The power of knowing how and why your prospects buy - the B2P Blog

How Buyer Personas Can Build Buyer Empathy

How Buyer Personas Can Build Buyer Empathy
(6th in a series on empathy in B2B marketing)

When we last met…

Last week we looked at the power of (real) personas to not only describe WHO your prospects are but HOW and WHY they might value your offering.

We offered a FREE COPY of our short book on stories of personas that made a difference for companies we know. So now you have the first instrument for opening your heart to the people who are your prospects…

Now what?

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.

Gamification – we can create a contest for teams (especially sales!) to get answers right about who their customers are and how they think.

Meeting room stand-ins – we can create life-size examples of who your customers are so they can be present in your conference rooms
(I mean, Zoom rooms)!

What’s next?

Next week we will explore how knowing why you won or lost prospective customers can build empathy with them… and even between marketing and sales!