We’ve all been there. You’re about to present to your board/boss/someone about the budget you need for next year, and a big part of that is persona development, maintenance, or persona management technology. You know deep down that personas lead to more EMPATHY in your organization, and are a vehicle for customer-centricity as your team members internalize the challenges and problems faced by your customers. But empathy is hard to put a dollar value to. This is business. We need ROI. We need tangible results. We need PROOF!

Luckily for you I am constantly on the hunt for these proof points. I hope you can drop some of these into your next presentation to the board, and as I find more I will absolutely be updating this post.

Benefits of personas across the business:

Persona-based marketing messaging:

  • Best practice demand creation strategy that includes more personalized and customized messaging built on personas yields two times the average sales pipeline. (SiriusDecisions)
    • Engages buyer earlier and more effectively
    • Focuses messaging; increases precision of targeting
    • Instills shared understanding between marketing, sales and product
    • Improves sales productivity
    • Transforms marketers into subject matter experts on their buyers
  • 90% of companies using Personas have been able to create a clearer understanding of who buyers are. (ITSMA)
  • 82% of companies using Personas have managed to create an improved value proposition. (ITSMA)

New product launches:

  • Ex: $1B+ Global Workforce Management Software saw 28% higher campaign response rate (SiriusDecisions)
  • Ex: Adobe saw a 10% increase in email orders, a decrease of 78% in time to market, 59% increase in web visitors and 53% increase in web revenue with persona-based launch (SiriusDecisions)

Persona-based campaigns:

  • EX: Siemens 200% higher engagement rates and 50% + CTR from persona-based nurture campaigns (SiriusDecisions)
  • PegaSystems saw a 20% increase in pipeline value, 100% increase in sales qualified leads year over year, 50% increase in conversion, and 5X more contacts mapped to a persona and responding to campaigns. (SiriusDecisions)
  • Using personas can drive results such as a 28% higher campaign response rate, 2-3 month shorter sales cycle, and 25% increase in marketing influenced revenue (SiriusDecisions)
  • Persona-driven marketing is 3X more effective (SiriusDecisions)
  • Campaign generated top-of-funnel inquiries increased by 721% (MetricaB2B)

Online / digital marketing improvements:

  • Persona-based website saw 210% increase in website traffic, 97% increase in website generated leads, 124% increase in website generated sales (MarketingSherpa)
  • 100% higher content downloads from Web site, 10-25% increase in marketing-influenced revenue (MarketingSherpa)
  • Online marketing generated opportunities increased by 73% with persona-based content approach (MarketingSherpa)
  • Online search traffic increased by 55% (MarketingSherpa)

Demand Generation:

  • Companies who exceed lead and revenue goals were 2.4X as likely to use personas for demand generation than those who missed lead and revenue goals. (Understanding B2B Buyers Benchmark Study, Cintell)
  • 8% of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals report segmenting their database by persona (Understanding B2B Buyers Benchmark Study, Cintell)
  • Persona based content increased customer engagement almost six-fold when targeting cold leads (10% versus 58%). (DemandGen)
  • Using Personas increases email open rate 2-5 times (Forrester)
  • Email Click-through-Rate increased by 10% (MarTechBlog)
  • Email revenue increased 18x compared to broadcast emails (Douglas Karr)

Using personas to help sales:

  • Using personas drove a 3X increase in closed sales deals (MarketingSherpa)
  • PegaSystems saw a 100% increase in sales qualified leads year over year (SiriusDecisions)
  • Persona-based lead generation led to 2-3 month shorter sales cycle (SiriusDecisions)

Using personas to help product development:

  • Persona-driven product development = 10-20% higher customer satisfaction levels (Pragmatic Marketing)
  • Market-driven companies are 2X faster getting new products to market (Pragmatic Marketing)
  • Customer-centric organizations are 3X more profitable (Pragmatic Marketing)

Putting personas to work:

Without personas, organizations waste $ on irrelevant content:

  • On average, 60-70% of b-to-b content goes unused, representing hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars wasted (SiriusDecisions)
  • “Lack of foundational research into targeting the right audience and understanding buyer needs and behavior causes a huge waste of resources.” (SiriusDecisions)
  • That waste can range from $0.2M annually in small companies under $100M, $2.1M annually for mid-sized companies under $1B, and $3.3M annually for companies over $1B (SiriusDecisions)

Keeping personas up-to-date:

Using external insights & primary research to build personas:

Storing personas in the cloud:

  • Centralized persona repository leads to 5X increase in use of personas (SiriusDecisions)

Documenting personas:

Building out the buying committee:

Go forth. Create that Powerpoint slide. Good luck!