You’ve probably heard the phrase bandied around before – but maybe you’re still not sure about what exactly a customer persona is, if you need one, and how you get one!
In this short blog, I’ll bring you through all you need to know starting with some helpful tips on how to create your own customer persona and how, once identified, you can use it to boost your marketing efforts to deliver the results you’re looking for.
Let’s Get Started!
What is a Customer Persona and How is it Different to my Target Market?
Your target market is the term given to the types of businesses you sell to. For example, if you’re offering an IT support solution, you might target growing businesses with limited internal IT resources. Or, if you’re selling professional services, your target market could be organisations who need operational or financial assistance. However, a customer persona, or buyer persona as it can also be called, is a fictitious mock-up of who within your target organisations you need to engage with in order to get that sale over the line. Your customer persona will take into account demographics, psychographics and behavioural information and once complete, will give you a good overview of the role each persona plays within the overall sales process.
What’s the benefit of having a customer persona?
There are many advantages to having an in-dept overview of your target audience, for example:
- Understanding where each persona fits within your target organization – are they influencers or decision makers?
- Identifying their particular pain points can help you target your sales message to be more relevant to their specific needs.
- Knowing who your buyers are and where they frequent, both physically and digitally, means that you can make better use of your marketing budget by designing tactical campaigns that reach the right audience at the right time, every time.
- Recognising who your customer persona is can be very useful when developing a new product or service. Keeping them front of mind when making business decisions will ensure that you’re investing time and money in the right areas to grow your business by constantly remaining attractive to the right audience.
How do I create a customer persona?
If you’ve been in business for a while, then the first step is to take a look at your current customer base to see who’s purchasing from you.
On the other hand, if you’re just setting up your new business, you might want to work though these steps to create your bespoke customer persona:
- What’s your business vision and value proposition? How do you want to be seen in the market? And what value to you bring? Once you have that identified, take a look at who might benefit from the service or product you’re offering.
- Who are your competition selling to? Everyone has competitors – it keeps us all on our toes! So, spend some time evaluating who your competitors are selling to and consider whether or not your business might be attractive to them.
- What motivates your customer persona? It’s so much easier to make a sale when you’re solving a problem for someone. Consider what challenges your buyers may be facing and then overlay how your business can provide a solution. This will make for strong messaging and may well set you apart from the competition.
Keep in mind too that you will rarely engage with just one person when making a sale, so most likely, you will need to develop several personas, for example, the person you make initial contact with and whomever signs the contract.
And remember to check-in with your personas regularly to make sure they’re still relevant.
Now let’s start building your customer persona!
Step 1 – Who do you make initial contact with?
- What’s their role with the company?
- How many years of experience do they have?
- Are they an influencer or a decision maker?
- What is their educational background?
- How do they measure success?
- What type of content do they consume?
- When do they consume content?
- What social platforms do they use?
Step 2 – Look at their demographics. Although demographic factors may play less of a role in B2B selling, it’s still useful to get a good overall “picture” of who you’ll be dealing with. Take a look at:
- Their age
- Their gender
- Their family status
- Where they live
- What they do in their free time
Step 3: What are their pain points or challenges? Providing a solution should form the basis of your overall messaging and will ensure that everything you say, from your website to your sales pitch to in-person presentations will remain on-point and relevant. Areas to consider could include:
- Budget constraints
- Time restraints
- Staffing limitations
- Technological challenges
Step 4: What motivates your persona? Unlike the B2C world, purchases within the B2B sector are rarely made on impulse. Instead, they are more considered and in the case of the corporate sector, may take several months to complete. Understanding at what point your buyer persona will start looking for a solution will help you decide where you need to be, with what messaging and at what time.
Step 5: What potential barriers to purchase could exist? Understanding how your target organisations work may help with this. For example, if you’re targeting large corporates, then you can most likely expect a prolonged procurement process. However, if you’re targeting a leaner business, the procurement process may be more simplified – but then budget could be an issue. Knowing ahead of time what potential objections could be thrown at you, will give you the opportunity to develop your objection handling responses and push the sale over the line.
How to Use Your Buyer Persona
Having a better understanding of your buyer personas will give your business a strong competitive advantage. It will help you to “speak their language” and can be influential when creating thought leadership content and producing sales pitches that guarantee you a call-back.
Let’s Look at What a Customer Persona Might Look Like