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Are your marketing personas your sales market segments?

Marketing is supposed to lead to sales, right? So why is it that we marketers sometimes throw up unnecessary impediments to selling things? I’ve talked in the past about how you better make sure that the steps in your marketing Buyer Journey matches the phases of Sales Funnel. That way, when you learn which content is moving prospects in the Buyer Journey, you can suggest the same content for sales people to share with their clients for offline sales.

Today, I want to talk about something similar. All marketers worth their salt have created a set of personas. And they are important, because they fuel your content strategy–it is always easier to write for a specific audience. Personas give your writers a specific person to write for. The problem comes in when you haven’t thought through how those personas relate to market segments.

Market segments are often used in marketing plans to decide which groups of prospects to target, but they are also frequently used in sales plans. Often, sales teams take different approaches with different market segments. Sometimes they use a different sales pitch, emphasize different features, or even offer different packages and pricing.

Market segments are not equivalent to personas. Market segments, especially in B2B, can be based merely on the firmographics of the prospect company (company size, industry, geography, etc.) while personas describe individual people that comprise the buying team (HR partner, C-level executive, plant manager, etc.). Even in B2C, market segments are often rooted in demographics while personas pursue motivations and psychographics to deeply address customer intent.

When this disconnect occurs, you lose some key advantages. You might have all sorts of data (big and otherwise) about which content moves which personas from step to step in the Buyer Journey, but no way to apply that to your offline opportunities that salespeople are working through the Sales Funnel.

To bridge this gap, you need to do a little more work. Make sure that your salespeople understand (and influence) the formation of your personas. Personas should be constructed so that salespeople can readily assign their prospects to marketing personas–their individual prospects in B2B situations–so that your CRM system can suggest the right content for salespeople to share with them.

How would that work? Your marketing analytics can help you know which content is moving different personas from step to step in the Buyer Journey. If you have aligned your Buyer Journey to your CRM’s Sales Funnel, you already have some built-in great ideas for salespeople to share with their clients to move them deeper into the funnel. Aligning personas to market segments and then to individual members of client prospect teams takes it one step further.

Keep asking yourself how to better align marketing and sales and take more advantage of your marketing materials to actually grow revenue.

Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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