Key Tips for Mapping Buyer Personas and Journeys

by Chris Horn

Having covered Step 1 ‘Securing Executive Sponsorship & Educating the Business' and Step 2 'Sharpening Market Segmentation' of our digital go-to-market roadmap, today's post will explore the next step -  'Mapping Personas & Buyer Journeys'. I’ll discuss how mapping personas and buyer journeys against your priority market segments can help you gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior, preferences and values.
 

‘Operationally Pivot to Customer’ is stage one of our digital go-to-market transformation roadmap and consists of six important steps to navigate as you move towards genuine customer-centricity.

STAGE ONE ON THE DIGITAL GO-TO-MARKET ROADMAP

map personas and buyer journeys

By now you will have addressed the challenge of securing buy-in from leaders, staff and stakeholders, and clearly defined your priority market segments (sweet spots). The next step is to understand what your customer's needs and preferences are.

Today’s post will focus on step three:

Step 3 - Map Personas and Buyer Journeys

To deliver the experience customers now demand, a deeper understanding of how they buy and what they want is required. A subtle, yet critical mind-set shift needs to take place across the business: It is no longer about how we drive customers through the sales process, but about understanding how customers buy, and then facilitating and supporting this process in a cohesive way. To make this shift, you need to have an intimate understanding of your key buyer personas and each of their buying journeys. What drives their perception of value? What are their needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey? What are their content and channel preferences?

Answers to these questions will form the foundation for all marketing and sales execution disciplines:

1. Develop Your Ideal Customer Profile

Once marketing and sales are fully aligned behind your market ‘sweet spots’, you will need to build out a new level of specificity to define exactly what an attractive account looks like. Profiling accounts against the following criteria can help you find your ideal targets:

  • Size - are they big enough? Assessing the potential revenue and number of transactions or deal size of your prospects can help determine this.

  • Attractiveness - do we want them? This will vary dramatically amongst different organisations as it depends on what is important to them. Consider a prospect’s risk profile, decision-making structure, budget and geography.

  • Probability - can we win them? This too will vary by business, but there are some general questions you can ask to help determine probability. Are they accessible? Can we tolerate the required sales cycle time?

2. Build Buyer Personas and Journeys

A common temptation when defining buyer personas and journeys is to make assumptions about customer needs, resulting in a range of biases becoming embedded in your outputs. Given your personas will form the backbone of relevance across all marketing and sales activity, it is critical that the fully-fledged perspective shift is made from an ‘inside-out’ organisational view, to an ‘outside-in’ customer view. Speak to as many customers as possible and incorporate a wide range of sources to ensure your buyer understanding is neutral and complete.

3. Engage Those on the Frontline

Whilst speaking with customers is priority one, talking to sales and service staff, who interact with customers ‘day-in day-out’ is also key. A ‘one liner’ which has been honed by a salesperson for years could become the title of your next content blockbuster. Distribute your personas and journeys across the business and make these living documents which are continually renewed and enhanced.

What's Next?

Now that you have gained a deeper understanding into your buyer personas and journeys, you can start mapping out what content is needed at each stage. Our next post will concentrate on step 4, developing a content strategy to ‘cut through’ and facilitate progression.