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5 Buyer Personas and How They Help You Talk to Executives

We know getting access to top executives is important, but knowing what to do when you get there is a difference maker for world-class organizations.

We studied more than 1,600 executives to get a better understanding of how they make decisions. Based on our findings, we came up with five executive personas. They are:

  1. Charismatic (25 percent of executives fall into this profile). Executives who are Charismatics want the big picture — high level information. They want broad understanding before they make a decision. They also like to think aloud during meetings. You must have strong interactions with them and use visuals with graphs and facts.
  2. Thinker (11 percent). Thinkers are all about process. They want to understand how you get to the result. They want you to answer the question, “What process did you go through to get to the answer?”
  3. Skeptic (19 percent). You need to have some credibility before you see the skeptics. If you don’t have it, they’re not going to listen.
  4. Follower (36 percent). Followers want to make sure what you’re offering has worked before. You need to provide them with compelling case studies and give examples of what you’ve done and how it worked for other customers.
  5. Controller (9 percent). Controllers are the toughest crowd to please. You have to make it their idea or they won’t consider it. They are in total control of the conversation, so you need to leverage others to make it their idea.

Once you understand how executives make decisions through this framework, you can start thinking about how best to deliver your content. I’m going to warn you, most do it wrong.

We found that while 25 percent of all executives are charismatic, only 4 percent of all sales presentations are geared toward this group; 19 percent of executives are skeptical, 48 percent of all sales presentations are built for them.

There’s a major disconnect between the seller’s approach and the buyer’s approach, and that leads to missed opportunities. When you don’t make a connection with the executive because your approach is all wrong, you lose.

To learn more about how to make meaningful connections with executives, read our white paper on Four Insights all sales leaders must know.