Applying the persona strategy to procurement

persona strategy
June 25th, 2019
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Well-known in the field of marketing, the persona strategy is also often used by customer experience, innovation and design departments. So why not use it in procurement departments to ensure the best stakeholder satisfaction in the context of a major change? Especially in a time of digital transformation, deployment projects are widespread and have a considerable impact on each profession.

Going beyond rational needs

When implementing new solutions, processes and methods, it is essential to define the needs to which this change will respond. However, identifying the needs of the target market is not always easy. Steve Jobs, the visionary former CEO of Apple, liked to remind himself of this with this famous quote: "You can't ask people what the next great revolution is going to be. Henry Ford once said: If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses".

It is true that, when asked what they need, a group of people will tend to remain very rational. For example, your internal customers would surely say quality products, reasonable delivery times etc.

Of course, these things must be taken into account because they are inherently reasonable. However, we must not forget the needs that are not expressed as such, but that will arise as problems or issues that people encounter as part of their work. This can cover multiple areas: a newcomer may find it difficult to learn how to use certain tools, or a buyer may struggle with a lack of influence in certain business departments.

Building your own personas

The persona strategy aims to develop new solutions to meet all of a user's needs, whether identified or unknown.

To best meet these needs, you could talk to hundreds or even thousands of people, which is very time-consuming. Or, you could use the persona strategy. This involves creating archetypes of groups of individuals with shared motivations, behaviours and priorities, and therefore personifying the target market.

This approach has two major benefits:

  • First of all, it is a great way to start identifying your target customers. This allows you to stay focused on the real target customers, needs and issues involved during a change (for example, setting up a new computer-based tool).
  • Once you have identified your personas, you need to get to know them better. In particular, you could organise meetings with certain representatives from each group to discuss their real problems and issues with them.

By identifying your target customers and focusing your efforts on understanding all their facets (habits, sources of stress, difficulties etc.), the persona strategy ultimately allows you to best meet the needs of your stakeholders. Knowing that 69% of buyers today are assessed on the satisfaction of their internal customers[1], this approach presents an interesting area to explore!


[1] Le baromètre 2019 des décideurs achats (the 2019 procurement decision-makers barometer)