What is the difference between an Ideal Customer Profile and a Buyer Persona? the Ideal Customer Profile broadly describes your target market, whereas the Buyer Persona defines the specific sorts of people inside that target market. In our blog about developing a lead qualification framework we established that marketing and sales must work together to define your ideal customer. Otherwise, you’re going to have trouble.
Companies with a deep understanding of the people who tend to buy from them are going to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. A buyer persona is a great place to start to build that understanding. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research (How to Build a Buyer Persona).
If you have your Ideal Customer Profile already created you have a great foundation for building a buyer persona, but this is only the beginning. In order to build the buyer persona the best place to start is on the front lines with your sales team. Your sales team are the ones who deal with your customers day in and day out. Marketing relies on results and data to create the profile, but sales is confronted by questions from your customers daily. It's these questions that will help shape your buyer persona's, and the primary reason why your sales team needs to be involved in the creation of buyer persona's.
Asking questions to gather persona information
Have your sales team contact past customers and ask the questions that are going to help you understand who it is that’s buying from you. Sales and marketing should work together to develop the specific questions, but there are four main topics you want to ask questions about:
- Goals — What is this person trying to accomplish? How do you help them achieve these goals?
- Challenges — What holds this person back from accomplishing their goals? How do you help them overcome these challenges?
- Watering holes — Where does this person learn new things related to their job? Are there specific publications they read or podcasts they listen to or conferences they attend? How can you make yourself present at these watering holes?
- Shopping preferences — When they buy something related to their job, what does that process look like? Who’s involved? At what point do they expect a salesperson to get involved? Or, do they prefer to buy things entirely online without a sales rep being involved?
Choose 10-15 customers, ask them your questions. This information combined with the data from your ideal buyer, it should sound as though it’s describing a single individual.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer based on data. Some of that information may come from external sources on the internet or internal sources such as past sales information. Some of that data will come from interviews you have with real-live people. And then you bring all that data together and give it a name and a picture, and you have a persona that embodies your ideal customer. Once you have that, everything your company does should be focused on your sales enablement strategy.