How to Understand the Buyer Persona – A Comprehensive Guide

BY Jessica Helinski
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While you’ve likely heard the phrase “buyer persona,” how clear are you about what one is or why it’s important? Like other trending terms in the sales industry, buyer persona is gaining momentum as a must-​have. If you’ve never quite nailed down the specifics of a B2B buyer persona, now is definitely the time to get it done.

What is a buyer persona?

Writing for Close, Joanna Kaminska defines a buyer persona as follows:

A B2B buyer persona is an example of a real buyer profile in the business-​to-​business sales process. Thanks to a detailed description of their job title, motivations, needs, goals, and challenges, sales teams can better understand decision-​makers and influencers in the companies they’re targeting.”

By creating buyer personas, sellers are able to effectively tailor their strategies and processes to align with what ideal prospects want and need. Reps can also target efforts more efficiently to make sure they are going after the leads who will be the best fit. Because they have an understanding of their target audience’s behaviors, goals, challenges, and preferences, sellers are positioned for success.

How to create a buyer persona

The task of creating a buyer persona can seem daunting, but it really just requires diving into some research. “The best way to create a B2B buyer persona is to do a qualitative study,” explains Kaminska. “Interview your current customers, and don’t forget to catch up with churned customers and those that considered your product at some point.” Keep an eye out for trends, including those related to:

  • Motivations
  • Job title/​role
  • Pain points
  • Buying process
  • Company size
  • Communication preferences
  • End use
  • Satisfaction rates
  • Psychographics

Scrutinize these details to form a buyer persona, or in other words, a snapshot of prospects who offer the biggest opportunities for new business. 

Resources for your research

Because buyer personas are based on the knowledge you gather, it’s important to be thorough. So don’t limit your research to what you already know about your buyers. Don’t shy away from going straight to the source. What better way to get deep insights than directly from current and past clients? CloserIQ’s Eric Goldschein suggests using these methods:

Interviews and surveys 

Schedule a quick call or video chat to ask questions and tap into their experience working with you. It’s one of the best techniques for creating buyer personas. He also recommends offering an email option to capture busy professionals who may not have the time to take a survey via a call. And, he adds, offering a small incentive, like a gift card, can encourage engagement.

Social insights

As Goldschein explains, “Some social media platforms and search engines come equipped with tools to tell you about your followers and customers…[such as] geography, demographics, purchase behavior, and other factors.”

Forms on your site

You can discreetly place questions, small forms or polls on your site to gather answers to your questions. By keeping them simple, you don’t risk disrupting the user experience. 

Don’t limit yourself to just one

Sellers shouldn’t feel like they need to have only one B2B buyer persona. While you may have one primary persona, see if there are any other common details that emerge for other persona types. Then, personalize them to create a clearer, more human snapshot.

Group your personas into a few distinct personalities,” Goldschein suggests. “These fictionalized versions of your clients are based on real people. When you give them human characteristics, it will help you put yourself in their shoes.”

Consider how your messaging and approach will differ according to each persona. Personalization is key in sales, so make sure that you customize your engagement according to each persona’s preferences. 

Using buyer personas to improve your targeting and ability to connect will have a positive impact only if you keep at it. As SalesFuel notes, “It is vital that you not only identify a buyer persona, but also stick with it…Good habits, like this one, prevent you from wasting your efforts.” 

And remember: These personas may evolve, especially as you add or update solutions. Revisit your personas often and adjust accordingly, keeping your targeting and processes on point.

Photo by Gustavo Fring