How to Build Enterprise Personas That Grow Sales

December 6, 2016

When you create an enterprise persona, you’re in effect turning a part of your customer base or target audience into a “person.” Thinking of your audience in this personified way helps you create content that connects with them and that they find useful.

Creating an enterprise persona involves digging in to your target audience and examining their goals, their values, and their motivations. Once you’ve created an enterprise persona, you understand where she shops, what she cares about, and what obstacles stand in the way of her making purchases.

In this blog post, we explore what enterprise personas are, why your business needs them, and how to go about building persona profiles that accurately reflect your ideal customer. The goal is to use these as guideposts to help your marketing and sales teams speak to potential customers and close the deal more quickly and efficiently than ever before.


What are Enterprise Personas, and Why Do You Need Them?

Many marketing experts recommend that you divide your target audience into up to five personas to represent the different aspects of your customer or potential customer base. Once you’ve done this, it becomes markedly easier to craft your marketing message in a targeted way, speaking directly to your customers the way you would if they were present in a room with you.

As you create an enterprise persona, you should narrow down the specifics of her demographic information, including age, gender, where she lives, education level, family status, and household income. Information about each enterprise persona’s goals is also crucial. You want to know what her goals are and how you can help her achieve them. Ask yourself what obstacles block the path to these goals, and establish how your product or service removes these obstacles.

Another important area to consider when establishing enterprise personas is that of values. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does your target customer care about?
  • What is her biggest ostacle or pain point?
  • What does she fear?
  • What is she afraid might be taken away from her?

By looking at the answers to these questions, you can understand what her objections might be during the sales process, which in turn helps you design content to overcome these objections.

Other valuable information can include an understanding of where your customer gets her news, how she’s plugged in on social media, and what the best channels to reach her might be.


How to You Use Surveys to Reach Your Customers and Craft Your Enterprise Personas

So now you’ve decided to create a few enterprise personas. You might think the next step is to sit down with your marketing team and get to work, drawing on your team members’ personal experience and filling in the blanks with your best guesses.

However, this task may be doomed to failure, since you’re not working off good information. Given that most customers feel the brands they deal with don’t understand their needs, you should now take a step back and start gathering the data you need before you start crafting those enterprise personas.

Support Persona Development With Real Data

Where do you get that data? One of the very best ways is by the use of surveys. You can use surveys as a powerful and versatile tool to reach both your existing customers and those you want to reach.

To craft your survey, start by looking at the data you already have, corralling it into a useful format. Begin with your website analytics and your SEO data. Where do your customers come from? What keywords are drawing them to you? This information gives you insight into your customers’ goals and motivations.

It can also come in handy later when you decide what avenues to use to reach out to your target audience.

Listen to What Your Customers are Saying

Pay attention to social media as well.

Monitor the conversations on your social media to get down to the nitty-gritty of what customers are saying in various locations. Look for the questions customers are asking on Twitter, Yelp or Facebook.

Don’t neglect looking at the problems they’re discussing, since this data pinpoints some of those obstacles you want to work into your enterprise persona.

Building Your Persona Survey

Now you’re ready to design that survey. Start it with easy questions that don’t ask customers to create any content. Instead, make it easy and quick. Give them carefully designed multiple-choice questions, or ask them to rate products, services, and experiences on a sliding scale.

From there, you can start to get specific.

Ask about their personal or workplace lives to understand how you can best meet their needs. Find out what they already love about your products and services, and ask what concerns they have that are keeping them from buying. Be as specific as possible when you craft your questions.

Asking open-ended questions like “Why do you buy from us?” is likely to provide you with little in the way of actionable data. Avoid provocative or leading language to make sure you’re getting accurate and honest responses.

If you have the opportunity to follow up with customers personally, take advantage of it. Deeper interviews with customers, even if done online, allows you to dive into their goals and values and gives you deeper understanding into the obstacles that keep them from interacting with your brand.


How You Can Expand Your Customer Base and Reach Your Target Audience

Another way to amass a deeper level of data to help you craft enterprise personas and reach your target audience is through panels. Market research and survey companies collect millions of panel members that you can filter to access only those who fall into your target audience. These companies will provide in-depth information through highly targeted surveys or through online video interviews that you can then scour for the information you need to create your enterprise personas.

In these directed audience, look for answers that give you insight into your target customers’ motivations and expectations. Be sure to ask questions that provide context and answers to the following:

  • Why would they need your product or service?
  • What obstacles would your product or service help them overcome? (For instance, if you’re marketing a traffic app, you might ask detailed questions about your audience’s morning commute.)

Ask open-ended questions about what the customer wishes she could find that she isn’t seeing in the marketplace right now or isn’t receiving from your product.

Ask about frustrations with your products and services, and don’t forget to ask what doubts your current customers had about purchasing your product.

Questions about customer experience can also open up avenues for you to understand what might be keeping future customers from developing a relationship with your brand or company.

As you assess the answers to these panel questions, you should start to see ways in which you’re failing to reach your target audiences, and opportunities where you can tweak your communication pathways to reach more potential customers. Use this new data to create additional enterprise personas that fall a little outside the parameters of your tried-and-true customers to start to expand your customer base.

All this survey and panel data comes together when you start to bring your enterprise personas to life.


Data-Driven Enterprise Personas Ensure Real Results

Once you see the commonalities in your data, you should be able to create several clearly distinct enterprise personas that can in turn help you develop content that connects your target audience to your products and services.

Using data instead of guessing about your brand’s enterprise personas is a tried-and-true way to give yourself a step up ahead of your competitors and establish your home base in the marketplace.

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