Buyer Persona – Finding Your Target Audience
In marketing, you’ll hear the words “target audience” a lot—we mention it often in our own blog posts. The idea is relatively simple: it’s a group of people who are likely to buy your products or services, so you want to tailor your marketing towards that group.
But what is the best way to do that? Buyer Personas.
A Buyer Persona is a fictitious character that represents the decision-maker or influencer within your customer base. This person has a name, interests, behavioral traits, goals, demographics, almost all the details to be a real person.
To keep track of our Personas, we like to give them names. This can either be a short summary of their traits, such as “The Tech Exec”, or an actual name, like “Daniel from Pfizer”. Doing this helps us visualize our Buyer Personas as real people with whom we can engage.
Why Make Buyer Personas?
Since your business generally has more than one type of personality that you sell to, you’ll want to have a Buyer Persona to represent each personality type. The number will depend on the size of your company and the range of products and services you offer. By segmenting your target audience, you’ll be able to engage in more tailored marketing, earning a higher ROI. Your productivity will improve because you will have a better idea of how to engage with certain types of customers.
There are two kinds of Buyer Personas: positive and negative. Positive Personas are the ones you want to pursue because they are likely to take in your message and purchase from you. Negative Personas are the people you don’t want to pursue – these are the Personas that always have a reason to NOT buy from you. However, they are still valuable to identify because they can help you understand with whom you don’t need to engage. By recognizing the traits in a potential Negative Persona, you can mark them as a ‘dead-end’, which will ultimately help you increase your sales productivity.
How to Make a Buyer Persona
Buyer Personas are based on market research that you (or your company) collect from your current customer base. If you can, try and get customers who are at different points in your sales cycle. Interview your longest engaging customers, as well as new customers with whom you just started working. Also, don’t forget about prospective customers, it’ll be valuable to get their input as well.
Interviews or surveys are a practical way for collecting data, and you’ll need a few specific data points. When you build a Buyer Persona, you’ll be crafting it around the answers to these questions: Who, What, Why, and How. Below is a list of example questions that would help populate each category, both for your current customer base and for crafting your Buyer Persona.
Questions to Ask:
This category is about identifying the person. You want to know their likes and dislikes to help target your future communications.
- What is your name?
- What is your job position?
- Which generation are you? (Gen X, Boomer, Millennial, etc.)
- Where do you live?
- Are you introverted or extroverted?
- How do you prefer to communicate? (Email, text, calls, etc.)
- Are you detail-oriented or do you look at the big picture?
This category is about learning about their goals and pain points. This information will help you understand what problems they have, what solutions they want to obtain from their supplier, and what steps need to be taken to cultivate a lasting working relationship. This is the most important step of the process, so make sure to be thorough.
- How would you describe your level of decision making?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What are your short-term goals?
- How do you measure success? What are your metrics?
- How would you describe your primary challenge?
- What is your ideal solution to your challenges?
This category helps you identify the common objections. It’s why they haven’t worked with you yet. It’s also a more in depth look at their pain points. If you are surveying your current customer base, you want to know what finally convinced them to work with you.
- What is stopping you from purchasing my goods/services?
- Why did you prefer the competitor’s goods/services?
- What is your level of knowledge about my goods/services?
- What do you know about the market for my goods/services?
This final category is focused on the steps you need to take to seal the deal. It’s how you overcome their challenges and secure their trust. The answers to the Who, What, and Why will give you the steps you need. It’s important to note that the How will only apply to this specific buyer persona, not your entire target audience.
The How is what makes this whole process work, so it’s important to get it right. We’ve outlined a few examples to help guide you in the right direction when you start building your own Buyer Personas.
- Buyer A has limited technical experience and is more marketing driven. Your pitch should showcase your bioprocess knowledge (in a clear and understandable way) and connect how your product is the right technology for their use.
- Buyer B is a decision maker for the company and likes the idea of your product but is tighter with money due to a constrained budget. Your pitch should include testimonials from other customers. Convince them that your product adds unseen value, such as reducing labor cost, minimizing documentation burden, or increasing throughput, that far exceeds the price premium. If necessary, offer a price incentive on their first purchase.
- Buyer C has a very polished personality and a large budget. They can be hard to read sometimes. Your pitch should focus on data, the quality and efficacy of the product, alongside testimonials. Identify what differentiates you from your competitors and confidently showcase your thought leadership.
I’m Having Trouble Scheduling Interviews with My Customers
If you’re having difficulty booking interviews with your customers, then you have other options. Is there an upcoming trade show that you will be attending? Keep a list of questions scribbled on a note card or on your phone and ask customers that you meet in person a few informal questions (at the bar is a great time to do this!). Even if you only have time to ask a few questions, you might be surprised at the responses you get in a face-to-face setting.
As a fallback, engage your sales reps or distributors and ask them the same questions from the perspective of various buyer personas. Seasoned sales reps have a wealth of customer knowledge and should always be a part of this exercise.
Crafting the Buyer Persona
After you’ve conducted your research, you’ll have a better idea of what kinds of Buyer Personas you should make. Find which characteristics were commonly grouped together and use that to create your personas. For example, if your survey revealed a large number of millennial women who are technically experienced, you should use that as the base for one of your personas. If you have a handful of CEOs who find modern digital marketing methods to be invasive, that may indicate the need for a Persona requiring a more organic interaction or personal touch.
Buyer Personas can be used for more than identifying which version of an elevator pitch to give to people. For instance, if you have a group of potential customers who are more traditional and prefer face to face interactions, then schedule a time to meet with them personally. If you have a more digital, tech-savvy group, tailor an email campaign for them paired with a social media post. The applications are limitless and will ultimately help you tailor your marketing to ensure that you are meeting their needs.
Typical Buyer Personas in the bioprocessing field might look something like this:
- Process Development Patty: she is the lead PD scientist who is a key decision-maker for all lab consumables and raw materials. She is scientifically driven and does not like to be called on by reps.
- Procurement Pete: he is a procurement manager that strives to get the best price. However, he can be won over by other offerings that make his life easier, like on-time delivery, great quality, and an occasional lunch out.
- Manufacturing Lead Manuel: he runs the manufacturing operation and wants his supplier to be readily available if he has a problem in production.
You can use the template below to map out some buyer personas. If you have any questions, reach out to one of our marketing experts at Hapatune. For more marketing tips, check out our other blog posts!
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