Ep. 111 – How to Leverage Buyer Personas for Better Marketing Results w/ Jim Kraus
How to Leverage Buyer Personas for Better Marketing Results

Effective and better results in B2B marketing (and sales for that matter) require a deeper understanding of what prospective customers need to know and experience before they buy. Understanding the prospect’s pain points, challenges, and what success looks like to them is also imperative.

Join us in our incredibly insightful conversation with B2B marketing expert Jim Kraus (President, Buyer Persona Institute), who talks to us about how buyer personas can and should be leveraged by marketing and sales teams. During our discussion, Jim talks about the top challenges facing marketers today and how organizations should use buyer persona insights to improve performance. Jim also highlights the results that organizations can achieve through buyer persona research and what mistakes to avoid.

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Topics discussed in episode

  • Jim talks about some of the top challenges that marketers are facing [1:53]
  • Jim explains what a buyer persona is and how it can turn challenges into opportunities [4:30]
  • The difference between a buyer persona and an ICP [10:45]
  • Some of the mistakes and misconceptions around buyer personas, and what should be done to address them [12:42]
  • Jim explains how organizations should use buyer persona insights to improve marketing and sales performance [15:27]
  • The kind of results that B2B organizations can achieve through buyer persona research [19:50]
  • Jim provides some actionable tips on how B2B marketers can leverage buyer persona research for better results [24:29]
  • Jim talks about how often companies or marketers should review the buyer personas that they have and update them [30:09]

Companies and links mentioned



Christian Klepp, Jim Kraus

Christian Klepp  00:03

Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for change makers where we question the conventional, debunk marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp.

Christian Klepp  00:44

All right, folks, welcome to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry and take your marketing to new heights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today, I’m joined by someone on a mission to help B2B companies to discover what their prospective customers need to know and experience before they will buy. So coming to us from Chatham, New Jersey, Mr. Jim Kraus, welcome to the show.

Jim Kraus  01:10

Thanks for having me, Chris. And looking forward to it.

Christian Klepp  01:13

Same here, Jim. I mean, this is a pretty… for lack of a better description, pertinent topic. So well, let’s dive in.

Jim Kraus  01:21

Sounds great.

Christian Klepp  01:21

All right. So Jim, your area of expertise lies in helping companies, as I said, to discover what their prospective customers need to know and experience before they buy. But for this conversation, let’s focus on a topic that I’m gonna say it’s become part of your professional mission and that is, how to leverage buyer personas for better and more effective results in marketing. So let’s kick off this conversation with a question. What do you think are some of the top challenges facing marketers today?

Jim Kraus  01:53

Yeah, I think there’s a few different challenges that come to mind. And it’s probably the ones that perhaps I see the most often in my day to day. One of them certainly is just focus and prioritization, particularly in today’s you know, more difficult economic environment, there’s any number of things that marketers could be doing to help the business,  to help the sales force, identify and close more leads. And, you know, really trying to determine where do I really focus? What are the things that I should be doing and doing more of? And what are some of the things that I should be doing less of or even stopping, because we have insights that, you know, would lead us firmly to believe that they’re not really paying dividends, and they’re not really aligned to what buyers want and need most, to really trust and make decisions. I think the other area that we see marketers really challenged with is just how do they really influence buyers, and feel confident that their efforts are working? So you know, marketers are talented folks. So there’s any number of different marketing motions and things that they can be doing to help the business. But one of the things is, how can… one of the big challenges they have is how can you really feel assured that you really know your buyers really, really well. And you really understand that word, then when they’re making these buying decisions, that you’re giving them exactly what they need to know, and experience to trust you and your company to make that buying decision? So I think those are the two biggest things, probably, if I had to identify two right now that we see the most.

Christian Klepp  03:27

Absolutely, absolutely. Just a follow up question. On that point. Do you think a lot of the challenges also lie in companies being a little bit too obsessed with pushing out too much information about their product features and the solutions that they provide versus helping to solve the customer’s problems?

Jim Kraus  03:47

Yeah, I think that’s, that’s definitely part of it. And it’s one of those things where if you don’t know exactly what buyers want need, you’re left with the unenviable task of trying to communicate everything to them, which is very difficult, because they’re already inundated with so much information, you only have so little time to really connect with them in a real way. So yeah, I think that’s definitely one of the contributions to it.

Christian Klepp  04:11

Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s a pretty good segue into the next question, which is how can buyer personas turn these challenges into an opportunity. And one question, one point that you raised just before I hit record was probably starting by explaining what a buyer persona is.

Jim Kraus  04:30

Yeah, so this is pretty fundamental, probably to everything else we’re going to talk about. And one of the things, the ways you can turn buyer personas into a real opportunity is just to shift your thinking on what your definition of a buyer persona may be, right? So I’ll refer to this for lack of a better word as a modern buyer persona. And what the fundamental difference between that and what you folks may think of the buyer persona is a modern buyer persona, and the way that we advocate doing them is really focused on understanding a specific buying decision, not just a profile of individuals or roles that are involved in that buying decision. And there’s a huge difference in that, you know, the former, when you’re focused on the buying decision, you’re trying to understand a buyer’s needs, concerns, key decisions, key questions that they’re going to want to have answers to, from providers, or thinking about, if you’re just profiling roles, it doesn’t give you those insights. You know, it just gives you information about maybe somebody’s education or information sources they use, even their priorities, overall priorities and challenges that doesn’t give you the insights you need to really develop very compelling marketing and sales plays, when you’re trying to influence a specific decision. So that’s, so that’s number one.

Jim Kraus  05:52

I think another key aspect of how we define buyer personas is how do you get that information? How do you get those insights. And the way to do it, the best way to do it is to talk to recent buyers, have in depth interviews with recent buyers. And what I mean by recent buyers is going out and talking to buyers that have recently made the exact same buying decision that you’re trying to influence. These aren’t necessarily your current customers, these are folks, individuals that you would have wanted in your sales pipeline, so that you have full visibility of all the buying decisions that are being made, that you’re going to really care about. When you talk to these individuals, the reason it’s so important is because you have an opportunity to really listen to their entire buyer’s story from the initial point where they had a need for a solution like yours, all the way until the point where they make a final decision. And all points in between. So the last piece, which it will take a minute to talk about, but I think it’s really important here is what are the key components of that buyer persona, right? So I just indicated that you really want to focus on the buying decision. That’s all well and good. But what are the things you really want to understand within the buying decision. And there’s five that are really critical, we call them the five rings of buying insight, just a name we’ve given them over the years. But the first one is priority… we call priority initiatives. And this is where you’re really trying to understand what are the triggers? What are the things that are causing buyers to look for your particular solution at this point in time, right? Because they may have had a challenge they’re trying to fix or an opportunity they’re trying to attack for any length of time. But what is the thing that really got them started? The second one we call success factors and success factors are benefits, outcomes. What do buyers in their own words, want to realize from their investment? How do they define success? Third one is called perceived barriers. This is one of my favorite ones for lack of a better word, because perceived barriers are all the fears and concerns that they’re going to have buying or making this investment or making this investment with you. And this is really important, because when you talk about B2B Marketing, a lot of these decisions are high consideration decisions. There’s probably some significant investment, there’s multiple decision influencers, there’s worry about, hey, if this doesn’t go the way we hoped it would there’s negative ramifications from it. So buyers are going to have concerns, you want to know what those are, so you can proactively address them. So that’s number three. The fourth one is decision criteria. And decision criteria is literally all the questions that they’re going to have of you, right. So they’re going to figure out who they want to consider. They’re going to look at different options, they’re going to winnow down their choices, you want to know what is all the decision criteria that they actually use to make that buying decision. And then the fifth and final one is buyers journey. And that’s simply what are the steps that they took in their purchase process. Who were the key influencers involved, what information sources they use and trust. So if you think about a buyer persona like that, where you’ve got insight into all those five key areas that will really address many of the marketing and sales opportunities you have, but also some of the challenges that I just mentioned as well. So that’s really a shift in thinking.

Christian Klepp  09:18

Absolutely, absolutely. No, thanks for sharing that. That is a pretty comprehensive list. I had two follow up questions for you, Jim. If you don’t mind, just based on what you’ve been talking about in the past couple of minutes. I like to start out with the one where you’re talking, where you referring to the need to have conversations with customers. And do those interviews to understand and get those extract those insights right to understand what their customers are dealing with their challenges, their concerns. How important do you think it is also to conduct interviews not necessarily just with existing clients but also perhaps maybe leads that have either gone stale or lost leads?

Jim Kraus  09:59

Absolutely. Really critical, right. So one of the key things that the reason you want to… when I say recent buyers, quote unquote, I’m literally talking about it could include some of your current customers, no question about it. But it could also very much include opportunities you’ve never seen, as well as the ones that you mentioned, leads that maybe you had initially that for whatever reason, whether you decided not to make an investment or they made a different decision. All those are fantastic inputs to round out your personas.

Christian Klepp  10:26

Okay. Absolutely. Absolutely. And the second question, which, you know, I’ve seen talk about this on LinkedIn, and people, as I said, earlier, people use these terms interchangeably, but highlight for us, if you will, the difference between a buyer persona and an ICP.

Jim Kraus  10:45

Right. So an ICP is your ideal customer profile is, you know, this is the customer that I always think of ICP, as, this is the type of customer that is ideally suited for your product or service. This is the kind that will be, it’ll be easy to make the sale, it’ll be easier for them to understand your value proposition, there’ll be more of an advocate for your brand and for your products and services. Right, that’s kind of your ideal customer profile. If you think about a time where you’re making a sale, and if everything just seems to be clicking, that’s your ideal customer, the ideal customer profile. There’s not a huge difference from buyer persona. And the reason I say that is because when you do a buyer persona, you know, when I talked about going out and talking to recent buyers, you want to define very specifically, what is the type of recent buyer that I want to go talk to, right, and you make a very conscious decision about this. So when we work with our clients to do buyer personas, we literally do an one hour study design meeting, where we meticulously define, what is that… What is that target? And it’s important, because you may define something about the solution, right? It’s not just a certain tech solution, for example, and certain tech solution with certain features. That is really where your focus, right, or it’s certain characteristics of the buyer that you define. And you want to define all of those, and then go out and talk to recent buyers. So you can make a decision, you can talk focus just on your ICPs. And define your specs that way. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. And that’s a great approach. If you want to go outside your ICP, and you’re looking for market expansion, or you’re just trying to say, hey, what other segments of the market maybe can we learn something? That’s a reason to also look outside your ICP?

Christian Klepp  12:29

Absolutely, absolutely. So, onto the next question, which I’m pretty sure you will have no problem answering. Um, talk about the mistakes and misconceptions and what should be done to address those.

Jim Kraus  12:42

Sure. Yeah. So yeah, so we got I’ll focus on the one that we just started talking about, because it’s so important. I mean, buyer personas, you know, my organization’s called Buyer Persona Institute. And, you know, one of the things we’ve talked about in the past is, you know, do we change the name of it to something else, and literally, because there’s this preconception about what a buyer persona is. So the biggest one is, again, going back is if, if you’re defining buyer persona, and you’re thinking about it as just a fictional avatar of that describes a decision maker and I say, decision maker, I mean, a role and individual, that you can definitely do better than that, that’s only going to take you so far, as far as how much that’s going to really inform your marketing and sales effort, it’s not going to really enable you to differentiate yourself in any kind of way. The thing to do about it is to make the change. If you’re not doing that, and focus on the buying decision, as I just described, it’s really a game changer. Because it you know, some of our some of our clients call them our the buyer personas, cheat sheets, because it literally will tell you everything you need to know to inform your marketing and sales efforts. So that’s, that’s really the key one. The other thing I will mention, for those that may be experiencing these pain points, if you’re focused on buyer personas that are focused on individuals and roles, there’s probably a couple of ways you’re going to know that you’re in pain, for lack of a better word. One is you’re probably gonna have too many personas, right? We’ve had, you know, I’ve met folks that have had 20, 30, 50, up to 100 personas. First of all, you have to ask yourself, are you ever going to be able to have the resources to invest in all of those personas, and it also just adds a lot of unnecessary complexity to what you’re trying to do. The other place that you’re probably going to feel it is you just don’t have the insights that you need. When you’re really sitting down and trying to develop marketing plans, marketing content messaging, you’re just going to have a lot of questions. It’s going to take you too far. Those are kind of the two main pain points that we see.

Christian Klepp  14:49

Hang on a second. Did you say 100 personas?

Jim Kraus  14:53

Yeah, yeah, for large global matrix companies. We’ve seen that before and we’ve had… folks come to us with their hands in the air to saying, you know, help. What do we do? What do we do? Yeah. And the good news is there’s a, this is a remedy for it. The hard part about it is, if you’re down a path where there’s this belief in these role based personas, and you can’t get off that train, so to speak, you know that that can be a hindrance to do it. But if you have the flexibility to do it, and you’re open to new approaches, this could be a real lifesaver.

Christian Klepp  15:27

Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. How do you think organizations should use buyer persona insights to improve marketing and sales performance?

Jim Kraus  15:38

So I guess I’ll answer that question with where we see them use the most often. And we advocate for it, and we the ones that are really doing it and doing it well, are using them in a myriad of places. So from I would say three functional areas marketing, sales and product. From a marketing perspective, we see them a lot in taking a fresh look at positioning, we see them used a lot for campaign, and content inspiration, idea generation, right, just a fresh look at just these different ways that you’re…. these different motions you have. Coming up with new ones or refreshing them. We see them using and messaging quite a bit. Obvious, obvious value for messaging, I think the key place where we see people really using them effectively is when they focus their messaging at all stages of the buyers journey. Another way to think about it is these buyers personas will inform messaging at each stage of the funnel from top of the funnel all the way to bottom and middle, particularly when you get the perceived barriers and decision criteria, because now you’re really starting to get into how do you drive conversion when they’re taking a hard look at their alternatives. So that’s from a marketing perspective, that’s where we see it. Sales, we see a couple different places we see sales plays, you know, coming up with conversation starters, you know, sales, a lot of sales folks, what they really want to know is when they’re approaching new prospects is give me some insight about what I can go talk to these folks about, that’s going to be something they’re going to want to talk about. And oh, by the way, it’s something where we have a good story to tell. We have capabilities, we see them using battle cards, we see them used for objection handling, because of the buyer personas will identify many times a lot of objections that you’re that you’ll face. So that really prepares the Sales force. And then from a product perspective, we’ll say the key thing we see from product is it helps the product development folks kind of focus in on on the features and capabilities that are really making a difference when a buying decision is being made. Right. So you’ve got 10, 15 key features, and you’re messaging to all of them, you know, you do a buyer persona, I can guarantee that list is going to be dwindled down to a far fewer than that. And that’s really where you want to place your bets. And maybe you don’t make any changes to your product or service. It’s just more about how you market and sell it. But we’ve often seen times where people have actually made changes because they see that competitively they’re at a deficit versus some of the alternatives their buyers are thinking about. So those are the three I would say main areas we see it.

Christian Klepp  18:11

Yeah, yeah. No, that’s, that’s super interesting. And I think it’s definitely something that you brought up which I, which I would have imagined, it wouldn’t be the case of many companies. When you develop a buyer persona, it’s not something that’s set in stone, right? It’s something that probably will evolve as customers change their habits and behaviors and motivations. Change them. I would say that.

Jim Kraus  18:34

Absolutely. I’d say that’s one thing. And then the second reason to update them is if there’s a significant change in the market environment, right? So maybe there’s a new competitor or a new feature coming out or etc. So those are the two primary reasons that you should be looking to update it or refresh it.

Christian Klepp  18:50

If I didn’t know any better, you guys probably had your work cut out for you in the past two or three years with a lockdown with a pandemic? I mean, because behaviors changed like overnight, almost.

Jim Kraus  19:02

Yeah, certainly, I would say the biggest change that we saw, when you think about the components of the buyer persona was the buyers journey to some of the things that were going on in the buyers journey, more virtual. Things of that nature. And then also just, I would say some of the decision criteria and triggers were different. So we saw a lot of, you know, as an example, we do a lot of research and in the B2B tech space, and all of a sudden, anything that had to do with virtual technology over the last couple of years, became a huge trigger that initiated changes in organizations looking for certain solutions. And it also became a huge factor in the decision process as far as who and what they’re gonna go with.

Christian Klepp  19:50

Yeah, yeah, I’m so sure I’m so sure that was the case. If it’s done properly, oh, what kind of results can organizations achieve through buyer personal research.

Jim Kraus  20:02

There’s a couple of different categories of results that we see the most often. And maybe we can talk about later on, maybe we can talk about maybe results we’ve seen with a particular organization. But I would say the four main areas that we see that buyers really, I mean, our clients get really excited about, or folks that do this on their own is number one is alignment across marketing, sales and product. And you know, and I know that sounds like kind of a soft result. But it’s, it’s a really pretty powerful one, because it gets everybody on the same page, because now you’re doing unbiased, objective interviews with recent buyers that represent the marketplace. And one of the things with your buyer persona is it comes with an abundance of buyer quote, so you’re actually hearing what buyers say, it’s just something that everybody can rally around. So you’re all on the same page, you know, rowing in the same direction with every cliche you want to use. That’s number one. The other thing that we’re seeing, particularly I mentioned, I think I mentioned this earlier, is organizations are getting a lot of insight about where they should be focused, and how they should be prioritized. So it just adds like a level of sanity where you can kind of take a deep breath and say, Okay, well, it’s we’re doing all these things, right, and tough economic environment, we’ve got more than enough to do, Where’s the places that we really want to keep doing or double down or started doing fresh? And what are the things we can really just you know what, leave those alone, they’re not really having an impact. The third place, I would say, is alignment of messaging. You know, the folks that really use the personas are ones that take a look at their messaging. And instead of trying to message to every single decision maker, which is really difficult to do, they say, how do I figure out? How do I optimize my messaging at every stage in the buyers journey? You know, how do I message to them to get them to initially consider us? How do I message them when they’re really looking at their different alternatives? And how do I message communicate to them when it’s, you know, crunch time when they’re really making their final decision? And I would say the last area that we see organizations get a lot of value from these is where to focus product and service features and identifying what are the ones that matter most? And what are the ones that where we can provide unique differentiated value and double down on those? You know, I would say those are the four areas if you will, as far as results.

Christian Klepp  22:27

Fantastic, fantastic. No, thanks for sharing those. I’m actually I have one question going back to what you were saying earlier about the buyers journey and mapping that out. And clearly one of the benefits that marketers can take away from developing that as understanding what touch points along the journey will be vital to the customer. And that will also help them decide where to focus their initiatives on and also, in turn develop that content to help move these folks along. And, you know, wherever they are in that journey.

Jim Kraus  23:01

Absolutely correct. So you know, and, you know, you’re we hear a lot about every buyers journey is different, and they are, but I will tell you, having done hundreds and 1000s of these interviews, focused on specific buying decision, and there’s major things right, you can take any type of buying decision and you can break it into some pretty significant chunks of things they’re doing. And you can really rally around those things and say, How can we make this as good as it can be, put our company in the best possible light, and to also educate buyers? Because they’re, they’re craving that education.

Christian Klepp  23:35

And we all know, in the world of B2B How much time these prospective like customers and these buying groups spend in terms of research conducting their own research, right?

Jim Kraus  23:44

Absolutely. Yep. There’s a lot of things they’re doing before they even reach out to you. And then there’s a lot of important things you’re doing once they have reached out to you. So you got to you got to be on point in both stages.

Christian Klepp  23:56

Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay, Jim, we get to the part of the show where we’re talking about actionable tips. So give us something actionable here. And I’d want to throw in this caveat that, Let’s appreciate that. You know, a lot of things that you do, they can’t be done in one day. But if somebody were listening to this conversation that you and I are having, and you’d want them to walk away with three to five things that they can implement right now, when it comes to buyer personas, right? So what can they do right now to leverage buyer personas for better results.

Jim Kraus  24:29

I’ll give you two things, just to try to keep things a little bit simple. Number one is if you’re not currently investing in and when I say investing, I mean you proactively developing buyer personas that are focused on buying decisions. I would highly recommend you start taking a look at doing that rather than the buyer personas that are just focused on individuals and roles. It really is a game changer. So that’s number one. We talked a lot about that. So I won’t rehash that. The second thing I would recommend to do is if you’re able to do these buyer personas based on buying decisions is to conduct a very simple, what we call an activation exercise. So how do you actually take your buyer persona? And you know, turn the crank and say, Okay, now what do we do with it. And there’s a very simple exercise simple in the, you know, the model behind it, but it takes a little objective, honest examination of your capability. So what you do is, think of a simple Venn diagram, where you got two circles. One circle is everything that buyers want, need to know and experience to have trust in your brand and your solution and want to work with you. That’s essentially your buyer persona. Right? So you’ve got that one circle. The other circle is your capability. So what is your organization able to do, able to do well, and in particular, things that you do that are differentiated, take those two, and what is the intersection of those two, because in the middle of those two things, is the sweet spot, because now you’ve identified, here’s a place where we know, buyers have wants and needs related to their buying decision. And we know that we’ve got a good story to tell, we’ve done the work to examine ourselves and say, here’s where we can really deliver. And what you’re going to identify is, you know, a small number, typically, we see organizations anywhere from four or five, maybe six, overall value proposition themes that emerge at that intersection. And these are the four or five things that you can really bet on, right? When you’re developing marketing assets, messaging, when you’re developing sales plays, these are things you can really focus on. And use those use that exercise to identify what those value proposition themes are, and use those really to guide all your marketing and sales efforts. That has a huge impact. And we’ve seen time and time again, that companies that do that exercise, after they develop their buyer persona, really get significantly better results for the investment.

Christian Klepp  27:11

Okay, okay. I mean, but that certainly is helpful. I hope the folks that are listening to this will immediately go and implement these because, like Jim said, You’re gonna do yourself a favor. Right? Okay. And we were gonna get to this point in the conversation. So give us an example of an organization, you probably have hundreds of examples, but just give us one, an example of a company that’s used by buyer’s persona most effectively.

Jim Kraus  27:37

Yeah, so the nice thing about the work that we do, and some of the work that we, we see that our clients doing is, they tend to get pretty passionate about this approach, because it really guides a lot of their decision making and the things they’re able to do. So you know, one client I was thinking of, I don’t want to name the client, but it was a recent B2B tech client. And you know, they, they really ran with it, we develop the buyer persona with them. And then they just went out and just started taking a lot of great action. So some of the things they did is they updated their tagline. They refresh their messaging across the board, they refresh it on their website, they refresh it, and on their demand gen and lead nurture nurturing campaigns, they updated across all of their sales materials. They even changed their, their value proposition and the content that we’re putting out at conferences. The other thing that they did was… it sparked a lot of new ideas for new thought leadership content. So you know, trying to decide, you know, regardless of what the channel of thought leadership they were using, they started developing new content that they knew would help them at different stages in the buyers journey. This particular organization, they did a buyer persona with us about a year ago or so. Since that time, they’ve doubled their leads year over year from the time before that, and they’ve made significant improvements in their conversion rates, which is really exciting. I always get excited about the improvement in conversion rates. Because that tells you that now you’re really understanding buyers, you’re really understanding those perceived barriers and decision criteria that I mentioned earlier. So whenever we hear that somebody’s using a buyer persona, they make the investment in something like this, and they use it and they start really converting more. That’s pretty exciting, because that just shows a depth of understanding the buyer and a real commitment to making changes in marketing and sales, to see real results. So that’s always exciting.

Christian Klepp  29:48

Absolutely, absolutely. And that was indeed an incredible case study. That was one question that that I wanted to ask you as a follow up, which I probably should have asked you earlier but how often, in your professional opinion, how often should companies or marketers review the buyer personas that they have and update them?

Jim Kraus  30:09

Yeah, so we get that question quite a bit. I don’t have a hard answer for you. But I will say, a couple of things I think we were talking about earlier worth repeating. One is, if you’re really sensing in the marketplace, that there is a shift in the buying market, meaning that either buyers are wanting needing different things in the space that you operate in, or you’ve got certain competitors that are offering features, capabilities, even whole new business models for how to deal with the specific needs that your solution addresses. Those are all good reasons or even a change in the buying process. The other thing, too, is I think part of it is companies just know, right, they just they get a sense, they start seeing that, hey, our stuff starting to feel a little stale, a little dated, we’re not getting that lift that we used to see, the conversations that we’re having with our with our prospective buyers aren’t as easy as they used to be. That’s another kind of sign to do it. So you know, two, three years is often very typical. But it could be quicker than that. It could be longer than that, depending.

Christian Klepp  31:19

I mean, the long and short of it is it really depends, or it really depends on all these different factors that you just mentioned. Right. On to the next question, which is, are buyer personas are more or less important today than they were 5 to 10 years ago.

Jim Kraus  31:37

Yeah, I mean, I, you know, I’m probably a little bit biased here, right. This isn’t my day to day, and I think they were so critical five to 10 years ago. So I’ll answer it this way. I mean, I think you just have to… the thing that we always try to do is we try to put our shoes in the buyer and the buyer shoes every single day. Right? You know, it’s you know, a lot of times you’ll hear this, folks say selling is hard. Well, I could argue that buying particularly high consideration products and service is even harder, right? So think about the proliferation of information that buyers are exposed to every single day. You cannot waste an opportunity with them, right, you need to be relevant to them. And you need to be consistent throughout their buyers journey. Right. So to do that, to be relevant quickly. And to really give them what they need throughout the buyers journey, you need to understand them really, really well. So that’s number one. And I would say that’s, that’s increasing, not decreasing as far as the information that, that’s at their disposal. The other reason I would say they’re more important is just the level of anxiety about making smart buying decisions. We are finding, you know, I’ve seen some really good studies over the last three or six months about how much indecision is such a driving factor in companies not getting business and how a big reason for the indecision is buyers are just afraid of messing up, right. It’s the fear of commission, which is, you know, fear of changing the status quo. So there’s a lot of anxiety right now. And again, you go back to the buyer persona, if you understand their perceived barriers and the decision criteria and what they’re looking to get from the investment. You’ve got everything you need to decrease the level of buyer anxiety by making them feel like hey, you know, this company gets me, they’ve got the product and services to be able to help me, they’re helping me visualize how I can get to a successful outcome. Those are, you know, indispensable. So I would argue that they’re as important probably more important than they were 5, 10 years ago.

Christian Klepp  33:47

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I mean, I would, I would pretty much say the same thing because the market, I think it’s under extreme stress. Things have become certainly… there are higher levels of complexity across different economic environments and ecosystems. And it calls for, as you said, like just the regular monitoring of the market, keeping your pulse on what’s going on and understanding what’s changed in the customers world.

Jim Kraus  34:16

Yeah, absolutely.

Christian Klepp  34:17

Absolutely. Okay. So, one of my favorite questions on the show, a status quo that you passionately disagree with, and why.

Jim Kraus  34:31

Yeah, I’m gonna sound like a broken record on this one. But, ya know, I’m gonna say the status quo is against settling for, you know, either giving up on buyer personas because you just have some view about what a buyer’s persona is or isn’t. And that view right now is that there’s a value in them. I would encourage you to think about redefining and looking at a more modern buyer persona, which is what we’ve been talking about during our discussion, because they really are they really are game changers. The beauty of them is that it’s not only because they’re very actionable, they’re very logical. They just make sense, right? It’s something the business can look at and say, Oh, this makes total sense. And now that you’ve put it in this framework, and you’re going to talk to recent buyers to get these insights, wow, that’s something that we can really get behind, you know, so that’s the thing that, you know, that’s the torch that I carry every day, so to speak, to try to send that message into and to communicate another way. Another approach.

Christian Klepp  35:36

Yes. And rightly so. And rightly so. Fantastic. Jim, thank you so much for coming on the show and for sharing your expertise and experience with the audience. So please, quick introduce yourself, and how folks out there can get in touch with you.

Jim Kraus  35:50

Yeah. So thanks for having me, Christian. I really enjoyed this conversation. So thank you for that. And I guess two places is buyerpersona.com is our website. Feel free to stop by there. We put a lot of thought material out there, as well, as well as templates and different things that you can use. And then the other place if anybody wants to connect with me on LinkedIn, I’m at Jim Kraus. Try to publish things as much as I can out there. I’d love to connect with you on that on that platform as well.

Christian Klepp  36:21

Fantastic. Fantastic. Once again, Jim, thanks so much for your time. Take care, stay safe and talk to you soon.

Jim Kraus  36:27

Thank you, Christian. Take care now.


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