There is a lot on the internet right now about buyer personas and how to build them out. HubSpot blogs about them often, we’ve created our own persona workbook and just about everyone else is jumping on the bandwagon with tips on what you should and shouldn’t know about your top marketing prospects.
There’s just one problem with all of this though: How do you figure out where to start?
Knowing what information to ask for when creating a persona’s profile is all but useless if you don’t first know how to narrow down an enormous pool of potential customers into the right persona categories.
Sure, people will tell you to interview current clients and past prospects. They’ll tell you to talk to sales people and other internal resources. What they won’t tell you is that unless you walk into these conversations with a game plan knowing how you may or may not segment these people into personas, you will spend several hours of frustrating conversation with people who won’t truly understand what you’re looking for.
Knowing this, I’ve put together a list of three different starting points that you can take when first starting your journey toward buyer persona creation. Go through each point and ask yourself the attached questions to see if it matches with your company and marketing needs before diving into the next steps of information gathering.
One of the more generic and larger persona segments you can create can be based off of industry knowledge. If you know that your business works with a number of different industries in different ways, ask yourself questions like these:
- Which industries do we target? Are these the only industries or just main ones?
- Do we approach these industries differently in either of our marketing or sales efforts?
- Do specific industries only use one of our products or services?
- Do specific industries require more attention than others?
Sometimes businesses target specific customers based on their company size, whether inside of one industry or in the general business landscape. If this sounds like your target market, ask yourself some of these questions:
- Are we targeting one industry in particular or do we qualify leads based on the size of their company?
- Are there different sizes of clients that can easily be segmented based on how we market to them and the value they get out of our business solutions?
By Job Title
Often times there are a number of different decision makers that your business will face when closing business no matter what industry or size of company you may be targeting. In that case, you will want to answer some of these questions:
- Are there job titles or roles within the organizations you target that transcend both industry and company size boundaries? For example, do all CEO’s face the same challenges across the different industries you target?
- Are there multiple people within a prospective business that may contact you to do business or that you will have to work with in order to close the business? What are those titles and roles?
Creating buyer personas can be a daunting task, especially if you are unsure of where to start. Use these 3 different starting points to better understand what square one looks like for you and your business’ new inbound marketing campaign. From there you’ll be able to dive deeper into the multitude of tools and how-to’s for building out a more detailed persona.
Still not sure where to start or have a few persona-related questions? Reach out to us here, shoot me a personal email or simply leave a comment below and I would be more than happy to help you out throughout what is the most important process of any inbound marketing campaign.