Posted by Bethany Handy ● January 11, 2016

Why it is Important to Create Negative Buyer Personas

We all know having a detailed picture of your organization's ideal buyer is vitally important to your overall sales and marketing strategy.

But did you know having negative or exclusionary buyer personas is equally as important? 


Not every inbound lead will turn into a paying customer and realizing this early on will help you not to waste your precious time or energy. Negative buyer personas help you determine who is not a good fit for your product of service. 

These leads might not be a good fit because:

  • They do not have the budget for your product or service.
  • The cost of customer acquisition (CAC) is too high.
  • They have unrealistic views of what your product or service can do for them causing them to have a high propensity to churn. Also, because of unmet expectations their word-of-mouth review of your organization may actually cost you future business.

 Best Practices for Creating Negative Buyer Personas

In addition to basic background and demographic information, you would also like to list some disqualifiers. A disqualifier is a specific characteristic or type of behavior that would disqualify them from being a fit for your product or service.

Disqualifiers might include:

  • Wrong industry 
  • No budget
  • Lack of Authority
  • Rude or aggressive behavior (who wants to work with someone who is like this from the get go?)

 The above list is just a few of the disqualifiers you might include in your persona. Give some thought to what really makes someone a poor fit for your product or service. 

***Note: While some people might be disqualified as a paying customer that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain some type of correspondence with them. Your biggest cheerleader or brand evangelist might be someone who loves what you do or the service you offer but they might not have the budget to purchase from you. That doesn’t mean that they don’t know people who are exactly what you are looking for in a client.

Taking the time to create and develop negative personas for those less-than-ideal leads and customers will afford you the time to spend with the leads and customers you are actually excited to do business with.

Just like good buyer personas develop over time, so too will your negative personas. Eventually, you’ll have a list of common characteristics, habits, and identifiers for those customers you don’t want to work with, you’ll be able to spot them a mile away. 

101 Buyer Personas

Topics: Inbound Marketing