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How to Create a Buyer Persona That Wins More Sales

March 17, 2016 by Will Kerschbaum

How To Create A Buyer Persona That Wins More Sales

Let me introduce you to Kelly. Kelly is a 39-year-old marketing director at a growing mid-size company. She’s the sole marketing person at her organization, and she’s relatively new at the company—but she learned quickly that she needs to prove her value to the CEO and the VP of Sales, who think marketing is a touchy-feely department that doesn’t provide the sales team with the support they need.

Kelly wants to make a marketing impact at her company that helps them achieve real growth. She’s thinking about implementing inbound marketing, but she doesn’t how to get started or how to convince other stakeholders that inbound can provide the results they’re looking for. She’s looking for a strategic and creative partner who can help her launch and optimize an inbound marketing system that delivers meaningful sales support.

Kelly is vital to my work because she helps me understand our clients better.

She’s also one of my imaginary friends.

Use Buyer Personas to Target Your Marketing

Specifically, Kelly is a buyer persona. A buyer persona is one of the greatest tools for your marketing activities and a vital way to understand and reach your customers.

A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your real and potential customers, based on market research and data. A persona encompasses your customers’ goals, motivations, behaviors, values and pain points. While you don’t need to include every detail about a persona’s life (you probably don’t need to know their favorite color or the first time they fell in love), the more you flesh out relevant details, the more it helps you to understand your actual customers.

Fully understanding your personas helps you plan a marketing strategy that answers your real customers’ questions and leads them through the sales funnel. Every marketing activity should be informed by your buyer personas.

How to Create an Accurate Buyer Persona that Wins More Sales

How do you create a buyer persona that gets results? To get real value out of your personas, it’s critical that you follow a smart process for creating them. This is the process we follow at The Whole Brain Group.

Get the right information

If you’re a B2B company, you probably don’t need much personal information about your persona, but you do need to understand them as a person—what they’re struggling with, how they’re feeling, and why. Answer the following questions with as much detail as you can.

  • Name, age, sex
  • Role at the company (this doesn’t have to be a job title)
  • Relevant demographics such as race, if applicable
  • Professional worldview (one sentence that sums up this person)
  • Motivation (overall goals)
  • What they’re looking for (situational needs)
  • Pain points (what’s standing in the way)
  • Common questions

Ask the right people

You can probably answer most of these questions fairly well already, but unless you’re interacting with your ideal customer on a daily basis, you shouldn’t rely on your current knowledge to fill in the details. Go to the people who know your personas best:

  • The sales team. Your sales team should know exactly what your personas’ pain points, motivations, and biggest questions are. Mine their knowledge and experience to get a fully fleshed-out, three-dimensional understanding of your personas. This is your best resource, because ultimately, your marketing efforts are designed to support the sales team in winning more customers from the buyer personas you’re creating.
  • Customer support. Your customer support team can be a great resource as well. They interact with your customers after the sale, and so they can provide an understanding of your persona that sales won’t have. After the sale, questions or issues come up that didn’t present themselves during the sale. If you understand these things about your persona before the sale, you can create an even better buying experience for your customers!
  • Your customers. Who knows your customers better than your customers? You can’t always interview them, but you can collect valuable information from them during the buying process, which you can use to inform the creation of your persona. But if you can talk personally with your customers to understand them better, go for it!

Design your personas

Now that you’ve got all the right information for your persona and it’s been vetted, it’s time to put it together in an attractively designed one-page reference. This is an important part of developing your buyer persona, because you want it to be easy and enjoyable to use. Add a photo of your persona to the sheet. Print it out and keep the persona within easy reach so you can quickly refer to it every time you start a new marketing campaign or content piece.

Example of a designed buyer persona

One of our clients got so excited about their buyer personas, they blew them up and printed them out as posters, which they have hanging on their wall. It’s a constant reminder to their entire team—sales, marketing, customer services—who their customers are that they’re serving.

Next Steps

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Topics: Marketing, Buyer Personas, syndication