Successful marketing and sales both trace their roots to one core piece of your business strategy: your company’s accurate, targeted buyer personas.

These buyer personas run the show; They determine how and where you market your products and services, and they can determine how your sales team approaches potential customers.

Unfortunately, many companies don't realize that their buyer personas may have an expiration date. At the very least, they need to be updated and refined periodically.

If your assumptions and accepted truths about your customer’s pain points are no longer accurate, your marketing efforts simply won’t be effective in the long term.

To stay relevant, your marketing team needs to approach these marketing assets as living documents that need to be updated and maintained over time.

Fortunately, your sales team is in the perfect position to help. With the right conversations and the right questions, they can help your marketing team develop fresh, accurate profiles.

With these refined personas, your marketing department will be able to generate more targeted leads for sales.

Here’s a look at four questions your sales or marketing team can ask customers to update your buyer personas:

1. “What is your biggest challenge when it comes to ___________?”

The first step in updating your profiles is to understand how your client’s needs have changed over time.

  • What problem keeps them up at night?
  • Is it the same problem as when you first created these personas?
  • What trends and technological developments have influenced their business or personal success?

You need to continue to analyze the path that your clients take towards becoming your customer based on the information you’ve gathered from working with them for so long.

Then, if possible, use your lead intelligence to help you make better decisions about nurturing this customer along your sales pipeline.

2. “If you could accomplish one thing, what would it be?”

This question speaks to the most important thing to understand about your customer: how they behave and the “Why” behind it.

First, the client’s answer will give you a clear indication of what motivates them, what is important to them, and how your products and services can help them reach this goal.

This is incredibly valuable information to capture in a buyer persona because each answer can have a profound effect on your entire marketing strategy.

Second, building and updating your profiles with behavior-based information will help you intelligently evaluate your customer’s goals and make informed assumptions about how each client will respond to your marketing efforts.

This inside-out understanding of how and why your client acts can give you insight into how and why your marketing strategy works.

3. “Where do you typically search for or find information about products like ours?”

Once you have an updated understanding of how and why your ideal client profile acts, it’s time to make sure your outreach strategies are still appropriate.

Ask yourself the following questions to identify where your ideal clients spend their time offline and online:

  • Are they active on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter?
  • Do they read blogs and news sites? If so, do they prefer educational articles or industry news?
  • What’s the most engaging format? Do they prefer video clips or blog posts? Infographics or tweets?
  • How much time do they spend researching each of your products?

Each answer will give you insight into whether or not your outreach efforts are as effective as they could be. You may even discover a new marketing opportunity that wasn’t on your radar, but that would help you tap into new customers.

4. “If you decide to do business with us today, who signs the check?”

Above all else, it is vital that you understand who makes the ultimate decision to do business.

Pack your ideal customer profile with detailed information about the name, role, industry, and company information as well as the demographic and personal information of the client, too.

A thorough understanding of the decision maker’s personal history and motivation will help you make even more accurate educated speculations.

This will also help you understand how many people are involved in the decision-making process, which can feed into your content marketing efforts as you target content toward each decision maker.

The more you pay attention to what your prospects and customers say, the more you learn. Rather than moving forward with established (and possibly outdated) customer profiles, evaluate each of your assumptions to see how they’ve changed over time.

The more detailed your ideal customer profile, the more targeted your efforts can be, and your marketing strategy should reflect that learning.

Use your marketing and sales team to help you create more informed profiles, and encourage them to ask the right questions to help them refine their personas with true, accurate information and added detail.

Free Guide - 5 Proven Components of a B2B Online Lead Generation Campaign
photo credit