Personas are nothing magical. They are just summarized versions of your audience data. They have no power in themselves…
…unless you socialize them in your company so everyone in your company comes to understand them, connect with them, and yes – have empathy towards them. THIS is where the magic lies…
Why are we doing this?
Remember, the role of a persona is not (just) to describe
- WHO your prospects are (which is nice) but also to nail exactly
- WHY they are your prospects (which is critical).
The WHY is the reason they are interested in you… and your company colleagues need to be interested in THEM. This is where the empathy starts.
So how do we do this?
Marketers being marketers, we sometimes try to “create” empathy and get carried away with giving personas cute names (Christina Controller) and endearing personal attributes (runs daily 5K with her 2 fluffy dogs).
This might make them more “human”, but it fails to address the key questions…
why are they interested in us and
why are we interested in them?
The way we make our personas developed by marketing relevant to sales, customer support, product, and finance groups is by helping them…
discover what’s it like to be their customers.
We have created multiple ways of building empathy with each functional team (field sales, inside sales, customer success, etc.). We divide this way internally so we can keep discussion relevant and can create a shared public dialogue about how they deal with their customers. Here are a few examples:
Persona interviews – the first and easiest step is for your team to listen in on phone interviews so they can hear first-hand how customers think and speak.
Live-action Personas – we can use actors (or real customers) to play the role of customers who come to visit your firm and talk with your people.
Role plays – after a presentation, we can pair team members so they can take turns interviewing “the customer” and discover how it feels to be in their shoes.