Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are a very important part of understanding the ideal customer for a business. According to Nigel Packer from PelaTis Online in Wales, United Kingdom, there are important and specific ways to create buyer personas and understanding how buyer personas impact sales can help create positive results in a business. Packer hosted a recent chat for USA Manufacturing Hour on Twitter and shared some insights with participants about the benefits and impact buyer personas can have on a business.

What Are Buyer Personas?

That discussion began with participants discussing their definition of buyer personas. Everyone shared their thoughts.

Matt Long from Aviate Creative in New Jersey said, “Buyer personas are the semi-fictional personification of data and research that represent your ideal customer, and the people most likely to buy from you.”

Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing in California said, “They are based on market research and real data about your customers.”

Host Packer said, “Real customers? What information should be in it”

Dan Bigger from Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “They are your ideal customer and what you are targeting for your outbound marketing and sales efforts.”

Gina Tabasso from MAGNET in Ohio said, “The demographics, psychographics and buying behaviors of your target audience specific to their roles and responsibilities.”

Ben Nordman from Obsidian Manufacturing Industries in Illinois said, “A buyer persona is what an ideal customer looks like. It can be based off your current customer base, former customers, or who you want to be your ideal buyer.”

Kati McDermith from Industry Net in Illinois said, “The (types, groups) PEOPLE you best serve (short answer).”

Kyle from Tuffaloy Products in South Carolina said, “A detailed description of someone who represents your target audience.”

Brett from FreightPOP in California said, “Buyer personas are descriptions of your ideal customer(s), and they are incredibly helpful when planning out your marketing strategies.”

Rebecca Prox from DSI/Dynamatic in Wisconsin said, “Buyer Personas are fictional characters that are based on the average user of a company's website or regular purchaser.”

Dana Engelbert, a Marketer from Mississippi said, “A buyer persona is a representation of a customer segmentation. Shows demographics, behavior, and attitudes.”

Industrial Packaging in Massachusetts said, “Buyer personas are archetypal ideal customer profiles.”

Dave Meyer from BizzyWeb in Minnesota said, “They're the gold standard for marketing and sales: You need to know (and identify) exactly WHO you help, and what makes them "tick." Here's 5 samples to get you started:…

Erin Courtenay from Earthling Interactive in Wisconsin said, “If the buyer's journey is an epic tale, the buyer's persona is the hero character in the story.”

John Buglino from Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “Buyer Personas are a collection of data points that help you target an ideal customer/prospect for your business.”

Felix Nater from Nater Associates in North Carolina said, “My buyer personas are: A1. delivering knock your socks off service A2. getting to know exactly what you need, not what you want A3. developing a trusting, credible, intimate relationship A4. ensuring that I am the right consultant for your solution.”

Chase Bodor from Plastics Plus Technology in California said, “Segmented profiles of your ideal buyer. Basically, its a reflection of a real person/ business that you work with (or want to), and then it's projected to show a broader vision of the market.”

He continued, “I will add - negative buyer personas also exist. These are companies and people you don't want to work with for a number of reasons.”

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “Buyer personas are a representation of ideal customers. It helps you understand the type of customers you will be providing services to and their behavior.”

Gail Robertson from Gail Now in Canada said, “A buyer persona is who you need to tell your story to. So what is/are the problem/s they face. A buyer persona is the WHO and the WHAT - and maybe ask your current ideal clients to find out what makes them tick!”

VirtuDesk said, “A buyer's persona is basically your ideal type of customer. It helps you make your marketing campaigns more targeted.”

Nicole Donnelly from Donnelly Marketing Group in Virginia said, “A portrait or description of your ideal customer used to help you know how, where and what to market your business.”

Host Packer said, “A buyer persona is semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on Personal knowledge, data, and research. They help you focus on qualified prospects, guide product development that suits the needs of target customers and align all work across your organization.”




The discussion continued with how buyer personas help in digital marketing and selling. Everyone shared their thoughts and experiences.

Engelbert said, “For me in PR, buyer personal help me create massaging that resonates with target audiences.”

Tabasso said, “Helps you target your messaging to address their pain points.”

Kyle said, “You can then create a marketing and sales strategy. Without buyer personas, we wouldn’t know what content to create, which material to share, how we should direct our marketing efforts, or where we can improve our presence.”

Courtenay said, “They are guardrails against which you test decisions. Much easier to look at a marketing or sales option and say "Would Bob find this helpful?" than going through a whole statistical analysis.”

Whitney Koch from Welker, Inc in Texas said, “Personas help you target your efforts so your marketing (and solutions) reach the right people. They inform what type of marketing you do, the channel, content, etc.”

Buglino said, “If they do not 'fit' with the persona you can quickly disqualify them or conversely focus more effort.”

Rusine said, “By creating personas, businesses can target their marketing and sales efforts more effectively, and create products that are more likely to appeal to their customers.”

Prox said, “Buyer Personas give a company something to aim for. A target demographic. It can help with the voice you use and the message you're trying to get across.”

Bodor said, “Totally! I love this idea of finding the right voice to use.

Long said, “They basically give you a pseudo-psychological profile on the type of people most likely to buy from you. Knowing this in advance might help you curate optimized marketing and sales strategies designed to maximize conversions. “

Ben Nordman said, “In digital marketing, we use buyer personas to curate our content to most entice the viewer to seek out more information about our products.”

Host Packer said, “Traveling along the customer journey will change their perceptions and needs. Adapting the narrative to meet their expectations and guide them is an excellent way to exploit Buyer Personas.”

Stepanov said, “It makes your marketing more targeted because you understand their behavior and their pain points as you offer your services.”

McDermith said, “Identifying buyer personas allows you to drill into the needs and expectations of potential customers and we can better target prospects and offer true solutions.”

FreightPOP said, “You can use buyer personas to create marketing media that is more likely to resonate with your target audience.”

VirtuDesk said, “It helps you create more tailored content and understand their needs. You are able to develop new products, services, and offers that can answer their needs. It also makes marketing more targeted and gets more leads that are most likely to convert.”

Bodor said, “Buyer personas help take you from the 10,000 ft level and bring you closer to the ground through targeting. As you narrow down the criteria, you can further your understanding of that buyer segment and develop a concentrated marketing plan.”

Val W from Monofrax in New York said, “Buyer personas help you attract the right customers for your business, the ones who are your soul mates. They're the ones most likely to complete a sale. I'm channeling Curt Anderson here.”

Nater said, “Buying Personas in digital marketing and selling will be challenging if not critical. Building trust and confidence are the goals that entails work.”

He continued, “One last thing about my Intimate persona, I really get to known as much about the Client industry before and during the project. In the end the connection is established beyond the original sale. I become the go-to-guy for the future as I know their wants.”

Meyer said, “Personas are the roadmap of marketing and sales. It's how you know who your best customers are and what they want from you.”

Sue Nordman said, “By compiling customer personas, you can create content and graphics that will interest your ideal customer.”


Host Packer said, “Personas help marketing and sales to identify your target customers. They ensure that everyone in your teams understand the motivations, trepidations and action points your customers experience during their buying journey.”

He continued, “This insight helps to create the right message from the business to the target customer at different stages of their journey.”


Who Should Create Buyer Personas for A Company

buyer-persona-cards-on-stands-gray-backgroundThe discussion then turned to who should be involved in creating buyer personas for a company. Participants shared their thoughts.

Tabasso said, “Sales, marketing, leadership, customer service.”

Meyer said, “Sales and Marketing - anyone responsible for driving revenue, as well as key stakeholders who understand what makes your best customers choose you.”

Host Packer said, “Dave, Good point. I would consider it is important to get all the information from any member of staff who has contact with the customers or buyers. Snippets of intelligence can help you become better informed.”

Koch said, “We also have some SMEs who’ve been in our industry for decades—they have great insight into personas for us.”

Buglino said, “Everyone can provide inputs, but it should all filter to a single point to compile. Like ME I have a buyer persona and often reference 'Chris' when coming up with marketing plans.”

Rusine said, “The marketing department should be involved in creating buyer personas.”

Bodor said, “Key stakeholders - I gather input from sales and engineering, quality control, and customer service. If they interface with the customer, they can give you nuggets about what that person cares about.”

Ben Nordman said, “Sales, marketing, and upper management for us! I feel as though that's on par with most other places as well.”

Host Packer said, “What about reception, delivery guys and other customer facing people in the company. I used to get a lot of information from our driver who was in the customers every day. He saw things!”

Courtenay said, “First, and most importantly, ALWAYS include the company clairvoyant.”

Prox said, “Marketing has done it in our company.”

McDermith said, “ME! Just kidding - really anyone that is involved in the sales process, those that are talking directly to the customers, and probably the person manning the tech support inbox.”

Kyle said, “Anybody who interacts with your customers, directly or indirectly, should be invited to give input.”

Donnelly said, “Every department should be represented! Ops, sales, marketing, customer support, logistics, finance.”

Sue Nordman said, “Sales and marketing teams and customer service. Anyone that interacts with your customers.”

Robertson said, “EVERYONE!! Team work makes the dream work! Sales - Operations- Marketing!”

Host Packer said, “Yay! Well said Gail.”

Long said, “It should form a key phase of the sales and marketing process, but it should be informed by feedback from service and retentions, and should be an evolving process that ebbs and flows with the market.”

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Missouri said, “Great answer Matt!”

Host Packer said, “Everyone who is customer facing. From the receptionist to the marketing team members and the sales team.”

He continued, “Each can learn from the other to create effective buyer personas for your target customers.”


Who Should Have Buyer Personas?

The discussion continued with which customers should a buyer persona be created for. Everyone shared their opinions.

Prox said, “Wow, that could be a LOT!”

Stepanov said, “For me, it should be all of them. Every customer matters.”

Kyle said, “All of them, they all matter.”

VirtuDesk said, “All.”

Prox said, “We created one for our largest demographic, which is actually a huge majority for us. It didn't make sense to create multiple personas.”

Tabasso said, “All of them.”

Buglino said, “One customer with sub-personas of the buying committee. Do not make it one size fits all when it comes to a persona. They are living documents that are out of date the minute you print or save them.”

Koch said, “That’s an important point! Personas should evolve just like your actual customers.”

Rusine said, “I agree, it does. It is always a moving target.So, can you imagine what it’s going to be like if you have multiple personas? The work!!”

Host Packer said, “Good point John.”

Meyer said, “The ones you want more of - look at the top revenue drivers, your favorite customers, the ones that fit with your business.”

Rusine said, “Better have a buy-in from the top down or else it’s just a siloed project.”

Adam Baker from Schooley Mitchell in Pennsylvania said, “Your ideal customer.”

McDermith said, “I would say ALL of them! You can always add more as they are identified. Another way to analyze data and trends.”

Ben Nordman said, “I want to say all of them, but I don't find that to be as realistic as I'd like it to be. We have nearly 400 years of manufacturing experience between our brands which equates A LOT of customers. We take customers over the past 10 years or so.”

Prox said, “Much harder to have many personas when you have as much experience as you!”

Ben Nordman answered, “SO. MANY. CUSTOMER. FILES.”

Sue Nordman said, “I always feel it should be an average. I'm curious what the correct answer is especially for companies like us that have such a wide scope of products & services, serve many industries, and large customer base.”

Host Packer said, “It is difficult when you have a large portfolio of products, look at it on a category level. One of the large Supermarket chains in the UK has millions of customers every day. They have 16 personas that cover everyone. Each persona is a multipage document.”

Courtenay said, “We build ours based on selling situations, not the individual. Eg: a prospect that has influence but not decision-making power.”

Bodor said, “4-banger: A - Low hanging fruit (current customers) B - High hanging fruit (Ideal customers not in the buying cycle) C - Fruit that fell from the tree (Marketing qualified, not ready to buy) D - Smashed apples (People you don't want to work with).”

He added, “You can create a persona for whatever sales channel you want to. For instance, I have a persona based on the type of person who refers business to us. This is under my referral marketing channel as a "Promoter from Material Suppliers" (just as an example)”

Host Packer said, “Brilliant. Now we are thinking. Thank you for sharing.”

Koch said, “Great answer.”

Long said, “Existing Customers? All of those that you can. If they have already bought your product or service then they already likely fit one of your buyer personas anyway. Ordering and ranking these personas will help resell to or retain customers.”

David Crysler from The Crysler Company in Michigan said, “Each segment you're currently selling to and any additional ones you aspire to sell to.”

Bigger said, “Good question, I'd say as many as you can that will produce positive results with the effort put in. It is always better to be specific.”

Rusine said, “Those that likely need your products and services the most. So for sure, not everyone. It is best to create a persona based on empirical evidence, such as customer data and surveys.”

Host Packer said, “Analyze your sales data and look for the companies that bring the biggest profits.  Prioritize them and create buyer personas for each of your top 6 buyers.”

He added, “This should cover the widest range of customers.”


What to Include

buyer-persona-wall-signs-red-whiteThe next part of the discussion was about what information should be included in a buyer persona. Participants shared their opinions, and some shared their experiences.

Meyer said, “Demographics, needs, goals of client, and where they get their info.”

Prox said, “We include a name (based on the age), an age range, degree of education, social networks they use, what industries they come from, how big their organizations are, what their interests are.”

Sue Nordman said, “Demographics, NACIS code, industry, gross sales for previous periods, website address, # of employees, # of locations, longevity of relationship, specifics of product purchased, # of sales, are they the end user?”

Ben Nordman said, “Usually demographics, behavioral traits (how they prefer to do business, interact on the web, etc.), and interests.”

Engelbert said, “How they make buying decisions, sources they trust for info, problem they need solved.”

Tabasso said, “Demographic, psychographic, job title, pain points, journey, hobbies/interests, sources for information/where they live online.”

Courtenay said, “Ours contain: some personal detail to give color (family sitch, hobbies); online habits (mobile v desktop, social media); role in company and frequent pain points; might throw some disc profile in there too for good measure.”

VirtuDesk said, “Demographics, age, type of job, common pain points, possible interests, and other behavioral traits.”

Kyle said, “Their name, demographic details, interests, and behavioral traits to understand their buying patterns.”

Donnelly said, “Include demographic info (age, gender, socio, location, education), behavioral (where do they like to hang out, hobbies, interests. attitudinal (preferences, purchase criteria, satisfaction)”

Austin said, “That's a good point. I've noticed various age groups tend to like their message delivered in a specific manner or platform.”

Val W said, “How can we make their lives easier? How can we solve their problems? Include enough background information to make them human rather than a construct.”

Bodor said, “Data points from conversations you've had with people in that buyer segment. For instance, Jane Doe told me that inventory management keeps her up at night. That's important data! She also loves Ghirardelli chocolate - less important but might make the notes.”

Koch said, “I think details like that are important to remember for building the relationship over the long term. It makes people feel seen.”

Bodor said, “Yes! I think so too. Definitely good info to put in a CRM and in the mental bank. I guess it would be better if we said she is on the board of some chocolate connoisseur association - as that behavior might appear multiple times in a buyer segment.”

Rusine said, “We gather: demographic data-age, gender, income, etc, behavioral data-products they buy/install, how often they buy/install, where they purchase them, etc and psychographic data- beliefs, lifestyles, activities, etc.”

Long said, “Demographic (age, location, education, job title) and Psychographic information (values, desires, goals, interests). Why? If you're a butcher, you don't want to target animal rights activists just because their job title is "Director".”

Industrial Packaging said, “Data related to their buying decisions, pain points, previous purchases in addition to their personal likes/dislikes IE: The car they drive, music they like, sports teams they are fans of, etc.”

Host Packer said, “When creating a buyer persona, include a backstory of the buyer, their technical skills, what technology they use in work, their work ethic, where they are in the buying journey, the scenario they are in at the time they are making an enquiry.”



The discussion concluded with participants sharing what scenarios they would place their customers in for their personas. Participants shared their opinions.

Courtenay said, “This is actually a good place to start - begin with barriers to the sale: decision making structure? education/knowledge? competition? budget? No reason to go to the trouble to flesh out personas for the easy sale.”

Prox said, “We have 2. 1) Repair and replacement of existing units 2) New units for industrial or municipal use.”

Rusine said, “One scenario would be if the business were to segment its customers by age.”

Sue Nordman said, “I'm learning on this one...”

McDermith said, “Piggy backing here... maybe what each personas' general goals typically are.”

Donnelly said, “Figure out what are their main "jobs to be done" And sketch out how do they go about taking care of those jobs.”

Host Packer said, “Scenarios are often missing from the buyer persona.  This is a section describing what the potential customer is doing when they look for your products or services.”



Having well defined buyer personas helps a business know their customers in a detailed way. By knowing customers, a business can consistently create sales and marketing efforts that speak to their desired audience in an effective, and hopefully productive way. There’s no better way to serve customers than to know exactly who they are and what problems a business can solve for them.



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