5 Steps to Build Buyer Personas Like a Mastermind
They’re the root of all your marketing strategies and initiatives. They’re the motivation pushing you to consistently improve your product or augment your service offerings. They’re… wait for it… your customers. But how do you know what your customers truly desire? What are they most in need of? How can your product or service solve their biggest pain points? Better yet, what are their pain points? It’s important to get into the minds of your customers to build the most effective buyer personas.
Let’s be real. We all know that buyer personas are essential to driving successful marketing campaigns. Honestly, marketing without developing buyer personas is like shooting an arrow blindfolded and hoping it hits the target. But one thing many marketers struggle with is how to build meaningful personas that make each of your customers’ needs and wants crystal clear. Plus, any worthwhile buyer persona will solidify messaging around how your product or service can help your customers overcome their biggest obstacles.
In this blog, we’re sharing the top 5 steps to building effective buyer personas. Let’s dive in!
1. Uncover Trends in Your Contacts Database
How do your current customers and leads consume content? Maybe they have a greater propensity to open emails that have humorous subject lines. Or maybe a subset of contacts has a high engagement rate with content around one particular service offering, like a free trial of your SaaS platform. Meanwhile, a separate segment of contacts might prefer content that focuses on your consultative services.
Leveraging the data from your contact database will help you identify trends that enable you to:
- Group contacts into lists for each service offering and/or product
- Identify characteristics and affinities of each persona
- Determine how various contact segments like to receive and consume content
2. Interview Key Business Stakeholders
Certain business stakeholders—department heads, senior management, etc.—will have deep knowledge of the types of buyers that the organization finds success with. To craft meaningful buyer personas, it’s important to interview these stakeholders to uncover details about each buyer persona from their perspective. Business stakeholders typically understand the primary goals and vision of their organization, helping to direct the build out of the personas.
When developing your buyer personas, key questions to ask to get the most beneficial information from stakeholders include (but are not limited to):
- Do we know who our most profitable and loyal customer base is? If so, who are they?
- Does the company plan to step into a new market or vertical within the near future (1-2 years)? How will this change our target audience demographics?
- Who was our product or service initially intended for? Has this ideology changed since the company’s inception?
3. Align with Sales to Develop Effective Buyer Personas
We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it until the cows come home—sales and marketing alignment is essential to growth and positive business outcomes. The same goes for building buyer personas. Too often, the marketing team creates buyer personas in a vacuum based on their assumptions without getting agreement from the sales team that the personas are indeed accurate. This is a huge mistake. Sales and marketing teams must work together to pinpoint the demographics, firmographics, and characteristics of each buyer persona.
Salespeople are typically the most in-tune with buyer personas because they interact with buyers on a regular basis. Marketing can leverage the insights sales generate from their sales conversations to gain a better understanding of which messaging resonates with different audiences. Sales and marketing alignment enables both teams to work together to develop a clearer picture of exactly who their best-fit customers are. Below are some key questions to ask your sales team:
- What types of buyers do you typically speak with?
- Which types of buyers purchase more than others?
- Why do customers choose this company over competitors?
- What are the most common buyer objections you face?
4. Interview Willing Customers
What better place to source information about buyers from than from the source itself? Interviewing your current customers is a key component of building worthwhile buyer personas. These one-on-one conversations enable you to decipher who your ideal buyers truly are. What daily tasks bog them down? What do they love most about their job? The least? What do they like to do on the weekends for fun? All of these questions (no matter how random they may sound) are necessary to build a complete profile of each buyer.
At the end of the day, you’re not marketing or selling to a “persona” you’re marketing to an actual person this persona represents. It’s important to understand the person, so that you can make educated decisions about the type of content and messaging that will resonate with them most.
We recommend asking various questions based on the following categories (examples below—not an extensive list):
- What’s your age and gender?
- Where do you live?
- Do you own a home or rent?
- Do you have children?
- Are you married?
- What’s your job title?
- What do your day-to-day job duties look like?
- What job level do you aspire to reach?
- How long have you been in this position?
- What do you watch on TV?
- What are your hobbies/interests?
- How much time do you spend at work? How much time do you spend at home?
Pain point questions:
- What about your day/job is the most stressful or frustrating?
- What is your least favorite part of your job?
- What work-related accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
- Have you ever had a bad customer experience? What was it like?
5. Document Each Persona in an Easily Accessible Place
With all the insights, details, and input you’ve gathered through steps one through four, it’s time to document each of your buyer personas. We recommend creating one to two presentation slides for each buyer persona and compile all slides into one easily navigable deck. It’s important to put this deck in an accessible location where marketing and sales teams can find it and improve upon it over time.
Each buyer persona slide should include the following details:
- Buyer background / demographics
- Pain points
- Job title(s) / role(s) duties
- Identifiers / lifestyle
- Solutions to their pain points
- Key messaging that will resonate with this audience
➡️ HubSpot offers a great array of buyer persona documentation templates. Check them out here!