Lessons from #INBOUND16: How to Create Buyer Personas

We’ve learned how a sales and marketing aligned organization succeeds in the marketing game — with both teams on the same page, sales and marketing departments support and learn from one another. One of the first steps toward creating shared goals is the establishment of actionable buyer personas.

Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and behavior patterns among your real customers. Personas depict a picture of your ideal buyer, their habits, and their needs in general.

More than a one-dimensional profile of your customer, buyer personas reveal insights about their purchasing decisions — the specific attitudes, concerns, and criteria that drive prospective customers to choose you over your competitor.

What is the difference between buyer profiles and buyer personas?

In short, think of a buyer profile as the ideal type of company you want to target, and the buyer persona as the type of person you want to target. A buyer profile includes data points such as company size, location, and revenue. A buyer persona looks at an individual’s specific goals and challenges. Keep in mind that it’s people who buy things and make decisions, so in order to earn their attention and interest, we must make marketing messages relevant to the individual.

Buyer Personas

So, how you do it?

The strongest buyer personas are based on market research, as well as insights gathered from actual customers (consider surveys, interviews, and so on). To start, establish the criteria that defines an ideal customer for your business, while creating a clear definition of who you’re selling to. Some questions to ask:

  • Do you know the background info, demographics, and identifier words for each persona?
  • What are their unique goals and challenges?
  • How can you help each persona reach their objectives?

Buyer persona template

To get you started, here is a free downloadable Buyer Persona Template to complete for your organization.

6S Buyer Persona Template

Depending on your business, and the products you offer, it is a best practice to develop between three to five buyer personas. You’ll create an individual profile for each persona, which will consist of the following data points:

Section 1: Who

  • Background: Job role, responsibilities, career path, family
  • Demographics: Age range, gender, income, location
  • Identifiers: Demeanour, communication preferences, key personality traits, mannerisms

Section 2: What

  • Goals: Primary, secondary
  • Challenges: Biggest roadblocks to persona’s success
  • Value Proposition: How can your company help this persona achieve their goals and overcome their challenges?

Section 3: Why

  • Real quotes to further represent your persona accurately and understand them better
  • Common objections: what are the most common objections to your product/service from this persona?

Section 4: How

  • Marketing messaging: How should you describe your product to this persona? How will you convey the value of your product?
  • Elevator pitch: Sell your persona on your solution

6S Buyer Persona Template

Tips to keep in mind

  • When considering the most influential buyer personas, identify which personas have the most impact on the decision-making process at each stage in the buyers’ journey. The decision maker may not be as influential as the personas doing initial research.
  • Understand the resources the buyer trusts at each step of their evaluation for this decision. How and where do they find information?

Once you’re done, you should have a clear idea of your prospects so you can better empathize with them, and in turn delight them. You want to learn who they are; what kinds of issues they face; what their goals are; where they work; what motivates them; how they consume media; and what kind of people they are.

Personas help sales understand how your product can solve prospects’ business problems, and they help marketing pinpoint which type of content works best. Both teams can continually refine their pitches and campaigns based on this shared information.

Looking for help with creating your own buyer personas? Get in touch with our inbound marketing experts.

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