Personas

How buyer personas help generate more business opportunities

Identifying and growing an audience that wants or, better still, craves what you offer is key to growing a successful business.

This is easier said than done and those businesses that get it right can experience an extraordinary transformation – not only in business, but more importantly, in their personal world.

Achieving this sweet spot, where you are more naturally attuned to creating what people crave, tends to elevate your view and experience of the world around you. It’s a state where things fall more easily into place and every step seems to move you forward exponentially, in leaps and bounds.

Two basic components

At a very basic level, the two key components you require are:

  • Firstly, a solution – the products, services and information you sell,
  • And, secondly, buyers – the people who buy the solutions you sell.

You probably already have a solution (either fully developed or in the process of development).

Then, as important, you require buyers – the people who want your solution.

Without buyers, you don’t have a business. And without knowing buyer preferences, it’s very difficult to develop solutions that people want and will buy.

The purpose of this guide is to provide a method to understand who your buyers are and why they would buy your solution.

Thinking about your audience

On a separate sheet of paper, create and keep building a list of each customer you currently serve, and all the target businesses and people you want to add to your customer database over the next three years.

Next, you need to think about involving them in your marketing machine.

You can interview them, feature them, get them to speak at your events, get them to join your community (and you join theirs) and involve them in every other promotional campaign you embark on.

You can add to this by creating and distributing unique insights to this audience.

Then, when the time comes to pitch, it’s already a warm relationship – or at the very least, they know who you are and what solution you offer.

Using personas to better understand your audience

An effective tool to identify and grow your audience is the buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a fictional character created to represent a group of people who might all acquire a product or service for a similar reason.

We have created an interactive persona worksheet to help you research your target audience. Get the worksheet by clicking  HERE

How to create your own personas

Once you have downloaded the worksheet, you can use the following steps to develop your own marketing personas.

HINT: Copy the persona worksheet and use a separate worksheet for each type of buyer and each main market sector.

In the first section titled ‘Indicate the Market Sector you are targeting’ insert a Market Sector, you want to focus on.

A market sector could be many different things: industries, regions, product or service lines, or any other method that you may use to differentiate your market.

Then, within that market sector, identify the different categories of buyers you currently serve or might serve in the future.

Each category of buyer, within a market sector, is called a persona. (We recommend that you limit the number of personas you develop – we address this at the end of this guide.)

Next, give each persona a name, e.g.  Mary Marketer, Alex Accountant, Sid Sales, Neal Non-profit, or any other description that identifies the persona category and makes it seem like it could be a real person.

You might want to think about the categories as ‘tribes’, where a group of people have common rituals or cultural practices.

Once you have your category of persona you can indicate the position they might hold and their responsibilities in fulfilling their role in that position.

Then, to help bring a persona to life and make it feel more real, you will want to describe the persona and a day in the life of the persona in a bit more detail.

Your Solution

In the next section of the worksheet, you will be asked to describe the persona in relation to the solution you offer.

The aim here is to get into the shoes of your target buyer and to anticipate how they might interact with your solution.

You should also identify how people might search for and find your solution. Think about their decision-making thought process when they decide to buy.

Persona OKRs

The next step in the persona worksheet is to identify the goals of each persona group. We do this by identifying 1) their probable Objectives, 2) the Key Results that indicate they will achieve their objectives, and 3) the Initiatives they take to produce the key results.

Target Objective: In this section, you can outline the most likely goal the persona wants to achieve. This can be written as a description of the destination they want to reach. For example, “to build a business that is highly systemised, so it can operate without the founder being involved”.

Key results: Here you can insert what you believe are the likely Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the metrics that show the progress towards achieving the target objective.

Initiatives: At this point, it’s important to identify every problem this persona may have (related to your solution), and how they could benefit from, and use your specific solution.

By listing these ideas, you can identify the type of Marketing Initiatives you can implement to reach your target audience, and the process you will use to sell your solution.

Create demand for your solution

Understanding how to create demand for your solution is central to developing buyer personas. In this section, you will explore why buyers might decide to buy, or not buy, your solution.

To understand the buyer decision-making processes, we use the ‘Jobs To Be Done’ (JTBD) framework.

This is a methodology that helps gain a deeper understanding of what jobs customers are trying to get done and how you can design your solution to achieve this goal.

In the context of marketing, it helps you frame your communications in a way to better drive demand for what you offer.

About the concept of JTBD

  • JTBD is a theory of consumer action. It describes the mechanisms that cause a consumer to adopt an innovation.
  • A JTBD is the process a consumer goes through whenever they aim to change their existing life-situation into a preferred one – but cannot because there are constraints that stop them.
  • A JTBD describes how a customer changes or wishes to change.
  • A JTBD is neither found nor spontaneously created. Rather, it is designed.

Understanding how people use your products and services will provide deeper insight into the design and marketing of your solutions.

Said differently: rather than focusing on trying to build better products and services, think more about how your customers could become better users of your products and services.

Questions to ask when developing your solution

  • How can your solution help customers to overcome a constraint or to break through the ceiling of what they think is their limit?
  • How can you define the difference between what customers buy, and why they buy it? Why they buy is more important than what they buy.
  • How can your products and services replace the current solution with a better/ easier/ simpler/ cheaper method?
  • How can your solution help customers to achieve their unspoken desire of: “how can I become a ‘better me’?”
  • How can your solution (your products, services, and information) enable customers to ‘get the job done’?
  • How can the customer and producer work together – as the customer is the most important part of the production line?

Demand generation vs. demand reduction

There are forces that shape customer demand and that work against each other – those that generate demand and those that reduce demand.

Customers experience some mix of these forces before they decide to buy a product and thinking about these forces in advance will not only help you develop your solution but also how you develop your marketing communications to promote the solution.

You can use the framework to flesh out the reason why there might be a demand generation or a demand reduction for your solution. (For more information about JTBD visit Alan Klement’s website: https://jtbd.info/)

Summarise your persona

The last step is to summarise what you have discovered into a short description of how you might shape your solution to meet your buyer’s decision-making process.

By identifying the persona pain points, and the gains your solution offer them will help construct a simplified and compelling description of your products and services.

Make your personas work for you

Identifying and understanding more about your target buyer’s lifestyle will help you improve the development of your products and services, your marketing campaigns and customer communications, your selling process, and guide you in terms of what traits are important when building your service team.

TIP: Once you have worked through this exercise, we recommend you sort through and reduce the number of personas until you have between three and five key personas that best represent your target audience. Doing this will give you a laser-focus on your key audience segments.

If you require further advice and assistance, you are welcome to submit a service ticket

How buyer personas help generate more business opportunities
Click here to return to the list of articles.

Sign up for our newsletter

We promise we won’t spam. We’ll only update you with the latest from the greatest.

Talk to our experts

Book a meeting with one of our experts about your online sales and marketing needs.