In marketing, it’s imperative that you understand your prospective buyers’ goals and motivations. Buyer personas – also known as marketing personas – are distinct, fictional representations of potential customer groups. These personas define typical behavior patterns, goals, skills and attitudes along with fictional details that bring each customer group to life.
Well-executed buyer personas allow us to internalize and relate to the ideal customers we are trying to attract. We can then more effectively direct content, branding, product development and marketing efforts to appeal to the preferences, needs and behaviors of each distinct group.
Would your company benefit from:
- Consistency across marketing, product development and sales for content creation and lead definition?
- Better organizational understanding of your customer’s needs, wants and desires?
- More accurate understanding of where your customers are spending their time, enabling better targeting of content and promotion opportunities?
- Better quality sales leads and lead nurturing programs for different personas?
- Finely targeted analytics that allow you to discover which types of personas make better customers?
If so, consider conducting at least 3-5 buyer persona interviews per customer group, to include:
“Good” and “Bad” Customers
You can’t beat getting information directly from the customers – they have already bought a product and had some experience with your company. Try to discern how to identify these traits earlier in the prospecting process.
It’s important to tread lightly while the sales team is actively attempting to close a deal, but prospective customers can provide tips on current trends and keywords, since they are still in the researching stage of the buying process.
Marketing Influencers and Experts
Ask experts to provide insight into the buyer’s behavior based on their experience in the market.
Additional Tips for Researching Buyer Personas
- Consider conducting a workshop with the sales team. They are a valuable resource and very familiar with the information you seek
- Stop conducting interviews when you can predict interviewee answers
- When asking about the challenges in their role, drill down by asking “Why” they feel each issue is a challenge
- Explore why they use certain media sources to gather problem solving information
- Organize your questions by role, company industry and size, responsibilities, challenges in their role, source of information, as wells as associations.
- Search out industry research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience.
- Examine your existing sales pipeline information to locate demographics (title, company size) that produce the biggest ROI.
- Use gated content to collect the information you need to dive deeper into your database.
In addition, consider that buyer personas aren’t only useful for defining target audiences. They can serve as great reminders – called negative personas – of customers who are just too expensive to acquire. These prospects have an average sales price that is too low to be profitable and are less likely to make less repeat purchases. Use negative personas to identify and avoid these groups.
Fine-tune your marketing, sales and product development efforts with accurate buyer personas will deliver quality leads to the sales team and more profits for the bottom line.
Shannon Prager is the President of Leadit Marketing. She is responsible for the daily operations and management of Leadit Marketing as well as the long term vision for the company.
A marketing leader with over 17 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed marketing strategy. Shannon’s background includes demand generation, marketing automation, social media and marketing operations. You can follow her on Twitter via: @LeaditMarketing