buyers at this deeper level will be absolutely vital to guiding your creation of quality content that resonates and connects with your buyers.

But building robust buyer personas that fuel a successful content marketing strategy must involve more than just marketing.  By talking to customers and internal stakeholders like Sales and Client Services, marketers can build significantly richer, more actionable personas that yield critical insights for content planning and creation.  Why talk to all three?  Because as outlined below, customers, Sales, and Client Services will offer particularly strong insights across different persona characteristics (see A Framework Comprising an Insightful Buyer Persona).

Customers

Customers will give you the best insights on their roles and responsibilities and their goals and initiatives, including: their day to day duties, how they’re evaluated, personal goals as it relates to their job, their success metrics, and their fears and risks.  You will learn what the buyer faces daily, which will have a direct impact on their buying process, how they evaluate a solution, and why they choose to take the leap and invest in a solution like yours.

They can also best detail what their solution expectations are, such as why they need a solution like yours and what results or outcomes they would like to achieve with a solution.  And more, what their solution concerns are, such as their hesitations about solutions like yours and barriers from particular titles or departments within a buyer’s organization to selecting your solution.  These insights are instrumental in guiding content that is focused, relevant, and able to persuade.

And most importantly, you will learn from buyers their primary buying criteria, including what capabilities or features are most important, why they’re the most critical, and why they chose one solution over another. You will no longer have to guess at which buyers care about which features/capabilities the most, so you can develop the right content and messaging for the right buyer.

Sales

Your sales team engages with prospects and customers every day, making them a great source of information.  In fact, they speak with so many people that they have an excellent aggregated point of view on key persona attributes.

Although customers themselves provides the best insights on their own buying concerns, Sales will have an aggregated view of buyer concerns for not just buyers that became customers, but also prospects who didn’t choose your solution.  Armed with this knowledge, you will know what objections you need to tackle head on in your content.

Sales will also have aggregated knowledge on what buyers are looking to learn when they engage with them, or what questions they typically ask. For example, they may be finding that a high number of buyers are asking for a particular case study, that a certain buyer persona has been increasingly asking for an ROI calculator over the last five months, or that particular buyers have requested content that details a specific capability and/or use case.

Client Services

In particular, Client Services will have an awesome perspective on buyers’ current and future solution needs and uses.  This includes: common needs/problems the buyer has that they need your solution and team to address, primary use cases the buyer wants to address with your solution, what capabilities within your solution the buyer values most and why, what insights, tips, or best practices they’re most interested in, and any trends in upcoming initiatives they’re addressing.

They’ll also become familiar with buyers’ experiences and perceptions, such as prior experience with solutions like yours and certain perceptions about your solution and/or solutions like yours in general.

 

Building rich buyer personas should be a collaborative effort.  By speaking with three core groups – customers, Sales, and Client Services – you will increase the depth and breadth of your personas.  And by gaining this deeper understanding of your buyers, you will write more valuable content twice as fast.

 

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