Understanding potential customers are key to engaging them in meaningful conversations, recommending products that are the most relevant to their needs, and ultimately winning sales. Whether you have a sales team or you are a small business owner doing your own sales, connecting with prospects is an essential way to keep your business growing. Using customer personas to inform your selling can get your marketing, sales, and service processes working together towards greater customer satisfaction.
What Are Customer Personas?
Customer personas are like fictional characters that you create, each based on attributes that a certain number of your clients share. They represent real customers and highlight the major goals, pain points, habits, and lifestyle choices that inform their buying decisions. You can have several different customer personas to represent different types of customers.
Everyone, Meet Sammy
Imagine that you own a healthy food delivery service in Boston. Sammy could be one of your customer personas.
Sammy is 26 years old and works at a marketing company near the financial district. She has just advanced to a new role and needs to put in long hours in order to learn about her responsibilities and do the kind of work that stands out to leadership. She lives in an apartment with friends.
When she is not working, Sammy enjoys taking fitness classes. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to her, but she does not usually have time to cook. While she makes a good salary and has some disposable income, she does not want to spend too much on food. She prefers to put money away towards future investments or spend it on social activities.
- Getting ahead at work
- Meeting fitness-related goals
- Eating nutritious food
- Having energy to sustain long hours
- Having some time left over to date, meet friends, and visit her family
- Saving money to buy a home and eventually have a family
- Lack of time to shop for and prepare food
- High cost of eating restaurant food
- Lack of variety in the meals she can prepare for herself, quickly
- Poor nutritional value from delivery options
- Uber Eats and other applications
- Text messaging
- Google search
- Nutritional value
- Reasonable price
How Can You Use Customer Personas?
First, you need to create customer personas like Sammy from real data collected via interactions with prospects and clients. Gathering information from your sales team, interviewing your current customers, and conducting surveys are all excellent ways to do this.
Once you have your personas, share them with your marketing, sales, and service teams. You can create simple, one-page handouts that give each persona a name, include a photo, and describe their attributes. You can create PowerPoint slides describing the personas and use them in strategy meetings. You can even put up posters of your personas around the office.
5 Ways Customer Personas Can Help Increase Sales
1. Personas Help Your Marketing Team Create Effective Strategies
Your marketing team can refer to customer personas when they design marketing materials, identify which channels to focus on, and outline broad strategies.
In the case of marketing to Sammy, the healthy delivery food service might plan an Instagram ad campaign that emphasizes the nutritional value of its products while showing images of young women at work, doing yoga, and enjoying nutritious meals.
2. Personas Help Your Sales Team Understand Prospects
Your sales team can use personas when speaking with prospects to quickly reference pain points and recommend products that will help them meet their goals.
Imagine that your healthy delivery food service has two product lines–one designed for individuals and the other for families. When speaking to a prospect like Sammy, a member of your sales team, should recommend products from the first line and emphasize the variety of available meals. If Sammy has the ability to visit your website and change the “deliver to” location to her office on nights when she works late, your salesperson should mention this convenient option.
3. Personas Can Help You Develop Products That Are Easy for Your Sales Team to Sell
When you have customer personas, you can identify your potential customers’ tastes and preferences. You can use this information to develop your product line and win returning costumers.
When catering to Sammy, you might do some research that reveals that 26-year-old professional females in the Boston area tend to enjoy international foods and appreciate organic options. When you design your menu, you could include some organic Thai and Mexican meals. If you consider that one of her pain points is a lack of variety, you might choose to introduce new options every week.
4. Personas Can Help Inform When and How to Reach Prospects
By understanding what channels your customers prefer and what their schedules might be like, your sales team can determine the most effective ways of making contact. If a member of your sales team tries to make a phone call to Sammy at 4:00 P.M. on a Tuesday, chances are she will be working and won’t be able to answer. A better strategy might be to have members of your sales team hand out samples near a public park where outdoor fitness classes take place.
5. Using Personas, You Can Find a Balance Between Customization and Scalability.
Each real person has unique preferences and pain points. If members of your sales team use the same tone and the same pitch for everyone, they will not win many sales. However, if they took the time to craft a completely new pitch every time they got a lead, they would not make sales quickly enough to sustain the business. Using customer personas, members of your sales team can practice several different styles of making a pitch, each targeted at a different persona.
At the product development level, one item will not satisfy all your customers. However, customizing a product for every individual client is not scalable. The healthy food delivery service could not manage its inventory to support creating a different menu for each client, but it could use customer personas to design several different menus, including one for Sammy. Sammy’s menu would likely appeal to many 26-year-old professional females.
Customer Personas Mean More Sales
At every stage of interacting with clients, from responding to leads to providing services for returning customers, you need to address real preferences and pain points. Customer personas are a great tool to help you do this at the marketing, sales, and service levels.
Best of all, personas can align the different aspects of your business so that they support each other. When your company develops products with a specific persona in mind, it is easier for your marketing team to create materials that make those products look attractive to people who fit the persona. In turn, your sales team can identify which prospects match the persona and which selling points will be most meaningful to them.
Overall, using customer personas are a way to make sure you have real people in mind when you run your business. They provide a kind of scenario-play that allows your business to develop products, marketing strategies, and selling techniques that ultimately result in more sales.
About the Author: Nathan Watt is the Managing Director of Watson & Watt. Nathan helps small business owners grow their business and reduce their tax by providing practical, real-world advice. Website for bio link: www.watsonwatt.com.au