According to Forrester, today’s buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to a vendor. It’s critical more than ever, that we understand: who we’re targeting, what our messaging is and when it’s delivered during the sales cycle, the nature of the content we’re creating, and where to prioritize our investment. A Buyer Persona Program can help define all of these elements.
In this post, I am going to walk you through the 5 steps to create a Buyer Persona program.
A Buyer Persona is a description of a specific person for whom your products and services are intended. It goes beyond statistics and demographics, and defines behaviors, motivations, likes/dislikes and traits of your ideal customer. Its intent is to help you reach your customers on a human level so you can create marketing content that is for someone and not everyone.
How well do you think you know your Buyers? Let’s start with a couple of quick questions:
- Do you know what they like and dislike about your product or service?
- Do you know who has the purchasing power in the organization to “pull the trigger” to buy your product/service?
- Do you know what your client’s pain point is?
- Do you know which social media platforms your Buyer users? If so, how often and what kind of content do they consume?
- Do you know what resources your Buyer uses to research before purchasing products/services similar to yours?
Most marketers and sales reps can’t answer these questions.
1. Locating Your Buyer Personas
Your Buyer Personas are created through research, surveys and interviews. Your buyers can be divided into two main categories, those that purchased from you and those that didn’t. Understanding why someone didn’t purchase from you can be more valuable than those that did. First, you want to get a list from sales of all the buyers/non buyers from the last 60-90 days. Your first obstacle might come from within your own organization (sales), so be prepared. Your VP, Marketing might need to talk to your VP, Sales about the benefits of the marketing department having a deeper buyer expertise in order to get buy in into the Persona program. This will entail him/her understanding the value of messaging targeted to each buyer’s concerns, needs, objections and how that will lead to higher quality leads.
2. Securing the Interview
- Be completely honest about the purpose of your call. You are seeking 20-30 minutes of their time to discuss their buying (or lack thereof) experience with your company.
- Assure the buyer that you aren’t selling anything, otherwise they will hang up.
- Don’t sound guilty on the call. Be appreciative, but not apologetic.
- Buddy up to the Assistant. Make him/her your best friend.
- Use first names, ” Hi Joe, this is Cindy…”
- Let them know you will followup with an email – encourage them to open it.
Odds are, you will get a voicemail message. Afterwards, send them an email, referring to the voicemail, with a couple more details and the times you can be reached. If they do not respond to the email, you may find that you need to make an additional call to lock down the interview.
3. Preparing for the Interview
- Their Story – This is a great ice breaker and is the story of their recent purchase. Have them walk you through, step-by-step, all of the details of their recent buying experience.
- Background – What is their title in the company? Who do they report to? How long have they worked there? Try and get all of the basic information about the person you are speaking with.
- Goals – Ask questions to try and understand what the buyer’s primary and secondary goals are in their business.
- Pain Points – What are their challenges? What keeps them up at night?
- Resources/Information – Where do they go for information/advice? Do they read the newspaper, read CNN online? When they were researching your product/service, where did they go?
- Social Media – What platforms do they use? What kind of content do they ingest – video, slideshares, blogs etc.
- Personal Info- I usually end my interviews with the personal questions after we have had a chance to get to know each other a bit. This is when I ask whether they are married, have kids, what their hobbies are etc.
4. Conducting the Interview
5. Building Your Personas
With these Buyer Personas in hand, you now have the information needed to create a targeted content marketing strategy.
I hope this article was helpful.