Who is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your dream customer. To create a buyer persona, you need data and insights to have a clear idea of who they are.
Buyer personas are key in the whole organisation as it helps your team to know who to focus on. It is created by all client-facing teams as they have interacted with a customer in one way or the other and thus may have an insight on their behaviour.
Buyer personas help the marketing, sales and product development teams to shape their decision making. With a buyer persona, even those who have not interacted with clients can have an idea on how the client is, what to expect, and how to handle them.
A customer buys a product because they want it to do a certain job. They, therefore, hire a product to do a job. This is triggered by a certain pain point or need they have. This is the same case for a buyer persona. When creating one, you need to know their triggers, pain points and reasons they hire a product to do a certain job. This will help you to deliver better what they need based on their expectations.
Before a customer makes a purchase, they have to research and do their comparisons to choose the best option for their needs. It is important to know where they do their research, and how they do comparisons since different personas will have different approaches.
One of the best ways to find out about their triggers and pain points is through interviewing them. Since you cannot interview an imaginary customer, you can interview a real customer, to know their motivation for using the product, what they use the product for, and their expectations, or improvements they would recommend.
This is very useful for the product development team to make the right improvements and create the best product for the customer.
A negative persona is a representation of a person that you will not want as a customer. They have certain attributes and behaviours that you would not want from your ideal customer. For example, some companies may not desire a customer that is too demanding, or a customer that does not know what they want.
Benefits of a buyer persona
Buyer personas are important as they help you understand your customers and thus deliver what they need. They help you focus on your most important and qualified prospects and align all work in the company accordingly.
All departments in a company benefit from buyer personas as they were created with an initial goal of meeting the needs of the customers. There is no way the customer’s needs can be met without having a persona.
As mentioned earlier, buyer personas help product development teams to develop the right products that resonate with the needs of the buyer. The product development team can use the personas in building a product roadmap. They can identify and prioritise changes of their offering according to the needs of the buyer.
In sales and marketing, buyer personas are used in targeting. It can help the sales team to build a rapport with a customer as they understand them well. A buyer personas can help you choose the right communication channel, have appropriate content and use the right message. Through buyer personas, personalization is possible and that triggers response rate as customers are likely to respond if they feel you understand them and their needs. In communication, personalization is everything as it is what will determine your success rate.
For instance, when you are doing a lead nurturing email campaign, personalization will lead to higher open, click rates and reply replies.
If you have negative personas, it helps you to segment the rotten potatoes from your funnel. This will help in lowering the cost per lead and cost per customer and, therefore, a lower customer acquisition cost.
Buyer personas can help customer support teams to know how to serve customers better. They will be in a better position to understand customer needs and the problems they are trying to solve. They will also know how to handle different customers accordingly.
How to Create a buyer persona
Most companies will have different types of personas an average of 3-20 personas based on the business and what it deals with. Every business is unique, making buyer personas different.
Since creating a buyer persona may be a challenge for some people, Sulma and Sulma has a platform that makes generating personas a breeze. They use data and insight from the market to ensure you have the best persona that resonates to your needs.
A buyer persona should have a name and since every buyer persona is unique, their names should also be unique. When creating buyer personas, most of them have the same general characteristics but different specifics.
Before creating a buyer persona, you need data and insights. You can only have this through customer research. This can be through interviewing your customers in different ways such as surveys.
Apart from interviews, you can also use feedback from sales and marketing to understand the different aspects of your persona. You can also use lead capture forms on websites to give you information about your buyer personas demographic characteristics in terms of location, company size, and what brought them to your website.
Once you have done your research, you will identify the similar patterns and commonalities from the answers. This can help you create a persona and share the information with the rest of the company.
Some of the key information that you will not miss out in creating a buyer persona includes:
Demographic information: you can learn about demographic information from interviews, in-person or surveys. You can also get hints from your interaction with them to know about the demographics.
Your personas motivation or inspiration: You can get this information by asking them the critical why questions. For instance, why they choose your company, what led them there, where they got information about your company/product, when they started using the product. This can help you to define the job they’re hiring a product to do or their triggers. This is very important in understanding customer behaviour to deliver what they need.
Buying behaviours: When it comes to buying behaviour, it’s important to understand their concerns regarding the product, and what their goals are. This can help you in knowing objections that may arise, which can be used by sales.
Name of persona: Once you’ve created a persona, you need to give it a name. Giving it a name makes it feel as human as possible. Even though there are some people who might not be involved in making the persona, the persona name can easily help them imagine who the person is and associate them with certain behaviours.
Sources of information
To be able to research and make personas, there are several sources of information you can have. They include:
- Interview your current customers. The easiest way is to explore your customer base, especially those who have already engaged with your company in a way of another and you would define them as your customers. You need to talk to them to know what inspired them to use the product, what they like about it and what they feel about it. Through interviewing them, you can understand their world, their challenges, what they think about their products, and what’s likely to impact their future decision regarding the product.
- Your prospects. Your prospects are those who are engaging with your product but they may not have necessarily purchased your product. Using your prospects will give you data and can help you figure out your persona. In some cases you may need to give them an incentive to trigger a response from them.
- Referrals. In some cases, you can ask your happy customers for referrals or talk to those who feel might be a good fit for your product. For instance, if you talk to a customer and they’re not interested in your product, you can ask them to give you a referral. You can also ask your networks for referrals and then you can interview them.
- Third party networks. Several third party networks that can help you with leads that you can interview. For instance, sites such as Craigslist and user testing can help you do remote user testing. With this you can know the context of your target audiences and how they behave.
Even though sometimes it is easy to get interviews, there are several things to keep in mind:
Incentives: Since we live in a busy world, people may not necessarily respond to you. An incentive encourages them to respond to you, and this makes your work much easier. This is especially important for customers you have no relationship with.
Clear Intention: When interviewing a client, you need to be clear of your intention from the word go. In this case, you may need to clarify it’s not a sales call. This is especially important when you’re dealing with prospects and those who are not yet your customers.
Simplify: The questions need to be simple and easy to respond to. If it’s too long and with marketing jargon and difficult words, you’re likely not to get a response.
Have a goal. You need to decide on how many people you want to interview and what your end goal is.
Questions to include in a persona interview
1. Personal questions
Personal questions are questions which are personal but related to their role. For instance, what is their job? What’s the title? How do they measure their job? What does their day look like? What skills do they have? What knowledge do they have? Where do they report to?
2. Company questions
Company questions or questions about the industry with the company are important in decision making. For instance, the size of the company. the revenue, the employees, the future trends of the company?
3. Goal questions
These are questions that revolve around their goal of getting the product. They are questions such as are they managing a team or not? What are their responsibilities? What is success in their role?
4. Challenge question
What are their challenges
5. Background questions
They are questions that revolve around their background and demographics. They also include their level of education and career path
6. Future plans and then their preferences in terms of how they make buying decisions
Where do they do research? How do they make purchasing decisions? What are the challenges?
Even though creating a buyer persona is important, it should not be the end goal. Every time they need to be reviewed and updated. This should be done at least yearly. Although it’s a challenge and looks like a lot of work, it’s important because customers evolve with time and so do their needs. Reviewing and updating your personas ensures that you’re up to date with their needs and desires. This will help you achieve your goals. Sulma & Sulma ensures this by having a platform with enough relevant data that updates from time to time. This will ensure that your buyer persona evolves in real-time according to change in data. An updated buyer persona helps in clearer customer understanding, which in turn leads to a lower customer acquisition cost per customer. Despite the skyrocketing customer acquisition costs, one is assured of keeping the costs low by having the right information.