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Meaningful Buyer Personas for the Buyer Journey: Decision Stage

Meaningful Buyer Personas for the Buyer Journey: Decision Stage

By Stephanie HawkinsJul 25 /2013

ice cream choicesYou know all that sales collateral you never get to use because it’s not “about the buyer”? Well, now’s the time to use it! Buyers in the decision stage are hungry for it. They’re looking for product information, and they want to know enough about your product to evaluate its relevance to their problem.

Sales Trainer Mike Bosworth says the decision stage is precarious because it’s where most buyers fall out of the buy cycle. According to Harte-Hanks’ study on how buyers buy, the decision stage is also where the most buyers are involved. Harte-Hanks found a mean of 2 (2.2) people are involved in the buying decision during awareness, while a mean of 4 (4.3) people are involved at the decision stage. To put that in context, a Senior Manager and an end user might be the only ones on the buyer journey during the awareness stage, but by the time they get to the decision stage, they’ve added the CFO and Head of Procurement to the buying decision team.

Buyer Personas for the Decision Stage

How should you develop personas for the decision stage? If, up until now, you’ve been interviewing one person, focus in on that person’s perception of the group dynamics of the decision at this stage. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  1. When you looked at our solution. Who was on the buying team?
  2. How did each person on the team get information about our solution? What were each of their initial reactions to what they saw? What questions did they have? What content or information was the most compelling to each person?
  3. Were there any dynamics at play that reflected internal tension about making purchase decisions? Did you have to clear any internal hurdles that were unrelated to our product to move on to the next stage? How did you all come to an agreement to move forward?

Create a model of what you find. Once you have the answers to these questions, enter them into an Excel spreadsheet or our buyer journey worksheet to segment them out. Make notes about each person on the buying decision team, what his or her thoughts were and what content he or she found most compelling. Also make a note of any internal conflicts that were taking place between the individuals on the team, with the goal of noticing patterns from client to client, should they emerge.

What should you do with this knowledge? First and foremost, make sure you’ve got content for each person on the team. If specific members of the team had certain questions, make something available that answers those questions with them in mind. Create more of the kind of content they like to consume, and promote it via segmented email if you’re using marketing automation.

If you arm everyone on the buying decision team with the content they need, they should have enough confidence to make the decision to buy. A purchase is the next step in this process, and it’s also the signaling behavior that gets us to the next stage in our journey: the often-overlooked but still important, support.

stephanie kaperaStephanie Kapera is a special projects coordinator for Kuno Creative and the co-founder of Up All Night Creative, a Raleigh-based content marketing agency that helps B2B and B2C companies develop magazine-quality web content. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn and Twitter!

Conquering Content Marketing

Photo credit: Pandorea

The Author

Stephanie Hawkins

Stephanie has 10+ years of experience creating quality content for innovative software and healthcare companies. She is passionate about using interviews and journalistic techniques to create content that truly resonates with target audiences. Stephanie lives and works in Raleigh, NC.