Lead Generation is a business built on targeting the right customer and successfully appealing to their needs with your or your client's product or service offering. With the scope of the marketplace and the change in buying behaviour over recent years, we have found that creating in-depth Buyer Personas is vital to any successful Lead Generation campaign and can have many rewards. Primarily, the understanding of who exactly your target customers are and the best ways in which to engage them with your brand.

If you have been following along from our previous blog, you may now have half a dozen or so Personas; each with carefully created bio’s and detailed marketing strategies – but what about the customers that you don’t want to do business with?

So what is a Negative Persona?

“A negative persona is a semi-fictional rendition of your less than ideal customers. A collection of behaviours, demographics and real life scenarios that disqualify them from your pool of happy, paying customers”.

At first the idea of turning away any potential customer can seem crazy in today’s market but, by developing a defined idea of not only your ideal customers but those you would rather avoid sales and marketing can work more effectively to drive successful sales figures.

When trying to identify the groups of customers that you would rather not do business with the first place to look is your existing customers. Your sales arm knows everything about these companies; you have after all done business with them – so you should know quite clearly how profitable they can be.

Consider the difficult clients;

  • The clients where you’ve had to make more concessions that you would usually be comfortable with just to make a deal.
  • The times you feel like the work you’re being asked to produce doesn’t represent your services accurately.
  • Those who have requested an amalgamation of services in a way you wouldn’t ideally work.
  • Have there been times when you’ve walked away from an interaction with a client feeling that despite your best efforts and the hours your team have devoted to them you’ve been short changed?

Most of the time, the old adage ‘the customer is always right’ rings true and we do our best to go above and beyond for our customers because at the end of the day it’s our name, our brand, and our reputation that they are paying for. But when customers ask for something that is so far removed from standard practice, where do you the draw the line?

Your company brand is your holy grail and doesn’t deserve to be portrayed by sub-standard services so, if by examining your current customers you realise that there is a segment that regularly costs you more time, money or effort than usual with little to no returns it is perhaps time to consider re-evaluating your relationship with this type of customer.

Are these groups of people the ones you want associated with your brand? Is the service you have provided them something you want other potential customers to recognise as yours?

These unwanted prospects can be a tricky bunch – engaging with your marketing efforts and seeming to tick a number of qualifying boxes, but do you really want your sales team spending time and effort converting these prospects only to suffer a difficult relationship in the future? These are your Negative Buyer Personas.

In order for a Sales and Marketing team to work cohesively and to convert Leads in to Sales there has to be an understanding about what works and what doesn’t – for both parties. As a result, being aware of the Personas that you are trying to target, and those you are trying to avoid, your Marketing teams will be able to tailor content to best fit these Personas and filter out any Negative Personas that come through before passing MQL’s over to Sales. In the same vein, should some Negative Personas slip past Marketing and make it to Sales, your Sales team will know the warning signs to look out for and focus on the companies and contacts that best fit your Buyer Personas leading to more effective communication with your potential customers.

In lead generation, Personas are key to ensuring you target the prospect that is right for your business in order to close them into a satisfied customer. We have discovered that Negative Personas can be as important to your sales goals as your Buyer Personas undoubtably are. Sit down with your Sales and Marketing teams and develop Negative Personas hand-in-hand with your Buyer Personas to help steer your content creation and strategy and drive business success.

Want to learn about other ways to drive sales?



Discover more tried and tested tips to sell more effectively and efficiently with our free Sales Enablement guide which will provide your sales team with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process. 

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