This is What Buyer Personas Look Like When They Actually Get Used

Sales development teams spend their time communicating with prospects to understand their specific challenges, qualify them as a potential customer for the solution, and schedule a meeting with sales. The more they know about the specific personas that they are communicating with, the more relevant their messaging becomes and the more successful that they will be at achieving all three of their objectives.

To complete the activities above, sales development reps (SDRs) must be able to effectively engage with prospects in the sales process. The key to achieving valuable engagement is to leverage buyer-responsive selling.

Buyer-responsive selling is a practice that focuses the efforts of SDRs and sales reps on who the typical buyers are, their priorities, and the experience they want to have. This approach enables sales to deliver the personalized, relevant, and empathetic engagement that today’s distracted and demanding buyers expect.


The go-to-market organization must collectively agree upon key buyer personas based on its stakeholder map, develop the initial personas, then train SDRs and sales reps.

Identify the personas. The first step is to assign a cross-functional team from marketing, sales development, sales, and customer success. Build a stakeholder map that identifies the threads of the account (e.g., entry point, decision maker, business owner) that align to the roles that are essential to the sales process. Prioritize the buyer personas for different seller roles. For example, SDRs almost always focus on the entry point threads as a way into the account.

Develop the buyer persona. The cross-functional team should do the work to create a persona document with the sections listed below. Include product marketing to incorporate information from existing persona documents that may already exist. Interview one to three individuals with expertise relevant to each persona. An expert could be a customer or a seller employee who is the persona or someone intimately familiar with the persona.

Train and certify the SDRs and sales reps. Include buyer persona exercises in onboarding and ongoing training activities. Certify reps on their ability to demonstrate a deep understanding of the buyer personas.


Roles and goals. Focus the persona on the role that the buyer has, rather than their title. These may be different for different organizations. A clear understanding of what this person’s goals are will help keep the persona focused and actionable.

Day in the life. SDRs and sales reps can connect with prospects over the common activities and responsibilities of the buyer’s day.

Purchasing process. Documenting the purchase process helps define the level of the persona, the size of the organization, meeting attendees, and next steps in the sales process.

Challenges and benefits. Each challenge should have a corresponding benefit that presents itself when the buyer implements the seller’s solution.


A screenshot of a social media post

Description automatically generated


  • Actionable buyer personas must be at the core of the entire sales process, informing every activity in which an SDR or sales rep is engaged. Many organizations already have buyer persona documents, but they are not actionable. Focus the team’s efforts on writing challenges and benefits in the buyer’s language to be actionable.
  • Create buyer personas that help SDRs and sales reps gain a deep understanding of the buyer. In addition to challenges and benefits, knowing a buyer’s goals will show an understanding of what is really important in their role. Connecting over the nuances of a day in the buyer’s life demonstrates empathy and extends a conversation.
  • Incorporate buyer persona challenges and benefits across SDR prospecting tools. Leverage persona challenge and benefit statements in SDR enablement tools, including value props, use case stories, insights, and sales engagement templates/snippets.
  • Buyer personas inform fundamental prospecting tools. Elements of the buyer personas, specifically challenges and benefits, should be integrated into on-the-job sales development messaging tools like sales engagement touch patterns and calling cards.
  • Ensure the personas are understood and internalized by each SDR. It is critical that all new SDRs go through persona training. It teaches them what they need to know about the buyer persona and gives them a foundation for communicating with prospects. Sharing documents and encouraging SDRs to read them is not the level of training that is required. Test and certify that SDRs know how to apply the information in the persona documents to their interactions with prospects.

Predicting the Future in Marketing, Sales, and Sales Development

At the end of every year, TOPO reviews the data we’ve gathered through client interactions and industry surveys to analyze trends and make predictions for the coming year. What sets TOPO apart is that we work with high-growth organizations, meaning the data we review is from businesses that are often far ahead of typical companies. We monitor the early adopters of many innovative technologies and processes, which gives us a unique perspective into what other organizations can expect to happen.

Effective Prospecting Research to Scale Your Results

Every sales development rep (SDR) needs to do research as part of their prospecting and the more guidance their leaders can provide around this process, the more efficient SDRs can become. A clearly defined process for each stage of prospecting research can help SDRs accomplish one set of tasks then move on to the next set of tasks, rather than wasting time bouncing back and forth between the internet, CRM, and sales engagement platform for prospect information.

Why Sales Dev Stack Innovation Is Getting Smarter While Budgets Get Tighter

Sales development leaders spend their time developing their prospecting strategies and touch patterns, managing and coaching their teams of sales development representatives (SDRs), and measuring the team’s success at scheduling meetings so they don’t have time to do the work required to keep up with all of the latest sales development technology trends. Technology constantly undergoes rapid changes and that’s why TOPO analysts gather data, talk to companies, and watch the sales development technology landscape to discover the latest market trends.

Sales Development Tech Stack, Here is What’s Hot and What’s Not

The sales development technology stack supports how an organization prospects, regardless of the go-to-market (GTM) strategy used. It is the collection of software tools that help sales development leaders develop programs and processes for the sales development representatives (SDRs) who—in turn—plan, execute, track, and optimize their interactions with prospects and customers.

TOPO Sales Sentiment Index Reveals Opinions of B2B Sales Reps

Analyses of sales effectiveness are usually based on the views of sales leaders. While those opinions are clearly important, it is equally important to hear about the day-to-day realities of sales directly from the reps in the trenches. That is why the TOPO Sales Sentiment Index (SSI) is based on feedback from sales reps themselves.

Sales Development and Sales Alignment is Key to Driving Quality Pipeline at High Growth Companies

If you want to join the ranks of the highest of high-growth companies, do not leave alignment to chance. It’s a fool’s errand to expect a 22-year-old sales development rep (SDR) fresh out of university to develop a consistent, scalable, repeatable prioritization, execution, and qualification process. Be prescriptive in your expectations and methodical in the tools you arm your teams with. I use the sales development team as an example because they bridge the gap between marketing and sales, and are a pivotal piece to the pipeline puzzle.

87% of Top Performing Org’s Use High Value Meeting Offers

Marketers target the most important prospects with cross-functional plays designed to drive meetings, and frequently send a unique gift as the core of the orchestrated play. The hope is that the gift will stand out to the prospect and they will agree to a meeting. With 87% of top-performing account based organizations using meeting plays, that’s a lot of iPads, drones, and bottles of wine shipped to corporate executives. Corporate gift policies—and the sheer volume of such gifts—can limit a marketer’s ability to be effective with this approach.

Gartner Acquires TOPO To Help Clients Grow Revenue Even Faster

The only thing growing faster than our clients revenue today is the change they face in order to sustain growth. 

With our mission to help sales and marketing organizations grow revenue faster, we are excited to share that TOPO has agreed to be acquired by Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company. 

SDR Teams Should Leverage Email Templates for Scalable Prospecting

The job of a sales development rep (SDR) involves a high volume of repetitive tasks aimed at eliciting a response from a prospect. SDRs use different channels to contact prospects multiple times using similar, but slightly different, language based on the situation. The sales development leader is responsible for making the SDR team as effective and efficient as possible by providing proper guidance for this core job function.