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How to Master Buyer Persona Development in 5 Simple Steps

Dave Orecchio
by Dave Orecchio on Apr 23, 2017 7:27:00 AM

Wouldn’t it be great if your company had intimate knowledge of its ideal buyer? You would know how this person thinks, behaves, and shops so you can market to him or her effectively. The buyer persona is a composite of everyone who buys products or services from your company. It includes obvious details, such as age and income level.

However, the most effective buyer personas go far beyond these surface demographics. A buyer persona must be actionable to deliver results. That means it delves into your buyer’s top concerns, attitudes, and criteria that make them choose your company’s products or services over those of the competition and vice versa. At Bristol Strategy, we use the five-part rings of buying insight to aid our clients in a buyer persona development process that delivers results. 

how-to-master-buyer-persona-development-in-5-simple-steps.png

Step One: Understand the Buyer’s Motivation

What factors convince buyers to invest in your company’s solution to their problem?  What causes other people to stay where they’re at, even if they feel unsatisfied with the status quo? These are essential questions to answer right off the bat. In marketing terms, we call these priority initiatives or triggers. To answer these questions, you need to understand the buyer’s individual circumstances that caused him or her to seek your solution. The best way to do this is simply to ask. Another approach is to disect the process that your most successful sales person uses. He or she would have performed this research and are using it to succeed and out perform their peers.

Unfortunately, identifying pain points isn’t enough. Prospective buyers could have plenty of pain points and still be unwilling to seek a proactive solution. With a strong buyer persona in place, you know who is likely to move forward with the buying process and who will not.

Step Two: What Are Your Buyer’s Expectations?

Your buyer expects results for his or her investment of time and money. It’s up to you to understand these expectations. This is where we consider success factors, something that goes beyond merely stating benefits. Like representatives of most organizations, your buyer may want to reduce costs. This is a worthy goal, but it’s too broad. You need to understand specific areas of cost reduction and how your product or service will allow your client to achieve measurable goals. The important point here is to drill into the specific details that cause the buyer to take action. It is those factors that are more important to address than others that may be nice to have

Step Three: Dealing with Potential Roadblocks

Some buyers won’t need much convincing while others are adamant that you can’t help them. Your buyer persona helps you serve both groups of people effectively. You’re now at the perceived barriers point of the process. Sales teams call these sales objections. The highest performing sales teams are expert at objection handing. 

After researching the reason for the initial refusal, you may find that it has nothing to do with your organization at all. Perhaps your prospective client received poor service or a faulty product from a company similar to yours and had become less trusting as a result. It’s also possible this person would like to proceed but needs approval from someone else in the organization. You need to focus on what you can overcome and what is out of your control.

Step Four: What is the Buyer’s Journey?

In the previous step, you should have identified who has the power to move forward with a purchasing decision. You need to understand this individual’s personal and organizational challenges so you can address strengths. Your customer will have access to different resources depending on his or her role in the company. That means he or she will conduct research in a variety of ways. Understanding the buyer’s journey in a meaningful way makes it much more likely you can offer the right solution at the right time. Please think of two things in this step: 

  1. The buyer needs information for each stage during their on-line research for information. Each content offer should focus on only one buyer's journey stage. This means that you should create multiple content offers to completely implement an inbound marketing funnel based on the information you learn when developing a buyer persona.
  2. At least 1/2 of the people who visit your website are qualified to buy but are not ready to buy. Provide content over time and nurture these visitors using email, providing blog notices and a nurturing email sequence for each buyer's journey stage. The goal is to keep your solutions front-of-mind and build thought leadership so they think of you when they are ready.
Inbound Marketing Buyers Journey

Step Five: How Does Your Buyer Make a Decision?

Your buyer has been on a journey for a while now and is ready to take action. Which insights are most critical at this point? Do you need to factor in competing products or services? It’s also important to go back to step two and determine your buyer’s expectations for every aspect of the purchasing process. If you can’t deliver, the deal you assumed was in the bag is likely to fall apart. This is also the ideal time to answer last-minute questions and clarify what you can and cannot deliver.

Putting the Steps into Practice with Our Buyer Persona Expert

When you work with Bristol Strategy to develop a buyer persona, the first thing we do is survey people in various segments of your organization. This typically includes business stakeholders, marketing, sales, and those in leadership positions. We then schedule interviews with customers and those who passed on your company’s products or services. This gives us important insight into how your company is perceived as well as understanding more about the decision-making process. Our buyer persona experts then take this information and combines it with the five steps above for to create a highly valuable targeting tool for your marketing initiatives.

If you would like to try your hand at developing a buyer persona for your company for a particular target market and customer, then download this eBook about creating buyer personas

guide to creating buyer personas

One valuable resource that leverages buyer insights is called a content strategy. By understanding the factors that cause your ideal buyer to research their problems and offering resources that help them diagnose and identify solutions, you gain the inside track to turning them into customers. We have an inbound marketing content strategy process that is unique and helps businesses plot a path toward attracting and converting visitors into qualified leads and prospects for your sales team. Use this offer below to download the data sheet about a content strategy. We would be happy to help.

Inbound Marketing Content strategy to generate opportunities for your business

Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of  Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line.  Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow. 

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Dave Orecchio
Written by Dave Orecchio
Dave Orecchio is one of the earliest adopters of Inbound Marketing. As one of Hubspot’s first customers and CEO of a Boston-based startup, he experienced the benefits of this effective digital marketing methodology. Dave now provides Inbound (marketing & Sales) services to businesses to help them grow and realize the positive results that an integrated program can provide. Dave is a high-tech marketing and sales expert with more than 25 years of business experience.
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