Buyer personas can be extremely beneficial to the health of a company. Used effectively, buyer personas help you identify where you should focus your time, what features or services should be added to your product or portfolio, and act as a unifier for all departments.
What is a buyer persona?
Think of them as fictional characters that represent your ideal clients. You identify these ‘people’ using supplemental research and your existing customer data. When creating them, dive in deep and be as detailed as possible. Include multiple fields of factual and emotional data. Considering their titles, behavior patterns, and goals. Once you’ve identified these sets of people you’ll be able to nurture those individuals/groups more effectively; thus, prospect interactions and conversions are stronger.
Ask each division of your team to identify their ideal clients.
With specificity think through categories like:
- General demographics
- Career distinctions and motivations
- Personal status and achievement
- Personality and natural demeanor
- Information gathering and learning styles
- Decision-making and buy cycle habits
- Pain points
- Sales objections
This is not a short exercise and requires a lot of thought. Consider breaking these questions up into categories for each respective persona with thought prompts to help your team along.
2. Fact Check
After each team member has completed their version of the ideal buyer, compare and contrast between departments.
Note both the similarities and differences. Consider the proximity to the prospect or client. Is there a difference between how your internal team views your prospects and clients versus your sales team? Now that you’ve had a chance to discuss, it’s time to drill down. Once the team has identified their unique personas (think: 3-5 solid examples and discard the outliers), run them against your ACTUAL customer base. Is there a difference between your agreed upon version of your ideal customer groups? If there is a large gap in between where you are and where you want to be, what concessions or modifications need to be made to get those groups closer together?
3. Get Involved
Confirm your findings.
Talk with your customers. In some cases, it makes sense to create more general customer surveys with strategically phrased questions. Be sure to ask questions that you cannot track or don’t know the answers. Use their time wisely. In other instances, it makes sense to “interview” key (and hopefully, ideal) clients to figure out how the came to work with you, why they continue to, ask for radical candor. Ask for both positive and negative feedback so that you can report your findings.
Once you’ve compiled this information, report it back to the full team to close the loop on your defined buyer personas. At this point, the entire organization should be able to identify 3-5 buyer personas or customer avatars.
Just as it’s important to include and inform the entire team about your defined buyer persona, it’s even more important to put these personas to work.
These personals will inform:
- Your branding aesthetics and tone
- Website user experience and subsequent content
- How you push information
- The channels that you use (social, email, app development, etc.)
Put a plan in motion. Initially, this can be an exhaustive thought. This does not happen overnight. Prioritize your buyer personas and ensure that you’re tackling the majority of your ideal target audience FIRST.
When a company creates buyer personas for the very first time, it’s a time-consuming process.
However, once the profiles are created it’s easier to monitor and modify. As your industry, offerings or customer-base changes, do at least a review of your personas. Which personas are over or underperforming? Distinguish if your persona is still relevant or if they are being communicated to effectively.
Remember, people are always in flux. Change is happening all of the time. Listen. Stay engaged and keep a pulse on the customers and prospects that make your company relevant- or risk falling behind.