Written by Ben Harper: a sales specialist and founder of lead generation company meethugo.com
Creating in-depth buyer personas is often enough to make even the most diligent business owner realise how little they actually know about their prospects.
If this sounds familiar, then fear not; this article has been written to help you create your buyer persona roadmap, to give you a better idea of whom you’re marketing to, and ultimately to help you sell more.
Getting to the basics means understanding your customer's core information, things such as:
On its own, not a lot, which is why it’s important to humanise a demographic by creating a character that will share a lot of the characteristics of a key audience base.
Doing so also helps you to understand what this demographic might be looking for, what they respond to, and how they think and feel, which is a crucial part of any successful marketing campaign.
For example, let’s say our company sells B2B marketing software, and we’re looking to create our first key demographic.
We’d need to consider the kinds of professionals that would benefit from such a product - company directors and marketing managers, for example.
One persona we might create could be a marketing manager in her mid-30s named Lauren, working for a medium-sized corporation. Her day-to-day responsibilities include generating leads, managing sales, and gathering market data.
Lauren is also in charge of organising and prioritising marketing campaigns for her team, which helps to advertise products and reinforce brand loyalty in a crowded marketplace.
Lauren is in the market for a cheaper alternative to some of our company’s larger competitors, and she’s looking to make a decision quickly and confidently, due to budget restraints.
With all this information, the first part of the roadmap looks something like this:
This is the first step of the journey, but we need to go deeper than
Lauren has done the basic research and knows what’s out there, but the next part of the journey is understanding what the buyer’s needs are.
To understand what a buyer needs, all you need to do is ask by undertaking research and development, by talking to past, present and potential future customers.
Lead follow-ups and surveys can provide you with quite a bit of information, such as where a customer is in the sales funnel and whether they’re in desperate need of a product or service, or they’re just testing the waters.
Even if we don’t understand exactly what they need, we can make
some assumptions and apply them to our persona. By asking what someone in Lauren’s position needs from our B2B marketing software?
For a start, she might need the software to be easy to use. She’s
managing a team of marketing professionals – some of which may not be as proficient with this kind of software as others.
Since she’s running multiple marketing campaigns at once, perhaps she’ll
need a place to centralise all of her data and track the performance.
Once we’ve added some needs to our roadmap, it begins to look a little
more like a fleshed-out personality, and we’ll also need to decide where she is on the decision-making ladder.
Given that her role is that of a marketing manager, we can assume she’d be heavily involved and may even be the one to pull the trigger.
One persona can also have multiple roles, as we’ve highlighted below:
We’ve also highlighted the fact that Lauren needs the solution she
chooses to be cheaper than their current software solution. She also requires the use of competitor tracking to monitor industry data and record competitor analysis.
As with any road map, there’s bound to be a few roadblocks along the way
that prevent your customer from taking the action you need them to.
There’s always likely to be constraints and concerns, annoyance and niggling irritations that can impact their decisions. You can also add these to your persona road map to ensure that you know how to address these issues with potential customers – whether they pertain to your company or the industry as a whole.
Once you’ve added these onto your road map, you may find yourself with
something that looks like this:
As you can see, just by making some simple assumptions and pinpointing
what potential buyers might be looking for, we have information on:
All of this information is needed to acknowledge buyer objections and
concerns while allowing you to concentrate on customer requirements and
purchase time frames.
We’ve not only formed a visual representation of a key demographic, but
we’ve also been able to pinpoint potential pitfalls with our product and
potential holes in the market that our product can fill, i.e. cheaper B2B
Lauren is by no means a fully formed persona; it’s rather more like a
collection of traits, which is always being added to and revised. While it’s
not a neat and tidy document, it is a far more authentic to the customer
experience as we follow them along with the map.
Think about the last time you made a large purchase – let’s say a house,
for instance. It’s never going to be a "one and done” sort of process.
There’s plenty of details to smooth out, such as insurance, mortgage payments, and ongoing maintenance.
When you think about how your mind works during these kinds of
processes, it’s seldom a precise list of to-dos, but rather a more ‘as and
when’, scattergun approach.
It may seem rather time-intensive to through this process with every
demographic, particularly in industries where you work with suppliers,
wholesalers, resellers and other kinds of customer.
The key is to not panic and prioritise. Focus on your most valuable
customers and find the thread that ties them all together and then build up the persona that represents that particular demographic.
However, much you plan and try to define a particular set of customers,
there’s always going to be the odd curveball, when a customer goes against even the most researched and developed persona.
But it pays to remember that the journey is just as crucial as the
destination, and the easier that pathway is, the more receptive a customer will be to make that last step of the journey.
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