Developing and using buyer personas is a must these days. I don’t think anyone will disagree.
The question becomes are companies, especially B2B organizations, investing the time and money necessary to create effective personas. According to a recent survey conducted by B2P Partners, 65% of those interviewed reported they believe their personas were ineffective and, 72% of them indicated they had not conducted any external research to contribute to the creation of their personas.
Building an effective persona involves a deep understanding of your customer or prospect, as well as the challenges of the market they serve. And, in most situations, you may have to turn to market research to help you uncover the insights needed in building your persona, which includes surveying existing, past and prospective customers.
When thinking about creating a persona, take the following into consideration including business goals, age, job title, level within the organization, department, business duties and responsibilities, business challenges, new initiatives, issues or concerns, buying behaviors/criteria, motivations (rational and emotional), need for your particular solution and barriers/obstacles you need to overcome.
You must understand the motivations for your customer’s decisions, as well as their buying journey. What is the hierarchy of the purchase decision; what role do they play? For example, does your primary contact make the decision or do they need to go up the ladder for the final decision? Or, do they conduct all of the research and develop the recommendation only to turn the final decision over to purchasing?
If you have multiple customers or even different departments you need to influence, you need to have a persona for each one of them as well. Also, you need to connect the dots regarding the levels of influence to ensure your communications efforts are maximized.
Armed with this deep level of understanding, you can reliably determine how to communicate and influence the various target customers in making the “right” purchase decision: i.e., buying your product or service.
Keep in mind, this is not a “one and done” program. Like your marketing plan, personas live and breathe as the market changes and you need to constantly make modifications to them. Doing so well help you stay on top of the content you create, the communications strategies you implement and the contributions you make to sales.