Are Buyer Personas an Effective Analytical Tool?
Mention “personas” to some people in business, and they might think you’re being borderline frivolous: “Our brand is like Sonny & Cher … while our competitor over here is more like Bonnie & Clyde.”
But working with personas doesn’t have to be a flippant or unserious exercise. In fact, some companies are borrowing this technique from the consumer world and applying it to B-to-B marketing in the form of “buyer personas.” These are representations of idealized customers that can be used to develop targeted content and messaging for different customer types – and even guide your product development efforts.
It’s about profiling good customers – then using those profiles to discover and cultivate other prospects who share similar characteristics.
In the B-to-B world, these are the five characteristics that are considered most often in developing buyer personas:
- The professional duties and areas of responsibility of the professionals who are interested in your company’s products
- The problems and challenges these customers are attempting to solve – and the negative consequences of not solving them
- The benefits they hope to achieve with the sought-after product or solution
- The solutions you are offering and how well they align with the buyers’ needs
- What is dissuading or preventing them from buying your products
Once you’ve formed these buyer personas, the next step is to share them across company teams including product development, sales, employee training and customer service. Not only will this help you confirm that you’re on point, it’ll also help everyone get on the same page, knowing what makes your customers tick and what’s most important to them.
These personas will also help you develop more compelling messaging to support the marketing effort.
Most buyer persona exercises don’t require extensive time and resources to conduct. Yet they can make a significant impact on your sales, prospecting and customer retention success. If your company hasn’t ever gone through an exercise like this, perhaps now’s the time to get started.