What's Your Strategy Personality? (Updated with Stats!)
by Tom Wright, on Feb 17, 2020 7:08:19 PM
One of our most important values here at Cascade is integrity. And for us, that often extends organically to transparency. We try to weave our culture of transparency into everything we do internally, but also externally. That's why I want to share with you a secret process that we use in our marketing team to help us understand more about you - our customer. (And yes, we class anyone reading our content as a customer, even if you haven't actually paid us any money for anything 😅)
The world of strategy is filled with all kinds of people. And so it should be! Strategy can be applied to almost anything we do, from how we run our own career, right through to running a Fortune 500 company.
That makes it hard for us to write content on this blog (and in our Strategy Academy) that appeals to everyone all of the time. To address this, we've created a set of 'Strategy Personalities' (the marketing term for this is 'personas'). Each of these personalities is designed to describe a person in our universe that shares at least a number of goals with others with that same personality.
The personalities aren't exhaustive, and sometimes it can be pretty hard to fit people exactly into one personality. But they give us a good starting point for knowing who to target different pieces of content towards.
We've actually taken this concept of strategy personalities and applied it not just to our marketing funnel, but also to how we sell, customer success, and even build our product (more on that later). Before we get into too much detail, let me introduce you to our little family of strategy personalities (see if you can guess which one you are?):
- Interactive quizzes
- Questions on downloads
- Tracking which articles you read
- Answers to questions via our chat bots
We don't ever actually ask you which personality you think you are directly, but rather we try to infer this based on the different answers that you give us. Not only that, but your personality can evolve over time, so we try to keep the calculation current by refreshing the answers to our questions reasonably (but not too) frequently.
Moving towards these strategy personalities has had a huge impact on our overall strategy as a business. It's allowed us to re-focus on the people we can make the difference to through our strategy software Cascade. If you haven't implemented personalities (or specifically 'personas') for your own business, it really is worth giving some thought to. This article from the team over at GrooveHQ is a pretty good starting point.
How we use Strategy Personalities in Marketing
The concept of 'personas' (what we call Strategy Personalities) originated in marketing as a way for that function to more easily understand, describe and target their customer-base with appropriate messaging.
We're moving more and more of our marketing to take advantage of our Strategy Personalities. Things you might see us doing include:
- Asking specific questions about your strategy goals
- Tailoring the content of automated emails to match what we think your needs are
- Showing you slightly different 'calls to action' on pages (i.e. buttons) based on your designated personality
- Writing better targeted strategy content that actually addresses the needs you (or your fellow personalities) have
Note that we currently don't use our Receiving Ralph or Busy Bea personalities in Marketing, as we find that very few of those exact personality types are actually the ones interacting with our marketing content.
Many organizations only apply the concept of personas to their marketing funnel. But we've decided to take things a little further, so read on to find out more!
How we use Strategy Personalities in Sales
We're not a hugely sales-led organization here at Cascade. Most of our customers start off by initiating free trials of the software and then buy from there. But we do run product demos and you might sometimes see us at a conference or event.
We try to equip our sales team with as much information as we can about the person they're about to speak with. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by letting them know which Strategy Personality our system thinks a person is ahead of time, so they can prepare their interaction accordingly. For example, things we do in sales include:
- Prioritizing sales contact with certain personalities that we know respond better to 'high touch' channels like phone calls and product demos
- Helping our sales team ask the right questions about a customer's current challenges
- Providing follow-up collateral to our sales team appropriate to the persona they're interacting with
Of course, marketing and sales is really just the start of the customer lifecycle. That's why we've extended our Strategy Personalities even further...
How we use Strategy Personalities in Customer Success
Customer success is the art of helping our customers get the most from our software product, and meet the challenges they're currently facing.
One of the most helpful pieces of information our customer success team can have, is a good understanding of the likely goals of a customer, even before their first interaction. This helps them to do things like:
- Send relevant guides and content to customers, even before the kick-off call
- Prepare an onboarding timeline that will likely appeal to that particular customer
- Ensure that customers are using software features they have access to, based on the features that typically resonate well with people of a similar personality type
- Tailor the content of training sessions based on learnings from similar personality types
Customer success is where we see the most Receiving Ralphs and Busy Beas, making these personalities particularly important to our customer success team.
How we use Strategy Personalities in Product Development
Cascade is a pretty innovative software platform. There's really nothing quite like it in the market, as honestly very few companies have so far taken on the challenge of strategy planning and execution with a modern SaaS tool.
That's great, but it does mean that from a product roadmap perspective, we're really making it up as we go! Sure, we take ideas from our customers via our Ideas Board - and we take feedback from our customer success team about what's working well for customers (and what's working less well). But, to keep the platform innovative, we also need to come up with our own ideas for new features.
This is where our Strategy Personalities come into play yet again. By understanding the specific needs of the different personalities, we can ensure that the platform is delivering features that are equally relevant to all of them (or whichever one we're focused on at the time). That's why in our product development process, we do things like:
- Ranking the strength of our features based on how well they meet the needs of each Strategy Personality
- Prioritizing features to build for under-served personalities
- Knowing which customers to prioritize feedback from, based on who a feature is intended for
- Specifying upfront when we start building something new, which personality we're building for.
As you can see, implementing these Strategy Personalities has had a huge impact on many different parts of our business. Hopefully you've found this window into our world interesting, and maybe you'll have a few 'aha moments' as you interact with our marketing content in the future!
As I mentioned above, I strongly suggest thinking about defining your own set of personas before embarking on your next strategic plan.
Some Early Quiz Results!
We're still rolling this out across our audience, so it is still early days, but we're pretty excited and wanted to share some of the results with you...
So far, here are the top 3 personalities based on the responses:
- Implementing Ivy is leading the pack
- Followed by Consulting Colin
- Who is neck-a-neck with Transformational Teagan
Here are some of the breakdowns to the responses to more specific questions that caught our attention...
When we asked if you had a strategic plan in place...
When we asked how the plan was going:
When we asked what you'd like to learn more about in terms of strategy:
Your favorite way to learn is... (this one is a relief, since we publish so many articles!)
Which of the following are you most concerned about when it comes to strategy execution:
We won't reveal anymore data until we complete the process, but suffice to say it has been really interesting so far. If you haven't taken the quiz yet, please do!