Why You Need a Sales Persona for Your Business (and How to Create One)
Amy, 35, is an accountant for a small business. She drives to work every day from her suburban home. As the sole accountant in the company, she handles all tax payments and reporting, often becoming overwhelmed in tax season. She’s looking for a user-friendly tool to help her streamline processes, reduce manual errors, and save time, all while keeping data secure.
But here’s the twist: Amy isn’t a real person.
She’s a sales persona — aka a buyer persona — created by an accounting software vendor to better connect with its customers. By targeting its content and campaigns at Amy, the vendor hits a soft spot in the hearts of real people and convinces them to use their product.
You’re probably already familiar with the concept of a persona as a way to identify your market and buyers. What’s less well-known is how a sales persona really works for your business and why it’s worth going the extra mile to create a good one. And that’s exactly what this article will cover.
What is a sales persona?
Without the help of the “Amy” sales persona, the vendor could have easily fallen into the trap of trying to be all things to all people. Their advertising and sales efforts would have been overly generic, only highlighting the “best” product features from the team’s own viewpoint.
You’ve probably seen such product websites that appeal more to software developers than actual users. Each page is like a laundry list of features that you, as a user, might not care about, and they say nothing about what matters to you.
But when a sales team has Amy — a persona representing their ideal customer — they can target and tailor their sales messages more precisely. They’ll keep in mind that it’s people like Amy who will be buying their product, not developers.
As they prepare everything from website content to sales scripts, they’ll ask: How would Amy like this? They can even inform their development team about features that Amy would appreciate.
A good sales persona goes beyond demographics. You don’t really need to know whether Amy is married or how many kids she has (unless your product is targeting such demographics), but you do need to know which social media platforms she prefers, which resources she uses to make her purchase decision, and how she’ll make that decision.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As your teams use personas to craft inbound and outbound approaches, AI sales platforms like AiSDR use sales personas as the basis for generating content, fine-tuning emails, and answering to responses.
How a sales persona benefits your business
Personas make it easier to understand the needs, wants, and pains of your customers. To that extent, a well-developed sales persona can drive business development in multiple areas.
Sales personas can be used to help design and incorporate features and experiences your target customer needs. For example:
- A customer-driven product design – Knowing which features your target customer needs most helps you prioritize what matters.
- A user-friendly experience – If your target customer is not particularly tech-savvy, a user-friendly interface that minimizes friction and frustration will be more important than advanced features.
- Compatibility – Many customers expect software to integrate seamlessly with their existing tech stack or toolkit.
By using personas as a guide, you can gain valuable insight into how you can create a user-friendly product that contains the features your customers are looking for. In turn, this should increase your chance of converting leads into sales.
Thanks to the considerable overlap between sales and marketing activities, it’s no surprise that sales personas can inform and streamline key marketing tasks.
- Content creation – Knowing your persona’s pain points and motivations allows you to create content that resonates and speaks directly to them.
- Advertising campaigns – Instead of creating campaigns that promote features on all platforms, personas give guidance on which social media networks are more likely to yield good results, thereby optimizing your ad campaign spend and efficiency.
- Customer segmentation – You can create multiple sales personas to develop and tailor content for different segments.
Once you’ve created content and paid advertising campaigns targeted to specific personas, you can proceed with other marketing tactics. For example, you can use generative AI to boost your inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
A well-crafted sales persona can be a game-changer for honing effective sales tactics across the board.
- Lead qualification – Knowing your ideal customer’s characteristics makes it much easier to decide who’s more likely to buy, as well as place where a prospect is in their buyer’s journey.
- Sales pitches and presentations – You can customize sales pitches to address your persona’s specific needs and pain points in language that resonates with them.
- Communication channels – Just like marketing, sales outreach is far more effective when they account for the channels and platforms preferred by the target customer.
- Objection handling – With a well-tuned sales persona, your team can anticipate customer concerns and adjust value propositions to address them.
In short, a buyer persona enables all teams to focus their efforts on creating and selling a product that is more likely to be sold. It also increases the likelihood of long-term customer retention as clients are more likely to be satisfied.
Specific benefits of sales personas for sales and marketing
The main benefit of using sales personas in business is an improved understanding of your target customers, which leads to more effective communication and sales growth.
Improved customer understanding
With a detailed sales persona, you have a multi-faceted understanding of your customer: Their age, location, goals, pains, communication preferences, and values. This lets you personalize your visitor experience, target advertising more effectively (especially if you’re already using a sales enablement AI), and nurture customer relationships.
For example, if you know that Amy prefers LinkedIn, wants to free up her work time, and has to get senior buy-in before purchasing, this determines your approach. You decide to reach out to her via LinkedIn, emphasize your product’s ease of use, and offer a discounted pricing plan for small businesses.
Detailed personas simplify the tailoring of marketing messages. They give insight into how to address the specific needs, pain points, and aspirations of your target buyer by outlining the content, tone of voice, and channel that suits them best.
Most customers appreciate this level of personalization, which is why hyper-personalization has a higher chance of converting. When people see that you understand their needs and speak their language, they’re more likely to convert and stay with you.
You can even use a sales persona to hone your sales and marketing KPIs. For example, if Amy is a conservative user who tends to use the same solution for years, this will inform your predicted customer lifetime value.
The focused outreach and quick lead qualification a sales persona offers has the potential of shortening sales cycles. Tailored messaging and fine-tuned value propositions increase conversions, and more personalized interactions lead to higher customer retention.
Still, all these benefits only apply when your sales persona is designed and used well. It should be based on relevant and reliable data, and your team should know how to integrate it.
Drawbacks of sales personas
Good sales personas bring with them a lot of advantages, especially if your competitors lack well-defined personas. But just like any other sales and marketing tool, sales personas have their drawbacks and limitations.
Sales personas are, by nature, based on generalized characteristics. Accordingly, there’s a chance that they fail to reflect diversity. While most of your customers might resemble Amy, not all of them will. To avoid falling into this trap, your team should craft a gameplan for how to deal with outliers.
A sales persona is only as good as the data you used to create it. Ideally, you should have valid, relevant, and recent data from a sizable sample of your actual target customers. However, maintaining such a database can be a pain for a small business or startup, meaning that sales personas can end up based on incomplete or inaccurate knowledge.
How to create a sales persona
So, how can you create a sales persona that gets the job done?
First, you need to collect specific and focused data about your customers: Their demographics, preferences, motivations, and goals. If you’re a startup that doesn’t yet have customers, you can study customer reviews and social media activity of competitors with a similar target audience.
This research stage is key to effective sales persona creation. The more detailed and reliable data you have, the more accurate the representation of your ideal customer will be. You can collect data using different tools and sources:
- Customer interviews
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Focus groups
- Industry-scale analytics tools (Google Analytics, etc.)
- Social media monitoring tools (Hootsuite, Mention)
- Sales and customer service data
- Customer journey mapping
Once you’ve gathered your data, you’re ready to draft a sales persona with your buyer’s demographics, preferences, and behavioral patterns. If you’re operating in different markets or selling to different customer segments, a best practice is to design a sales persona for each major segment or market — For example, you might have a persona for lone accountants like Amy and a separate persona for heads of accounting departments.
Once you’ve created a sales persona, you can use it to guide marketing and sales strategies while monitoring their effectiveness. As you test your persona, you can collect customer feedback to continuously refine your persona.
Launch better sales campaigns with personas
It can be time-consuming and difficult to create a sales persona, but the time and effort demanded by a good persona is well worth the investment. They’re more likely to improve conversion rates, engagement, and other marketing and sales success indicators.
An advanced AI sales tool like AiSDR help you recoup your investment by generating entire sales and marketing campaigns for each of your personas, saving you the time and energy from manually composing each message in the campaign. All you have to do is upload your persona, upload your leads, and watch the magic of AiSDR happen as it generates tailored messages each time.
Book a demo to see AiSDR in action and get a taste of how AI-powered sales and marketing can keep your company ahead of the game.
What is a sales persona?
A sales persona is like your dream customer sketched out on paper. It’s a profile that tells you who they are, what they like, and how to win them over. Think of it as a cheat sheet for your sales game.
Why are sales personas important?
Sales personas help you focus your product development and sales and marketing efforts on the right people so you’re not shooting in the dark. You spend less time chasing useless leads and more time developing a great product and connecting with the right buyers for your offering.
What information should sales personas include?
You’ll want the basics like age, job, and location, but it doesn’t stop there. Dive into their hobbies, pain points, and what keeps them up at night. The more you know, the better you can tailor your pitch.
How do sales personas help sales and marketing campaigns?
Sales personas are like a playbook for effective campaign strategies. They tell you how to score big with your target audience, which messages will hit home, and where to find your buyers online.
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