It doesn't matter what business you are in. If you don't know your business's buyer personas you will have trouble developing products, acquiring customers, or closing sales.
Buyer personals are not difficult to develop. You need to ask the right questions of the right people. The more details you put in, the more well-developed the buyer persona will be. And that is critical in developing personas that are useful to your business.
You need to gather detailed data about your current and prospective customers. You can do this with research, surveys, and interviews. Remember to include a mix of current customers, prospective clients, and others who align with your target audience.
What kind of information are you looking for?
Analyze your current customers and prospects. Are they male or female? What is their job title? Who do they work for? What size company do they work for? Are they married or single? Are they 20 or 50?
Ask your customers what they like (and don't like) about your products or services.
Asking will help you find out what challenges your customers face and how your products/services help or hinder them.
Ask prospects what is making them hesitate to buy your product/service. It may be a first time purchase. It might be the price. It might be a fear of learning a new technology.
Building the Persona
After you do several interviews and get the results of your surveys, you are going to have a pile of raw data that you can use to build solid, effective buyer personas.
Start by analyzing the data to identify common patterns. You may find that most of your customers are female, under 30, just getting started in her profession, and using your product/service to answer professional challenges. Or you may find that your customer is male, over 50, well established in his career, and using your product/service to deal with personal challenges.
Identify your persona's demographic data. This includes age, marital status, job title, how long at company, sex, approximate salary, and communication preferences.
- What would motivate this person to buy your product/service? - These are the goals and challenges this person deals with every day. It may be running a 50-person operation scattered over 3 locations. It may be finding clothing that is both professional and trendy.
- How does this person gather information? - To get your message in front of this person, you need to know where they go for information. Does she rely on the Internet? Does he go to trade shows? Does she rely on recommendations from friends and family? Does he read newspapers or trade magazines?
- What can your company do to help this person? - This is how your product/service will help him or her meet goals or overcome a challenge.
- What is this person's objections to buying your product/service? - Knowing this information will help your sales staff develop approaches to overcoming these objections. It also helps you identify potential changes to make your product/service more appealing.
- Give them a name - The last step is to give your buyer persona a name and a face. Those make it easier for your staff to see a buyer persona as a representation of a potential customer. "Chef Charlene" or "Teen Timmy" is easier to remember than Persona #1. A cartoon face or a stock photo of a person gives a persona a bit of life.
Developing a buyer persona does require a bit of work and time. But, it will pay off in focusing your sales and marketing efforts. Isn't a bit of work and time worth it if it brings in more business?