Developing useful personas for marketing and sales wins

Ah, the age-old tale of marketing and sales. It’s part art, part science, and when you put it all together just right, you get a stellar ending — a happy customer.

Part of the secret sauce of the art/science combo is to spend time creating buyer personas. These personas are models that represent your current customer base and their buying behavior. According to this webcast by BrightTALK, using buyer personas in email campaigns can result in two times the open rate and five times the click-through rate.

The bottom line: personalized emails based on personas can drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails, Hubspot estimates. Here’s a quick cheat sheet to developing best-selling personas.

Step one: Identify your buyers

The best place to start building out your personas is with your existing customers. Talk to and look at your existing customer pool to get a better understanding of who the key players are — who was the researcher, the user, and the decision maker?

Don’t forget to chat with your sales team. They’re interacting with the people that ultimately buy from you and have great insight into what you should consider when creating your personas.

Step two: Analyze your data

After you have collected your data, take a closer look at the information and see where there are patterns, for example, in job title or function. Are there similarities that can be bundled together into one persona to avoid creating too many? Focus is key. If you’re targeting everybody, you aren’t targeting anyone, really.

Some characteristics to consider include:

  • Job titles – Who are these people? Directors? Managers? Vice Presidents?
  • Experience – How much experience do they have? 10 years? 20?
  • Skills – What expertise do they have? Demand generation? Developing pipeline?
  • Pain points – What do they need help with? Generating revenue growth? Aligning teams?

Once you have analyzed your data and grouped them together, be sure to note how each persona found you in the first place. A deeper understanding of their line of thinking will help you market to the places your potential customers go to learn and research their vendors.

Step three: Put your personas to use

The point of developing personas is to be able to create targeted, useful pieces of content. Use your personas to match your content to your audience. But don’t just approach it from the content side—market to each persona using all the mediums that you use in your demand generation programs, including paid search, third-party networks, segments on your website etc.

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Leigh Shevchik

Dynamic marketing communications professional and strategist with over ten years experience creating and implementing content plans, social media programs and lead generation initiatives. Outstanding writer, editor and oral communicator who has held project manager and lead editorial roles. Passion for building and leading cross-function teams, project management and market research.

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