Passion Is Key To Finding Your Buyer Personas and The Secret To Selling Online

by Ashley Verrill on Apr 25, 2013

This is the first part in a three-part series on how to build your online presence for real social selling, inspired by research from Jon Ferrara, founder and CEO of social CRM developer Nimble.

Socialized selling isn’t about blasting mass emails on Linkedin, or sending out coupon codes on Twitter – customers are becoming increasingly disenchanted with this kind of push messaging.

It’s about finding what attracts customer to you, then executing on that strategy.

buyer persona

“With social selling, you’re no longer simply pushing information about products and services out to your audience. Instead, you’re discovering what they’re passionate about, which can lead naturally—organically—into a discussion of how you can solve a problem or improve their lives, and why your company is the right choice to help them,” Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara said recently, as I was researching technologies that enable this kind of social approach.

Building a socialized selling strategy involves completing the following three basic stages:

  • Research: This stage is all about identifying your ideal customer – also called your Buyer Persona – then finding out what their fears are when buying your product.
  • Content: This stage is all about creating content that speaks to the buyer persona you identified in the first step.
  • Distribution: This stage is about getting the word out about your content, then using the results to refine future content.

First, we are going to focus on the first stage: research.

Finding Your Buyer Personas

This stage is essentially about building your buyer persona, or a hypothetical profile of your ideal customers.

These personas help you relate to your customers as real humans, and guides both content creation and distribution.

They include the following demographic information:

  • Demographics
  • Challenges / Goals
  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Income
  • Interests
  • Employment industry (if relevant)
  • Jobs seniority (if relevant)

These profiles should also include your persona’s challenges and goals:

  • The primary challenges to this person’s success
  • Challenges to success, or pain points when shopping for your product or service
  • Goals when they purchase your product
  • What excites them about your product

To complete this process, follow the steps below.

1. Define Your Ideal Customer

define-buyer-persona

In the most simple terms, your ideal customer means those people with the highest propensity of buying from you. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, as well as assumptions about their concerns and motivations when buying your product.

Find their biggest pain points and passions. These are the two things that drive your potential customer.

To find your demographics, conduct customer interviews. Ask consumers what primary concerns or objectives they had during the sales process.

Also save quotes from these conversations to post on your completed buyer persona profile. These will help your team really internalize their ideal customer.

2. Refine Your Profile

refine-buyer-persona

Once you have your persona mapped, create a physical representation of that persona, including an image and all of the characteristics you gleaned from your interviews with customers and your sales team.

Post these in your sales room and in your customer service departments. Invite your team to add onto these profiles with sticky notes, a white board, or another predefined process. Do they keep getting the same questions over and over again? Are customers using your product in a way that indicates they valued something different when they were still shopping?

All of these answers will help your content creators better target these personas.

3. Validate Your Persona

validate-buyer-persona

Finally, using these demographics, find your ideal customer on the web and see if their interests / concerns / values match yours. If your buyer persona is a working mom with two kids, find relevant blogs and look for articles geared towards professionals. “How Busy Moms Maintain Work-Life Balance,” for example.

Take a look at the article and the comments from readers. Take note of which articles are shared and commented on most and see if any trending topics emerge.

In our next post, we will explore how you use this information to start crafting your content that is not just shareable for the sake of it – but interesting and viral to your specific target audience.

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Post Author

CRM Market Analyst, Managing Editor for the Customer Service Investigator at Software Advice...

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    Love this post Ashley. I would love to hear more details about the actual customer interviews. Have you written anything in more detail about that topic? I am getting ready to do more of this for Social Fresh. Curious how many people, what questions to ask, etc. Any additional details.

  • http://www.CoreyCreed.com Corey Creed

    Nice info, Ashley. Two of my favorite marketing books of all time touch on these very topics. One is not very well known. But it goes into great detail on how to do personnas for marketing. It’s called “The User is Always Right” (poor name IMO). I would think that creating a quality set of personnas would be critical to good targeting with social media, right?

  • Ashley Verrill

    I totally agree. It’s all about really knowing who your audience is – that’s the only way to be relevant. Instead of trying to tell them what you want them to hear, figure out what they need and target your message that way.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Jane Leonard

    this is a really useful post Ashley, The trick now, is to go an do as you outline. Many people (I mean me) search for the magic bullet to get more sales when all we really have to do is a little bit of work to identify where we should target our efforts.

  • Anna Pham

    Great post Ashley,I think it’s really important for the sellers to have real passion in creating product that can actually works and helps people. Thanks for sharing.

  • NeverMissGift

    Awesome post, Ashley – so glad I found this. I know my buyer (it’s me!) but I am struggling to produce the right content. About to read your next post!