This article provides an easy reference guide for developing buyer personas that can assist sales and marketing teams. It also includes a free editable buyer persona template, to help guide your team in developing buyer personas.
Buyer personas versus Ideal customer profiles
Your Ideal Customer Profile describes the attributes of the organisation that you are targeting. Whereas a buyer persona is all about the human beings who work in the organization.
Buyer personas need to be built out for the different types of people that can influence and ultimately determine the buying decision in your favour or against you.
A powerful set of personas will help you better understand your buyers and therefore improve all aspects of your sales and marketing, from product design to market communications to sales messaging.
About three to six buyer personas is about right.
You do not want to have too many. The purpose of a well written set of personas is that they help sales and marketing people walk in the shoes of their customers. Too many personas reduces focus and creates too much overlap across personas. You want each persona to be uniquely identified so you can tailor your approach to each one.
What are the key items that should go into a buyer persona?
Each persona should describe the attributes, activities and attitudes that are unique to the group.
- Attributes include descriptions such as age, gender and other demographics that might be relevant. Often these attributes are not as relevant for B2B Buyer Personas as they are for consumer product buyers.
- Activities describe the functional roles and tasks that are important to the person. Questions to ask include: what does their job involve, what does their typical day look like and what is their role in the buying process.
- Attitudes describe the buyer’s reasons for buying your product or service. You can also flesh out what their typical hopes and fears are for using a product such as yours. Finally, you can also detail what their unique objections are likely to be.
Buyer Personas are not job title focused.
You want to be writing about the challenges and needs of the person in the target company – these may or may not align with a job title. For example, “needs to maintain and demonstrate tight control of project costs” sounds like an activity that CFOs are focused on but it could be the VP of Sales or head of HR too.
Give your buyer persona a name
So, give your buyer personas a name that best describes the persona rather than use the job title. For example, “Cost Conscious Chris” is a good name for a buyer persona as opposed to “Accountant Andrea”.
Ultimately, it’s about painting a clear picture of the persona
So, give each persona a name and literally a picture to bring them more to life. The more descriptive you can be the better.
A List of possible questions include
- Who are they
- What they do
- Why they buy
- Day in the Life
- Role in the buying process