MSP Sales: Creating Customer Personas

BY IT GLUE | November 29, 2016

There’s marketing, and then there’s selling. And selling is about people, about building trust and forming a relationship that will have mutually beneficial results. That’s actually the part that scares some people — forging the one-to-one connections that are ultimately the basis of salesmanship. So how do you overcome this? Buyer personas are a good start.

So what is a buyer persona?

We’ll start with what it’s not. It’s not a target market. You might target a specific type of business, but the buyer persona reflects the decision makers you actually have to talk to. That means their motivations, their goals, and their behaviors. How they make their decisions.

So you market to the target market but you sell to the buyer. The buyer persona is a shorthand way to understand the buyer.

A typical prospect will have a few key players who either make or influence the buying decision. You need personas for all of them, to better understand who they are and what role they play in the buying process. Use this (very simplistic) example of a digital media company you want to sell to.


This person has the final say in purchasing decisions. They are not an end user and have an entrepreneurial mindset. The CEO tends to focus on big-picture issues like the health of the industry and customer acquisition and are motivated by arguments focused on competitiveness.


This is a key influencer. They determine the ROI on major purchase decisions and are not technical. The CFO is motivated by improving the bottom line and responds to financial arguments.

VP, Technology

By far, this is the most important end user. As the company’s technical expert, they are motivated by improving technical performance. This person understands clearly how an MSP can help and responds to specific, logic-based arguments.

VP, Marketing

This is another influencer. This senior manager is a limited end user and not technical. They require arguments framed in terms of market share. While they have low influence on this type of decision, they need to understand how an MSP helps the company market and sell better.

Creating personas

Start with your existing clients; you know them well. Talk to a few of them to fill in what you don’t already know about how they make their decisions and who is involved in that process. Next, continue making notes every time you talk to a prospect. Over time, you’ll build a fairly strong understanding of the different types of people and the different roles they fill.

Now what?

Once you have your personas defined, plug them into the sales process. During the sales process, you will probably talk to multiple points of contact. Or, you’ll talk to one person and they will relay information to the other decision-makers. In either case, have arguments ready to appeal to each of the personas, and make sure to communicate those. Arm your main point of contact with arguments for all the other personas.

By taking the time to understand the individual, human factors that motivate the decision-makers — and their key influencers — you put yourself in a much better position to make the sale.

IT Glue™ is a documentation platform for MSPs, designed to eliminate waste, improve productivity and help you hit your SLAs better.  Document your sales processes and customer personas in IT Glue, and integrate it with your PSA to enhance your marketing and sales functions.

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