What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona, also known as a marketing persona, is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers. Buyer persona profiles can help any company better understand its existing and prospective customers, and help the marketing/sales team create content that caters to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
For instance, instead of sending the same marketing email to every person on your email list, you can segment the list by buyer persona and send highly-targeted emails to different personas.
And get this:
Studies show that 91% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides relevant offers and recommendations. What's more, personalized content drives repeated purchases in 44% of consumers.
But how do you create a buyer persona?
The most realistic buyer personas are created with the help of market research and interviews/surveys of actual customers.
And can you have more than one buyer persona?
Well, this would depend on your product/service. Some companies can have two or three buyer personas, and some as many as ten or more. If this is your first time creating a buyer persona, consider going with one or two profiles at first. You can always develop more if you have to.
Buyer Persona vs. Ideal Customer Profile
Hold on a second:
If buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers, what the heck is an ideal customer profile (ICP)?
Although some people use these two terms interchangeably, there's a significant difference between the two.
Let us explain it in simple words:
Your ideal customer profile is a fictional description of the type of company you should try to sell your product/service. On the other hand, your buyer persona is the people that work inside that company or buy the product/service directly from you if you're a B2C.
For example, let's say that GrowSurf's ICPs are B2B tech companies that need referral software. Our buyer personas within these companies are CTOs, CEOs, marketing managers, and sales managers.
Ideal customer profiles are better suited for B2B companies, while buyer personas can be developed for both B2B and B2C companies.
In B2B companies, there's not one person who makes the purchasing decision. Several people have to approve the purchase of big-ticket items like a new software system. In the B2C space, the consumer is the one who decides to purchase a product or service without prior approval from anyone else.
Although ICPs and buyer personas are somewhat different, they complement each other. Many B2B companies can benefit from developing both.
|Buyer Persona||Ideal Customer Profile|
|Semi-fictional, generalized representation of your customers||Fictional description of the type of company you should try to sell your product/service|
|Focuses on the individuals behind a purchase||Focuses on the companies behind a purchase|
|Used by B2B and B2C companies||Used generally by B2B companies|
|Helps you sell to the individuals that must sign off on the deal||Gives you essential details about the type of company that you’re selling to|
7 Buyer Persona Examples for SaaS
Let's say that a sales rep on your team just got a warm lead. If that sales rep doesn't understand which category the lead falls into, that lead might completely ignore the sales reps' pitch. The worst-case scenario is pitching to a lead that's not even your ideal buyer persona.
SaaS businesses can have multiple buyer personas, depending on the product/service they're offering. For example, let's say your product is a lead generation software. Different people may use your lead gen software in different ways, depending on their job to be done and their role at a company.
Knowing the specific buyer personas for your product/service will ultimately help you better manage your sales process, produce highly-targeted marketing materials, and convert more leads.
B2B buyer personas tend to include specific information about a person, including their age, education, where they work, what they do, and who they report to. The ideal buyer persona profile should also include the person's pain points or major challenges.
With that said, let's look at seven B2B SaaS buyer persona examples for seven different products:
1. SaaS Buyer Persona Example – Employee Onboarding Software: Laura, the CTO
- Chief Technology Officer (CTO)/Director of IT/Chief Information Officer (CIO)
- 35 to 55
- Setting the vision of how technology will be used in the company
- Makes sure the technological resources meet the company’s short and long-term needs
- Onboarding new engineers
- Finding innovative ways to improve the engineering team's performance
- Laura struggles with setting a strong onboarding process to improve new hire retention. She believes the lack of effective onboarding is a major reason why the company loses 20% of their new hires within the first three months.
What she needs
- She wants to establish a smooth onboarding process that will help new engineers stay excited and engaged from day one. She needs an onboarding software that will help her save time, lighten her administrative load, and create a more inviting and personal onboarding experience for new employees.
2. SaaS Buyer Persona Example – Accounting Software: Matt, the Entrepreneur
- Small business entrepreneur
- 1-10 employees
- College degree/Master's degree
- He manages a team of developers, UX designers, and QA engineers
- Build a business plan
- Hire a team
- Communicate a vision
- Carry out a variety of core operations
- Tracking income and expenses
- Matt is struggling to keep track of how much the company spends on expenses and how much it earns every month. He wastes a great deal of his time making analyses and finds it hard to focus on other pressing tasks on which the business depends.
What he needs
- Matt needs an accounting product that will keep track of the company's expenses and revenue. The product has to be suitable for small businesses with a tight budget. The software also has to be easy to use as Matt is a beginner. He hopes to reduce his time on accounting tasks and focus on other business-related issues.
3. SaaS Buyer Persona Example – Social Media Management Software: Sara, the Social Media Marketer
- Social Media Marketer/Social Media Specialist. She manages social media in-house.
- B2B with 15-30 employees.
- Senior Marketing Manager
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Setting up and optimizing company pages within each social media platform
- Building and executing social media strategy
- Planning and posting regular content across social media
- Content writers, copywriters, graphic designers, and other marketing people
- Sara's biggest struggle is scheduling content for multiple platforms. She has to jump from one platform to the next, remembering passwords. If she wants to see responses from followers, she has to visit each platform individually, which takes up a lot of her time. She has to be sitting at her desk at all times, posting content at a fixed time.
What she needs
- Sara wants to be able to manage multiple social media networks in one place. She needs a user-friendly way to schedule her Facebook and Instagram posts, tweets, and more. She needs a social media management software that will help her view and manage different social networks in an organized manner without switching between user accounts. She also needs a tool with advanced analytics features and customizable reports that can be saved and distributed to stakeholders. The ideal software shouldn't cost the company more than $100 per month.
4. SaaS Buyer Persona Example – Customer & User Feedback Software: Elijah, the Growth Hacker Manager
- Growth Hacker Manager
- B2B SaaS with 15-50 employees
- In the growth stage
- Collaborates with the marketing and growth team, product managers, sales managers, and designers
- Increase company's revenue
- Gain new customers and develop strategies for retention
- Increase brand awareness
- Discover growth opportunities and executing a growth plan
- Technical mindset but limited coding skills
- An executive (CEO, Marketing Manager)
- Elijah's biggest challenge is being dependent on developers to do complex analyses, link independent tools together, and build and test landing pages. He wishes he could find a tool that will help him do the work of an engineer without being one himself.
What he needs
- He needs customer and user feedback software to help him survey website visitors to understand what they're looking for and why they perform certain actions on the site. He hopes this type of software will reveal the why , and not just the what or how so that he identifies valuable features and improves the conversion rate of site visitors to leads. The software has to be beginner-friendly and very intuitive to use.
5. SaaS Buyer Persona Example – AI Writing Software: Isabella, Marketing Writer
- Marketing writer
- Content writer
- B2B with 50+ employees
- Collaborates with other content writers, marketers, and graphic designers
- Research industry-related topics
- Write marketing copy to promote the company's products/services
- Prepare well-structured drafts using Content Management Systems
- Proofread and edit blog posts
- Conduct keyword research and use SEO best practices to improve web traffic
- The Marketing Manager
- Isabella struggles to come up with content ideas. She often spends a great deal of time brainstorming and researching topics. She often has to deal with writer’s block as her brain becomes overwhelmed from brainstorming and researching. She wishes she could find a software to help her produce mundane writing tasks while she focuses on writing more critical types of content.
What she needs
- She needs an AI writing software to help her produce different kinds of content, from blog posts and product descriptions to meta titles and social media posts. The tool has to make creating quality content easy, quick, and affordable. Her ultimate goal is to create high-quality marketing content that converts visitors into customers. The software has to be easy to use and affordable. A free trial or a free plan are also a plus.
6. SaaS Buyer Persona Example – Design Software: Ethan, UX Designer
- UX Designer
- B2B SaaS with 50+ employees
- Collaborates with Product Marketing Manager and other designers and developers
- Conduct usability testing and collect feedback
- Develop wireframes and prototypes around customer needs
- Think of creative ways to solve UX problems
- Work with UI designers to implement attractive designs
- Discuss design ideas and prototypes to developers
- The Product Manager
- Ethan's main struggle is staying up-to-date with what the team is designing in real-time. Now that the company moved to a hybrid model, he doesn't have the same level of insight into other designers' work. He often finds himself correcting other people's designs, spending countless hours on re-working.
What he needs
- Ethan needs a design tool that will keep him in the loop when he's working remotely. This tool should be able to help the team run tests, iterate quickly, and keep moving forward. Most importantly, the tool should be uncomplicated to use and flexible. He prefers the tool to have a free plan so that he can test-drive all the features before committing to a paid plan.
7. SaaS Buyer Persona Example – Referral Software: Emma, the Sales Manager
- Sales Manager
- B2C with 50-100 employees
- Collaborates with sales reps and the marketing team
- Create a strategy for getting more customers
- Develop long-lasting relationships with customers
- Keep track of business trends
- Track and analyze key quantitative metrics
- Recruit salespeople
- Train and coach salespeople, and monitor their performance
- The company where Emma works as a Sales Manager has recently introduced a customer referral program. At first, managing the program was quite easy, and everything was managed manually using a simple spreadsheet. However, since then, the number of participants has significantly grown, and managing the program has become incredibly cumbersome. She wastes most of her time running the program and performs poorly on other essential tasks.
What she needs
- Emma needs an automated all-in-one referral platform. The referral software should come equipped with all the features for tracking every step of the customer referral program, from shares and clicks to successful conversions. The software should be easy to use as she can't afford to waste time training the sales team.
As you can see from the seven buyer persona examples above, the most critical thing when building buyer personas is basing them on real people. As long as you follow this principle, gaining new customers will be a breeze.
To sum up:
- A buyer persona, also known as a marketing persona, is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers.
- The difference between ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas is that the former is a fictional description of the type of company you should try to sell your product/service, while the latter is the people that work inside that company or buy the product/service directly from you.
- Buyer personas are used by B2B and B2C companies, while B2B companies generally use ICPs.
- SaaS businesses can have multiple buyer personas, depending on the product/service they're offering.
- Knowing the specific buyer personas for your product/service will ultimately help you better manage your sales process, produce highly-targeted marketing materials, and convert more leads.
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