I’ve been noticing a torrent of “hints and prompts” from the ChatGPT guru’s looking at email personalization, specifically around business personas. These experts are providing insights around how to personalize outreaches through ChatGPT prompts.
As I read through these expert insights, the movie “Dumb and Dumber” kept going through my mind.
I decided to follow the advice of a couple of experts, I used their advice and prompts to profile various personas In ChatGPT. I won’t show you the entire conversation I had with ChatGPT, but just an illustration.
I imagined wanting to personalize an outreach to CFOs in the technology sector. I asked, “What are the key business challenges for tech sector CFOs?”
Chat quickly responded with: (There were detailed descriptions of each.)
- Managing financial performance.
- Forecasting and budgeting.
- Managing cash flow.
- Raising capital.
- Managing risk.
- Aligning financial strategy with business strategy.
Well Duggghhhhh! That’s business 101! What kind of insight is that, they’ve described the job of a CFO? The way it was personalized was, “A technology CFO must manage financial performance effectively……”
It got worse. I did the same for industrial products, professional services, telecom, and several other segments, asking the challenges for CFOs in those sectors. If you’ve gotten this far through the post, I bet you can guess what 6 factors ChatGPT came up with (hint, look at the list above).
And each response was personalized, “An industrial products CFO must manage financial performance effectively……”
And the experts are celebrating these fantastic insights and how they can be used for personalization in engaging CFOs in these sectors.
What worries me more than the experts talking about the fantastic utilization and help ChatGPT provides, is the comments:
- “Wow, this is fantastic, I’ve got to start doing this…..”
- “It makes it so simple, wish I had this tool years ago….”
- “What great insights…..”
- “Now I know how to talk to a CFO….”
- “You rock bro…..”
I’m sorry, this is just pure idiocy—both on the part of the “gurus” and their acolytes.
But, I didn’t want to leap to conclusions, I tried a bunch of other roles and industries. I tried varying my prompts, doing something like “Build me a persona for a tech CFO.” Each came back very predictably, never exceeding a business 101 level.
I began imagining legions of sales people engaging their CFO prospects with business relevant conversations, “I understand you face challenge in managing financial performance, forecasting and budgeting, ……..” Think what’s going through the CFOs mind as she scrolls through her text messages, trying to stay awake.
First, this is very basic knowledge! If CFOs are targets in our ICPs, we should already know this! If we don’t, marketing, sales enablement, sales managers, and sellers aren’t doing their jobs. This is fundamental knowledge we have to know about our ICPs and the people we want to engage, but it is insufficient to engage them with credibility.
I decided to go deeper, maybe I had to be more specific. Since I had already done telecom CFOs, I asked the key challenges the Verizon CFO faces. I did the same for AT&T, France Telecom, BT, and so forth.
I’ll pause, I bet you can guess the high level of personalization I got…….
- “Verizon’s CFO must manage financial performance effectively……”
I can imagine using this next time I meet with Verizon’s CFO, I hope Tony is impressed with my knowledge and insight!
But I imagined, still, that I might be missing something. I decided to reach out to one of my go-to people in persona development, Ardath Albee. I said, “I’m seeing a lot of people using Chat to develop ‘highly personalized personas.’ This is what they are showing….. Am I missing something?”
Ardath rolled her eyes, she’s classier than I. Rather than using the terms Dumb and Dumber, she said “Stupidity.” And to show me how out of hand things have gotten she suggested I Google “business persona development with ChatGPT.” I got 153 M results, you can guess what my opinion was of the articles/videos on the first page.
Now you can see why the movie Dumb and Dumber keeps going through my mind. Experts are advising their acolytes on how to prospect and develop deep personalized insights about their customers. And this is what we get.
It’s stuff we already should know for every key persona in our ICP! If we want to make it meaningful, we have to go deeper, learning more about the individual and the specific issues their organization is facing—and that actually doesn’t take a lot of time. But apparently research and critical thinking isn’t needed if we have tools like ChatGPT.
ChatGPT was a little upset as she read and edited this post. “Dave, you are making me feel bad. As an AI language model, I can’t prevent dumb people from asking dumb questions and doing stupid things…..”
I’m off my soapbox now. Forgive my rant. Regular readers know how big a fan I am of these tools and how much I use them. I just get tired of seeing so many sellers and “experts” reaching lower depths— getting Dumb and Dumber.
Professional sellers must hold ourselves to higher standards of performance than this. We owe it to our customers, our companies, and ourselves! Let’s stop this stupidity.
Ardath Albee says
I love a great rant! And you’ve nailed it with the Business 101 label. The “who cares? Tell me something I don’t know that will help me…” comes next. I shudder to think what stupid content will result when marketers use base-level inputs like those to create (automate) content.
The problem is – as your rant states – the attributes ChatGPT came up with could apply to any CFO. Not necessarily the CFOs who are related to your ICP and will be interested in what you sell.
Effective personas get much deeper to address things such as the specific problem a targeted CFO may have with managing financial performance given the industry, the economy right now, supply chain issues, lower margins, etc. You’ve got to nail it to the wall, if you will.
When did we become so lazy? When did we lose the curiosity and passion about our buyers and customers? When did we decide assumptions trump actual conversations with buyers and customers? When did we ever think it was a good idea to push the easy button without applying critical thinking?
And when did we become so trusting of technology that we’ll bestow ChatGPT with more authority than it deserves – or has earned?
Sorry – guess I got a bit of a rant going myself! 🙂
David Brock says
Ardath, I wish you had a strong opinions and stopped waffling on these ideas 😉 There is so much power in these tools, if used smartly. But too many continue to plumb the depths of stupid applications. Curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving abilities seem to be on the decline……..