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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Selling to different roles: Why build personas?

When there are different job roles within a company to sell to, it’s important to understand each one and the best ways to convert them. Creating buyer personas is a common sales and marketing activity that helps craft personalised and targeted outreach depending on who it is you are selling to.

Buyer personas vary drastically in detail. Some create an entire ‘persona’, including where they like to eat, what hobbies they have, their income levels, what news channels they read, and so on, while others keep it simple and focus on their key business interests and what their role involves in the company.

Here’s an example of the basic minimum buyer persona, using a technology company selling to the typical people involved in the buying process.

Finance Director

Interested in the financial activities within the business. The FD will relate to issues around risk, compliance and financially securing the business.


  • Want to reduce costs?
  • Want to avoid over-spend on IT solutions?
  • Employed to minimise risk across the company?
  • Often responsible for IT budget, particularly in a smaller business.


Typically, run project and client teams, and have direct reports but are client-facing. Generally have the budget to implement solutions within their department or team.


  • Understand and relate to issues of having to find information and getting visibility across the business
  • Understand risks to the business and where technology could provide a competitive advantage
  • Take an interest in industry peers and what competitors are doing

IT Managers

There are typically two types of IT Managers: Operational IT Managers who understand the importance of productivity and carry an objective to increase this; and future-thinking IT Managers who are interested in the likes of AI, big data, and cybersecurity, and are more from an Infrastructure background.


  • Want to consolidate data into one location?, removing information silos and improving accessibility and collaboratively
  • Tasked with reducing storage costs, duplication, and implementing something that is cost-effective
  • Monitors usage of technology solutions, and areas of circumvention
  • Responsible for protecting the businesses’ technology assets from digital risk, including cybersecurity?

Office Managers

Particularly in smaller businesses, Office Managers wear many hats. They mostly don’t have sign off power but are designated the responsibility for IT.


  • Useful as a sponsor as can organise meetings and next steps, but won’t fundamentally see value in the solution often.
  • Sometimes can provide administrative support to the Director, so a way in.
  • Will relate to a more organised office, and low-level benefits such as finding information. And technology efficiency.
  • Won’t be technical.

MDs and CEOs

Responsible for the overall running of the company. They will relate to themes around productivity, risk, and competitive advantage.


  • Able to make buying decisions quickly but harder to get in contact with
  • Will be interested in key competitors using the solution, and how it has helped their business
  • May be technical, but more interested in the benefits rather than the details
  • Driven to purchase by their own needs and pains ?

Understanding the differences

The key to selling to different roles is to understand the differences between them – what motivates them, what they are interested in, their role in the buying journey, their decision-making power, and so on.

As Doug Wyatt, The Buyer-Led Sales Expert, says: “Be clear on the buying committee.”


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