Why ‘Persona’ initiatives fail in B2B

Robin Griffiths

Search the Web for ‘Personas’ and you’ll be overwhelmed by information on what they are, their purpose and how they are the best thing since sliced bread! But many Persona initiatives fail to change thinking and behaviours on the ground in product management, marketing and sales.

On closer inspection, you’ll notice that the majority of the thinking on Personas comes from a B2C heritage where the focus is on building a demographic style picture of the buyer’s background, personality, attributes and preferences. There’s no doubt that isolating and focusing on groups of buyers by common characteristics adds huge value when first designing and later marketing products and services that are bought by individuals.

In B2B, Personas are just one dimension of the customer framework you need to understand, which typically also incudes industry segment, business activities, products and propositions.

The reasons for this include capturing the wrong information on personas, thinking about personas in isolation to the industry segments and customer workflows you serve, failing to deliver useable sales tools within a reasonable timeframe.

Robin Griffiths

Robin’s background includes Director of Projects at industrial group Birmid Qualcast and Founder and Director of Cambridge Consulting Engineers. Robin went on to start Force12 Software and led the company for 6 years; securing $5m in venture capital funding and establishing operations in the USA and Europe. Robin left Force12 in early 2004 to found BPM Works.

Robin is an expert in insight-based selling and messaging development. He has developed programs for some of the world’s leading companies to equip sales people with the knowledge they need on customers and propositions to be more successful.

Robin has a First Class Honors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from King’s College London and a Masters Degree from Glasgow University.

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