Creating Data-Driven Buyer Personas

Buyer Personas are a powerful tool used in marketing and sales. They help define the parameters of an ideal customer which then outlines the content to write that speaks to them, where marketing should get in front of potential customers, and buyer personas can also help qualify or disqualify prospects faster. But relying too heavily on user interviews without checking against digital marketing data can create inaccurate personas that hurt marketing instead of helping it. There are many different ways of constructing a buyer persona, but some helpful ones include:

  • Information on the kind of company they work at (revenue, employee count, industry, etc)
  • Their role, along with what that role typically worries about or is measured on, typical influencers, employees managed, etc.
  • How do they shop or research for products and services that you make or provide
  • Pains, Gains, Jobs (especially if you’re going to do a value proposition canvas exercise anyways)

Putting Data in the Mix

“How the persona shops or researches for products” is a perfect fit for using data. Yes, ask your buyers about what they read and how they look for your products/services but also use data to validate and find additional insights. If you asked all customers if they clicked on Google Ads to get to your site, none of them would say “yes”, but I bet a lot of them do! A more in-depth dive into using marketing data to report on where your persona shops can be found here. If your data is excellent, and the data and buyer interview conflict, you may want to err on the side of the data in some circumstances. Most importantly, don’t add your own biases into the mix! Traits and Demographics Some personas come with specific, creative details about the persona. While it’s somewhat of a style choice, we wouldn’t recommend diving too deep into personality traits unless they’re very standard across your customers and helpful in dealing with typical customers. ie: if you only sell to accountants and controllers, you could add in some assumptions. If you sold to CEOs, VPs, and hiring managers, adding personality traits to your persona will make solutions too specific. Age range, gender, and other characteristics can be pulled from Google Analytics user demographics reports. Just remember to filter for only high-quality users who converted, otherwise your persona data could be polluted with the wrong data. Similarly, look at the web pages that buyers and prospects choose to browse. These can sometimes tell us what concerns are on their minds and what their motivation to choose a solution might be. If you record customer phone calls, listening to the first contact calls can be great for telling you what brought the prospect in and what they’re like. It’s a great way for marketing to get to know prospects better.

Synchronize with Sales and Your CRM

Your sales team and your CRM are a wealth of knowledge about your customers. On a daily basis, customers express their wants and needs, and frustrations via your sales team, and that information is recorded and managed with the CRM. But communication between sales and marketing is key or else that extremely vital information gets lost. Synchronizing data between marketing and sales helps show which channels work for your organization. Not only that, with shared data, you can see patterns emerge. For example, you may discover that your most profitable leads are provided via Facebook Ads targeting women’s healthcare, or the highest close rate is the result of a phone number on a piece of magazine advertisement targeted to affluent golfers. With this kind of data, you can concentrate on expanding your targeting with channels that are similar or choose to pause underperforming ads and put that budget to the ones that bring sales.

A Vital Step

So as you can see, you can create a buyer persona based on what you think you know about your customer and hope for the best. Or you can use data that presents information about your customers and build a more accurate persona – one that truly presents your customers as they are.