6 Sources of Data To Flesh Out Buyer Personas
Buyer personas model the personalities, behaviours, goals and challenges of potential customers. They are an incredibly useful tool for informing your company’s marketing and sales strategies. However, many B2B marketers either haven’t developed personas, or have ineffective ones.
1. Consult Your Sales Team
Sales spend every day interacting one-on-one with prospects and customers and can give unique insight into the behaviour and characteristics of your buyers.
Top sellers develop an understanding of the people they are communicating with, and recognise patterns in their questions and interest levels. They pick up on the smaller details that the marketing team isn’t exposed to.
2. Conduct Interviews
While the sales department is a good place to both start and finish crafting buyer personas, the only way to gather truly accurate data about prospects and buyers is to ask them directly. This will verify the trends and observations your reps have picked up on – as well as gain some additional insight.
Invest in focus groups or interviews with buyers who recently evaluated your’s or your competitor’s solutions. It’s important that this is done with those who have purchased and those who haven’t. The latter will flag up where they left the sales cycle and why.
3. Primary Research
You could also get out in the field and participate in direct observation with sales reps. Go with your sales reps and visit clients on site, attend sales presentations and meetings and listen to real-time calls. This removes the sales bias by giving the marketer direct access to the insight they really need.
4. Case Studies
Similar to point 2, another great way to get in-depth insight about what works and what doesn’t for buyers is to have your sales team interview satisfied customers about their experience with your product or service. These interviews not only provide valuable insight, but can also be used to create case studies.
5. Sales Force and Marketing Automation Reports
Using marketing automation and CRM software, you can track the characteristics, activities and behaviours that correspond with won or lost sales opportunities.
What’s their job title? Did they read any specific pieces of content? Look at any specific web page? Had any outreach from sales?
By doing this, you will develop an understanding of what an ideal buyer looks like and how they will act prior to, and during, sales and marketing engagement.
For each successfully closed deal your teams should look at why they won, and what things in particular their customers liked about their solution or methods. You should also do the same for lost deals.
You can then optimise your sales and marketing efforts around this insight.
By tracking prospect activities and studying data on qualified lead-to-sales conversion rates and length of sales cycle you might find prospects tend to become customers 7 days after they look at the pricing page, or download a particular white paper.
6. Customer surveys
If you don’t have access to customers for in-depth interviews, you can still gather data directly from buyers by having sales reps administer customer influence surveys. Leverage online surveys, social media, web research, analyst reports, web analytics etc.
You could ask new customers to distribute 100 points amongst the criteria that were most influential on their purchase.