5 Tips for Developing Strong Buyer Personas

Buyer Personas are the foundation of great B2B marketing plain and simple and there was a big discussion on Linkedin about personas recently.

Fearless Competitor is the blog of the company Find New Customers and we have lots of great content for you there, as well as services like Buyer Personas.

To create great lead generation campaigns, you start with buyer personas.

In fact, in his

great book, Launch by Mike Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, which we were hand-selected to review, he calls these “Person Personas” – the emphasis must be on people and not on the sale. (Amen, Mike.)

Without deep buyer(People) personas, you simply cannot be great at demand generation or lead generation at all.

Personas are needed to tell you where to launch your campaigns, what topics to cover, what content you need, etc.

To understand why personas are so important and to see a sample, refer to my earlier blog post, Personas are Critical, Mr/Mrs CEO.

But I ask business leaders for “personas” in my day to day dealings with them, they almost always give me titles and industries, such as “We sell to heads of Human Resources, Chief Financial Officers and CIO’s.

Those are NOT personas. Those are just people identifiers. They lack the depth of information to build great content for your marketing campaigns.

To help you create personas in  your business, let me share 5 tips for great personas.

1. Start with ideal customer profiles
To start developing personas, start with the ideal buyers of the products and services your company sells.

We’re looking for the type of businesses – we’re looking for people. Who’s the best customer for you? Think of what problems you solve. What outcomes do these businesses get from working with your company?

2. Identify titles and industries
Now that you know what companies to target, think about the titles that buy your products and services. Is it a VP of Manufacturing or Human Resources? What about IT? Who else is involved?

Your salespeople will know. Go ask them.

3. Ask all the questions (Thanks to Ten Ton Marketing for these questions.)

  • What’s this person’s role in the buying process?Decision maker, champion, or influencer?
  • What work issues keep this person up at night?
  • What motivates this person to take action?
  • How familiar is s/he with the solution you offer?
  • What sources does this person turn to for information and daily news?
  • How does the prospect go about making business decisions?
  • What types of organizations does this person belong to and what events does he or she attend?
  • Does this person seek advice from colleagues, industry peers, and/or unbiased third parties? If so, where?
  • How is he or she dealing with the problem today?
  • What phrases does the prospect use to describe the issues he or she is facing?
  • Does this person prefer high-level details or a deep dive into a topic?
  • What prevents this type of buyer from choosing us?

4. Leverage all contact points and do direct interviews with buyers (Thanks Adele)

To get answers to these questions, get information from all the places you can.

  • Talk to people who deal with customers, like support and sales.
  • Ask questions on Linkedin and Twitter.
  • Create a survey in a tool like SurveyMonkey and have inside sales call to complete it. Participate in blogs and online communities.
  • Ask questions directly of buyers and keep asking — till you get a 360 degree view.
  • And most importantly, conduct direct interviews of buyers to uncover the real reasons behind their purchase decision.

5. Revise it every few months

Don’t think one and done. Personas are an endless quest for perfection.  You’ll continually learn more and more. So periodically revisit your personas and make them better and better. Set bi-monthly meetings to review.

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers.
Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers.
Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 456-8218 or send an email to jeff.ogden at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Paul Dunay, Chief Marketing Officer.

6 thoughts on “5 Tips for Developing Strong Buyer Personas

  1. For step #4, I would add that it’s critical to conduct direct interviews with the target buyers. That is the only way to collect the non-obvious, meaningful information that the competition doesn’t know about the buyers.

    I’m looking forward to demonstrating this idea in the videos we’re doing together.

  2. Great post! I totally agree that buyer personas are the foundation to great B2B marketing. This post actually inspired me to write a blog about buyer personas, I created a worksheet on how marketers can create buyer personas and buyer journeys and have content at every stage. Thanks for sharing!

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