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Defining Personas for Your Business

Let's start by stating the obvious: your business was created to serve a need where you felt there was an opportunity for you to generate revenue with your approach. Now assuming you have done the legwork to define your market in terms of geography, company size and a vertical focus (optional), we now need to dig deep into the buyer committee personas. Just who is your customer? What are their challenges? Where do they go to find a solution? What compels them to take an action? Who influences or makes a final decision?

Who Is Our Customer?

In this step we want to acquire every job title or profile that is an ideal customer. Here are a few ways you can do this:

1. If you have the data, you can look at your customer profiles and see if there are any commonalities you can use here.

2. Interview your sales team and find out just who they talk to. Is that different than who they want or need to talk to? How many people are involved?

3. Research competitor case studies and testimonials to look for job titles

4. Ask your internal team (if you are targeting a CFO with an accounting software, just ask your CFO)

What Does Our Customer Worry About?

Here we want to put ourselves in our customers shoes. What does their day-to-day look like? Where are they experiencing challenges? What keeps them up at night? Here are a few ways to collect this data:

1. Interview your customers

2. Research opportunities in your pipeline and closed won. What was the problem you solved for them?

3. Ask your internal team (if you are targeting a CFO with an accounting software, just ask your CFO)

4. Look at question boards where your audience is asking for help. This may be on LinkedIn, Quora or other popular sites

Where Does Our Customer Go To Find a Solution? Where Do They Hang Out Online and Off?

Now that you know who you want to talk to and your message is now tailored to address their challenges, you need to get your brand in front of them in all the places they may be looking for a business like yours. Here are a few ways to go about doing this:

1. Again, I like to interview current customers about where they go to find solutions and even ask how they came across your company

2. Research publications relevant to your audience. For the CFO, let's run a search for 'CFO magazines' or 'CFO blogs' and you are sure to find something

3. Is there in industry tradeshow or event targeted to your audience? (check your competitors sites here as well to see where they are going to be)

4. Can we make any conclusions about social media engagement? Do you think they are on LinkedIn for example? A manager of a McDonald's may not be on that network but perhaps you can catch them on Facebook.

What Compels Them to Take an Action?

You know it's the CFO you want to speak to, you know their challenge is reducing cost (possibly with a leaner team), you know they are active on LinkedIn and attend the CFO Council Conference every year. Now what is your best approach to getting their attention in a manner that is appropriate for them and one in which they want to engage with? Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. What types of content do they consume? Short form or long form? Written, verbal or visual?

2. Provide something helpful. Maybe this is a free template or a free trial.

3. Do they need validation from the analyst community?

4. Do they need validation from their peers?

Remember, this is a fun exercise. Get your entire team involved and share your personas with the company when you are done with the exercise. This will be useful information for many areas of the business.

Can I help you with your persona project? Let's chat!

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