Lucas Hamon Aug 19, 2019 1:03:00 PM 8 min read

What is a Buyer Persona?

Buyer personas help you hit your sales targets.

So, exactly what is a buyer persona, and why are they so important?

They are fictional representations of your ideal customer. And they're the building blocks of every investment you make in sales & marketing.

If you're asking this question,  then you may have overlooked a mission-critical component to growing your business. In this article, I help you understand why, and provide a template you can take to the bank.

The importance of Buyer Personas

When you hire a marketer to run paid ads or generate inbound leads, how, exactly, do you communicate your ideal buyer characteristics? How do you maintain consistency, and ensure that your point gets across that your target customer is of a certain demographic, and communicate their goals & pain points?

A buyer persona will do all of this for you.

Yes, you can have multiple buyer personas. And yes, sales should know about them too. In fact, their sales process may differ between personas, so their feedback is incredibly valuable... particularly when it comes down to measuring ROI.

Why personas feel like going backwards, but they're not

Most business leaders I talk to think the persona exercise is a waste of time when we first start discussions. 

They "already know" everything there is to know about their perfect customer...

So they say... at first

As a senior leader in your company, you have a lot of great information in your head, and if you were the one setting up ads or putting together content offers and blog posts, you'd probably do just fine... right?

Maybe.

Probably not, though.

Your customers only tell you what you need to know. When you build out a persona, we're asking them questions that disarm them... that prevent cookie-cutter responses that are designed to prevent you from getting hurt feelings or having to spend too much time helping you improve your business.

The reality is that they store a ton of critical data in their heads, and if you can get 30 minutes with them on the phone talking about what it means to be them, you'd be amazed at the types of discoveries you can make.

How to build Buyer Personas

There are handful of ways you can build a persona.

1. Develop your hypothesis -

Look at your customer pool today... who brought your business in to the mix, and who made the final decisions to work with your company? Try to distill them down into 3 groups.

From there, choose your single most important persona. This is the target you'll spend 50% or more of your time on alone, because they influence the sale more than anybody else.

2. Knowledge dump - 

Take everything you know from you and your team, and put them into a buyer persona template. You'll need to gather basic demographics information as well as:

3. Interview - 

Don't stop your persona build with what you aready know... take it to the next level and fill in gaps you didn't even know existed by jumping on the phone with them for 30 or so minutes.

A detailed buyer persona doesn't stop at surface level responses. It reveals drivers, fears, and passion... It reveals their LIZARD BRAIN.

B2B Buyer Persona Examples

Your best buyer personas will come with an interesting name that you can refer back to. Here are the personas we target here are Orange Pegs:

  • Timothy Ownsalot - Small businesses & early-stage startups
  • Jim Alwaysbeclosing - Small to mid-sized businesses and late-stage stsartups
  • Brandi Ng - Small to mid sized businesses... those looking to scale

These are our top 3 personas, and they differ in who is at the top depending on the size of the company we're working with. The top 2 are Timothy Ownsalot and Brandi Ng, because although sales tends to have more pull than marketing, they often struggle with ideas that involve changing the way they conduct themselves.

And believe me - growing a business often requires a change in culture, particularly if you're generating inbound leads as part of your growth strategy.

From our experience, business owners care more about:

  • The bottom line
  • Growing the business
  • Delegating important tasks to competent and motivated people
  • Seeing into the future

Marketing Leaders:

  • Branding
  • Awareness
  • Helping the sales teams be better at their jobs
  • Proving value

Sales Leaders:

  • Better leads
  • Sales predictability
  • Transparency
  • Record-breaking months, quarters, and years

CONCLUSION

We have only scratched the surface. To get started on building your buyer personas, or just to better understand what kind of information they contain, download our buyer persona template:

Buyer persona template for your business

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Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.

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