How to Create Personas from Data
Identifying your ideal customer profile(ICP) and buyer personas is the first step in building the foundation for an effective marketing strategy.
Developing these profiles is not solely a marketing responsibility. Mining and interpreting this data should be a group effort with contributions from your company’s leadership, sales, product team, data analysts, and any other team that plays a part in shaping your customers’ experience.
Having a clear picture of your ideal customers helps you avoid wasting your marketing and sales budget or even building a list of unsuitable target accounts and prospects.
We want to make a clear distinction between ICP and buyer personas here:
Before we get into the details of how to aggregate this data about your ICP and buyer personas, let’s
review the type of information to look for when initially building this ideal customer profile.
For your ICP, you’ll want to know the following about the companies you should target:
Working with existing customer data
Common sources for this type of data about existing customers include:
Take these answers, turn them into a coherent metric, and use the trends in your data to build out your customer profiles.
Gathering data from scratch
Maybe you’ve yet to build a large enough customer base from which you can pull this data. Your focus should still be on gathering the most reliable information for defining your ideal buyers.
You can use credible third-party data about your industry and solutions like yours as a starting point, then supplement it with primary data about your specific buyers.
There are a few methods for retrieving this primary data when you don’t have a large enough sample size of customer accounts to reference.
Notice that there are two main perspectives we’re interested in for this research—your buyers and your internal teams.
Of course, speaking directly with those who are most likely to purchase your product is necessary for understanding your buyers. But you should always seek input from the people who are actually responsible for selling your product too.
Salespeople and SDRs spend their time trying to better understand your buyers in order to sell to them better, so they have a unique big-picture perspective on what an ideal customer looks like.
Here’s an example survey created in Google Forms that we use to poll our sales teams and get an idea of the ideal buyers for our outsourced Customer Service offering.
In the example persona survey pictured above, the second question uses stock images to represent possible buyers, and it’s not included thoughtlessly. It actually provides valuable insight into the perception of our buyers, their personality types, and their level of professionalism. Aim to gain this type of insight when performing research directly with customers and prospects also.
Qualitative information that is often most useful for B2B tech companies includes:
Knowing these more personal details about your ideal customers, how they work, and what drives them to purchase is an important piece of the foundation that your entire marketing strategy will be built on.
We wrote at length about the qualitative attributes you should know about your buyers in this blog post about well-defined B2B buyer personas. You’ll need these details when completing the market analysis discussed in the next chapter.