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The Enterprise Persona As A Story

By Hank Barnes | August 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

I’ve been revisiting the idea and importance of an Enterprise Persona, aka Ideal Customer Profile.  Fundamentally, the level of clarity here can focus and shape marketing efforts, product decisions, and sales pursuits.   Unfortunately, all too often, the definition is sorely lacking.  Some of the examples we hear:

Basically a very limited definition that may expose the number of companies you could pursue (a segment) but does little to nothing to really describe if they are a fit for you.

As we advise clients on this, we’ve asked them to focus on a variety of attributes in several categories.  Yes, firmographics matter, but so do psychographics (e.g. our Enterprise Technology Adoption profiles), technographics, business situations, resources, and so on.   We recommend building tables of these attributes with columns for ideal customers, acceptable customers, and unacceptable (basically attributes that should mean “qualify out”).

And then it hit me, with the help of Dave’s post.    This type of ideal customer profile is useful, but it is a bit like a messaging document (many may know I’m not a big fan of messaging documents).  It is flat, boring, uninspiring, and rarely memorable.   It’s just a lot of stuff.

What do we advocate over traditional messaging documents—stories.  Stories are memorable.  Stories add context.  Stories create the opportunity to extract memorable pieces.  Stories energize.

And that is the connection.

I think it may be time to think about your ideal customer profile as a story—What is the story of your ideal customer.

Source: Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Dave’s blog has a good example that starts in this direction.  Here is another made-up one.

We target mid-sized organizations in retail that have experienced rapid growth, but our now facing more challenges from larger more established companies that recognize them as a threat.

They got their start with their strategic use of technology (which is core to how they think about technology as what Gartner calls an SCD (Strict Planning, Collaborative Control of Technology Agenda, Dynamic pace of change) and seek to strengthen their position through savvy technology extensions that bring in concepts from other industries.

They have a tightly focused development team that works well with the business, and is open to outside resources that can help them learn and accelerate delivery.

They started with a big bet on AWS, but their growth has spurred them towards a multi-cloud strategy.

They want to work with vendors that are excited about the opportunity to drive strategic change and partner to challenge long standing industry beliefs to drive more value and better experiences into the industry.

This type of story captures many of the attributes that we mentioned, but is more memorable.  It paints a picture.   It guides messaging.  It guides targeting.  It could guide product choices.

It is your customer’s story.  It is your place in your customer’s story.

Can you tell your customer’s story?  Can others in your organization (consistently)?

If not, get to work–this would be more fun than just filling in a bunch of rows and columns in a table.


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