Every solution you sell, whether it was a product or service, needs to have a clear answer on how do your customers spend their day, what is their needs, what are their main pain points, and why do they care about you? Remember, your customer doesn’t care about your product or service; they care about the pain you are solving.

The only way to avoid making up stuff about your customer is simply by talking to them. Make it a goal to spend a few hours a month interviewing recent buyers, including those who chose you and those who didn’t. 

Once you’ve gathered initial data from your employees, customers, and leads, host a buyer brainstorming session with your team. The objective of this brainstorming session should be to come up with a first draft of who you think your personas are. Adele Revella, the author of The Buyer Persona Manifesto, suggests that the main insights you need to know about your consumer, which will help guide your session are outlined in the below points:

  • Priority initiatives: what are the three to five problems to which your buyer persona dedicates time, budget, and energy to solve?

  • Success factors: what are the tangible or intangible metrics or rewards that the buyer associates with success, such as “grow revenue by X” or a promotion?

  • Perceived barriers: what factors can prompt the buyer to question whether your company and its solution can help with achieving his or her success factors? In this step, you begin to uncover unseen factors, such as competing interests, politics, or prior experiences with your company.

  • Buying process: what process does the persona follow in exploring and selecting a solution that can overcome the perceived barriers and achieve his or her success factors?

  • Decision criteria: what aspects of each product will the buyer assess in evaluating the alternative solutions available? The decision criteria should include insights from a buyer who chose a competitor and decided not to buy your solution.

Sample of a persona for a consumer financial services company:

Eddie is 42 years old, has been married for 17 years, and has two teenage daughters. Eddie works as an Executive Vice President with a large international firm and amasses a good savings account.

Eddie travels the world as a part of his job and enjoys traveling during the holidays. Wherever Eddie goes, his smartphone follows him so he can be up to date with the office. Over the past few weeks, Eddie has been working to consolidate his finances with one provider, and he has made steps in that direction by recently developing a trust for his family. Eddie is consistently concerned that he makes the right decision so that his family is taken care of in the long term.