Buyer personas are a blueprint to understanding your buyers, how to reach them, and how to convert prospects into customers.
A well-defined persona includes a mix of demographic, firmographic, and psychographic information about your buyers’ roles in their organizations as well as insights about their goals and what drives them.
According to research gathered by Cintell, organizations who use well-developed buyer personas effectively in their sales and marketing processes see these types of results on average:
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to personas is validating your buyer insights with research to ensure an accurate depiction. The other biggest challenge is making sure everyone at your company actually makes use of those personas.
Below, we’ll go over things to include when defining your ideal buyers and how to ensure your personas are reliable and functional for every team in your company.
Before you begin to build out your persona, comprehensive market research is necessary to make sure personas are realistically based on your buyers and not just what you assume about them.
You should perform both quantitative and qualitative research, so you know how your buyers behave but also have the numbers to back up your claims. The numbers don’t lie, and if the segment you were considering ends up ineffective in your data, it’s time to rethink your persona.
Third-party data is also handy for learning about buyers on a large scale. There are many business intelligence services that can show you how your ideal customers think and buy, but some free tools we recommend include:
Perhaps the most revealing research during the buyer persona development process is what you learn about your prospective and current customers through one-on-one interactions.
Conducting interviews and collecting survey information from your target audience lets you hear directly from them about what is important and how they choose to purchase. And it’s possible to conduct this first-party research while still adding to your pipeline and your bottom line by using sales development reps for market validation.
SDRs speak directly to hundreds of prospects each day and can help you identify trends among your target market.
In the case of SaaS company Members Private Sale, an SDR team working to identify decision-makers in the federal credit union industry found that this initial target market was not the best fit for the auto loan lead generation solution.
Members Private Sale’s outsourced SDRs were able to learn about the needs of the prospective buyers they were speaking to and discovered that this particular solution was not a priority in the industry.
When defining personas, you should always factor in feedback from your sales teams’ perspectives.
There are four main categories to include in your personas that are meant to give you a full view of your ideal customer and enable sales to leverage insights during deal-closing conversations.
Each of these categories is made up of the different components you need to fully define your buyer persona:
Start with their industry, company size, and job title(s). This is the most basic information you need to know about your B2B buyers.
You can learn more about tailoring your efforts to these specifications on the Identifying Your Prospects and Personas page of our Ultimate Guide to B2B Appointment Setting.
Where do your buyers live online? Know which social media platforms they use and which resources they frequent to keep up with their industries, so you can jump in on the conversations they’re already having.
Research which keywords and phrases will catch your audience’s attention and what wording they tend to use when looking for solutions like yours.
Knowing how your buyers prefer to search for information and communicate (including with others in their own company) will help you effectively engage with them at each step of the sales cycle and map their customer journey in advanced.
Determine your buyers’ organizational goals based off of primary research, their job title, trends in the marketplace, and where they fall in the hierarchy of their organization.
Knowing the typical attitudes, tone, and emotions of your buyers can help you better relate to them throughout your efforts, so they feel understood and have more trust in your ability to meet their needs.
What obstacles are keeping your buyers from reaching their business goals? Knowing the specifics about what causes them pain in their day-to-day efforts will help you prove their need for your solution.
You should identify the things that make your buyers hesitant to purchase, preparing your teams to address their concerns throughout your messaging.
Compose a “day in the life” summary of your persona that details their day-to-day responsibilities, habits, and behaviors. This exercise helps to humanize your persona and make them less of an abstract concept, allowing your teams to see things from their perspective and understand their desire to buy.
Lastly, it’s important to outline possible organizational barriers that would slow down or stop your persona from taking the next step in each buying stage.
As B2B companies move closer to more customer-centric strategies, it’s essential that you understand exactly who is buying and accommodate them throughout the customer journey.
Always perform adequate, accurate, and in-depth research, so your personas are data-driven and not based on guesses. And finally, understand how your personas can be effectively leveraged throughout your organization to drive revenue and growth.