My team has created 4 personas to represent our clients. We have presented them to groups of people who routinely have a lot of customer contact, and we've gotten lots of good feedback. It's common to hear comments like "I've talked to all 4 of these types of people this week," so it seems that they resonate well.
However, when we present the same personas to senior leadership, the first (and often only) question we get asked is, "what percentage of our clients are each persona?" When asked why, it's always because they want to prioritize one persona over the rest. We don't have secondary personas (all 4 are primary), so our desire would be that all 4 are prioritized equally.
When we created them, we went through tons of data, but there wasn't usually a direct correlation between trait X and persona Y. Two personas might do the same thing but for different reasons. We've even tried directly quizzing people to quantify the persona makeup and all it's shown is that most people are a combination of 2-3 of the personas. There might be one that's dominant, but there are also situations where they may assume the role of a completely different persona. We even have evidence that customers can shift from one persona to another over the course of their interaction with our company.
What other answers can we give to this question? Or are there better ways to deflect having to answer it? Unfortunately, when we answer that we don't know the precise ratios or that we are still working on it, but it's complicated, these people appear to shutdown and lose interest in the rest of the presentation. They (understandably) want a tool to help them make decisions, but saying we need to consider the impact to each persona isn't giving them that.