Cintell Study Finds Companies That Create, Use, and Consistently Maintain Personas Are More Likely to Exceed Lead and Revenue Goals

Dec 17, 2015

SaaS customer intelligence company Cintell, creators of the SmartPersona Customer Intelligence Platform, announced the availability of the 2016 Benchmark Study on Understanding B2B Buyers. The study found that organizations that exceed revenue and lead goals are more effective at creating, using, and consistently maintaining personas than companies that miss lead and revenue targets. In fact, companies that exceed lead and revenue goals are 2.2 times more likely to have and document personas than companies that miss these targets.

Though the concept of a persona--a fictional character used to understand a particular audience segment--has existed for years, this study sought to uncover why organizations fail to create, update, maintain, or apply persona intelligence in meaningful ways, rendering them ineffective. Insights were compiled from an industry-wide survey of business-to-business organizations to uncover how high-performing companies build buyer personas, operationalize buying insights, and refine intelligence on an ongoing basis.

The study was conducted by Cintell in partnership with the Marketing Advisory Network, MarketingProfs, ResearchScape, Target Marketing Magazine, ResearchScape, and DM News. Companies of all sizes across North America were represented in the 137 responses that were collected via an online survey during November 2015. Performance metrics are based on aggregate data, and no individual companies are identified.

Other key findings related to creating personas include:

  • Companies that exceed lead and revenue goals are 2.3 times more likely to research the drivers and motivations of their buyers, 1.6 times more likely to understand the fears and challenges of their buyers, and 2 times more likely to include the buying preferences of their personas than companies who miss these goals.
  • Only 52.6% of companies surveyed could account for the full buying committee with their personas.
  • 70% of companies that miss revenue and lead goals do not conduct qualitative persona interviews.
  • Companies that exceed lead and revenue goals were 3.8 times more likely to have an accountable resource internally dedicated to personas.

Key findings related to using personas include:

  • Only 8.2% of those surveyed felt that at least 75% of their organization could confidently name their personas and key attributes, revealing an enormous opportunity to help internal stakeholders understand buyers to be more relevant and customer-centric.
  • Only 21.2% of respondents reported their personas are stored in a format other than static PDF or printed document.
  • The most popular use of personas is by the content marketing team to guide messaging and tone of voice. Among companies that exceed revenue goals, the other two most popular use-cases for personas was for sales training and demand generation to inform campaign decisions.

Key findings related to maintaining personas include:

  • Companies that exceed lead and revenue goals are 7.4X more likely to have updated their personas in the last 6 months than those who have missed these goals.
  • 47.1% of companies who exceed revenue goals report themselves to be consistently effective at maintaining personas to reflect changes in the world of their buyers, whether regulatory (new laws) economic, technology-driven, and more.