Buyer personas are a powerful tool that every business owner and marketer, especially those in the dynamic startup realm, should have in their arsenal. You might be wondering, what exactly are buyer personas, and why are they such a big deal? Well, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, we will demystify the concept of buyer personas for startups, shed light on their pivotal role, and equip you with the knowledge and skills to create them effectively.
Before we get into the steps for developing personas for your organization, let’s get aligned on some of the basics and explore a few foundational questions surrounding B2B Buyer Personas.
Breaking Down Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are composite, semi-fictional, general representations of your ideal customers. They convey a range of important characteristics about these individuals. These characteristics include demographics, firmographics, psychographics and behaviors:
- Demographics: These are the general characteristics and personal traits of your ideal customers. Some demographic components include age, education, job title, geographic location and gender.
- Firmographics: These are characteristics of organizations each buyer persona is a part of. Firmographics focus on the traits of the company rather than the individual. Some firmographic factors include the number of employees at the company, locations and annual revenue.
- Psychographics: These are similar to demographics but focus on the cognitive and psychological factors of the individual. These matter because they often influence behavior, which is another piece of the puzzle. Some psychographic elements include values, pain points or opinions on various topics.
- Behavior: This is the final piece of the buyer persona puzzle. Behavioral factors are as they sound, they are individual behaviors. This includes what type of marketing or sales materials they engage with and what products they purchase.
Why Buyer Personas are Important for Startups
Marketing can only be successful if it focuses on a specific audience. This is one of the main reasons buyer personas are important for startups; it defines the audience for their business. Here are a few additional reasons:
- Gives Deep Customer Insights: A buyer persona tells you what you need to know about your ideal customer. Your startup has valuable information on what challenges they are facing, how old they are and what they are looking for in products or solutions.
- Informs Content Development: Content marketing is a powerful marketing tactic, and with the right audience, it can make a big impact. With targeted personas, website traffic can grow by 210% and increase leads by 97%. These numbers speak for themselves, and the results startups can achieve.
- Guides Messaging: As your startup defines your core values, mission, differentiators and other messaging elements, it is key to keep personas in mind. With a deep understanding of persona pain points, demographics and other characteristics, it can make developing messaging an easier task as you know what speaks to them.
How to Put a Buyer Persona Together
Putting buyer personas together is a process. Below are the main steps to cover when developing the right buyer personas for your organization. Make sure you set aside time for this. It does not happen overnight.
Gather Data for The Four Persona Characteristics
Even though buyer personas are fictional, they should always be based on accurate and relevant quantitative and qualitative data. Here’s how to collect each data type:
- Quantitative Data: Gather this from internal data sources, such as a database, and supplement it with secondary data from external sources, such as trends and industry reports.
- Qualitative Data: Gather this data from conversations with internal stakeholders and interviews with customers, prospects or other people in the industry.
Collect a variety of data points for each persona characteristic, including:
- Demographic: Age, gender, education, job title/role, geographic location, income or relationship status
- Firmographic: Company size, annual revenue, location and number of locations, years in business and industry
- Psychographic: Personal values, interests, hobbies and personality traits
- Behavior: What marketing or sales material do they gravitate towards, what products or services do they prefer and what media channels do they consume most
Identify Common Characteristics, Pain Points and Goals
Data serves as the foundation for developing buyer personas. Think of this stage as building the framework for your different buyer personas. Here, you will map out and document the various features and attributes that define your respective personas. These are a few questions to help get you started on grouping and forming the persona.
- How can I group my personas based on demographic, firmographic, psychographic or behavioral characteristics?
- What locations are the respective personas concentrated in?
- What are some recurring pain points of each persona?
- Based on persona pain points, how can I define goals that are important to them?
Put It All Together
Now that the foundation and framework for the personas are in place, it is time to put it all together. Here are the key steps to doing so:
- Name: Each persona you create should have a name and focus on a specific job role. For example, if your target customers are C-level, you could create a persona named “CEO Conner.”
- Job Title: This is where you should list a group of job titles that fit the persona. For example, if you have a persona for “Senior Susan,” that could include Vice President, Senior Vice President or even some C-level job titles. This tells you who fits under this persona.
- Background: It is always good to have a sentence or two about the persona’s general background. For example, Susan has been in the tech industry for 15 years. She started as a junior-level assistant for a big tech company and worked her way up to executive operations director.
- Pain Points: What are the specific pain points for this persona? Are they looking to expand their operations and need a product to support that? Are they experiencing bottlenecks in their everyday processes that need resolving? Outline 3-4 pain points that are common among each persona.
- Goals: Every persona has goals, so it’s important to define what they are and determine how your company can provide a solution for them. Depending on your persona’s seniority level, these goals might look different. Someone at the C-level might be looking to increase revenue and customer base. A mid-level team member who works in day-to-day and execution activities might be aiming to improve efficiency with processes and streamline collaboration. Each persona will have different goals to consider.
This model for developing buyer personas is important. It is the foundation for the marketing and sales efforts your startup conducts. Define your personas and let the rest follow. Don’t forget that organizations change over time, and people do too. Be sure to review and validate your personas on a regular basis to reflect any important shifts.