Buyer personas initially seem like one of those fluffy business concepts that don’t matter very much in the real world. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Buyer personas are created by finding a specific group of buyers that has common needs, pain points, and interests. They help marketing and sales teams focus their efforts and craft specific messages that appeal to this audience. In short, they help to drive sales.
Creating buyer personas seems like a straightforward activity, but it does require research, alignment, and making some tough decisions. These are some of the steps you should follow when you embark on creating buyer personas at your organization.
1. Get Executive Buy-in
Buyer personas affect the entire organization, not only marketing and sales. Once you have defined who you are going to sell to, you need to ensure that your product development efforts continue to serve that audience, that your customer support or services are equipped to manage this group of buyers, that your pricing and revenue model will still be profitable… the list goes on. All of the decisions around these considerations require executive buy-in. Before you begin creating buyer personas, ensure that the executive team is informed and has bought-into this exercise, as well as everything that comes with it.
2. Gather Information on Your Existing Customers
It’s unlikely that your customers all fit neatly into a specific industry vertical, job title, or demographic category. However, there are likely some patterns across your customers that may help you start to narrow your focus on a specific type of buyer. As you set out to create buyer personas, gather information about your existing customers and prospects. Analyze information in your CRM or database, talk to other members of your sales team, and look at the type of people who are engaging with your website, content, and social profiles. All of this information will help you understand who is most interested in what you are selling.
3. Interview Customers and Prospects
Once you have a rough idea of who is interested in your products, it is important to learn why they are interested. This will help you dive deeper than just the surface-level characteristics and get rich information on the need that drives the purchase. Speak with customers and prospects to understand what drove them to seek out your solution and why they decided to buy. With this knowledge, you can look for other buyers in other industries or job functions who experience similar pain points and include them in your buyer persona as well.
4. Define a Primary Persona
Use the information you gather to make a decision around who you are going to target. You may find that there are several different people or roles involved with the purchase, but it is important to define at least one as the primary buyer persona. Create a document outlining the key characteristics of this person, including any demographic and psychographic information you are able to find. Use this information to draft your messaging, determine what content to write, and who to target with your prospecting.
Follow these tips and creating buyer personas will go smoothly in your organization. Ensure that everyone is aligned – from product development teams, to marketing, to sales, to customer success – and you will be able to focus on creating a world class experience for this particular buyer.