Through the Buyer Persona and Customer Development methodology
A very common mistake that most companies make, and especially SMEs, is to assume the profile and identity of their clients. But do we really know who are the people who buy us ?, and more than that, do we really know their interests, habits and behaviors? Within this article I will explain methodologies that will help you identify who is your ideal client so that you can implement strategies and suitable changes, both in the company and in the product, which will allow you to obtain more and better clients.
If you are part of a SME or a large company, and you are sure to know the profile of your client, this article will also be very useful since it is a reality that we are in an «era» where the focal point is the customer and not the product, and factors such as excellent customer service and alignment of the product with their needs are essential and essential for the success of companies. The methodologies that will be described later will allow you as a company to always be «at the same speed» as your customers, in order to create suitable strategies that will allow you to be one step ahead in the market.
If you are part of a SME or a large company, and do not have the profile of your client defined in a clear way; Do not worry !, you can use this article as your personal guide, you will discover that knowing your client perfectly is easier than it seems.
Develop your Buyer Persona
The first step you have to take to get more and better customers is to develop your Buyer Persona, but what is Buyer Persona? It is a methodology that will help you identify the needs, behaviors and demographic data of your clients, that is, you will list and analyze the sociodemographic and psychological or behavioral variables of your clients. The objective of this is to create a profile of your client that is repeatable, and this is possible because it analyzes the essential characteristics that make people your ideal clients. Hubspot explains in detail what are the Buyer personas and how to create them , if you have more than one customer profile it is important that you make a Buyer Person by segment or profile.
Once you have created your buyer persona, you will have noticed that all the information you put in these templates is data that you have been learning and collecting over the years and experience, but you have to be careful because many of these could be assumptions, that is, behaviors, needs, attitudes that you think your clients have but that really is not the case.
Making assumptions of customers can be deadly for companies, especially for SMEs, why? If you as a company assume that your client’s needs are «X», but the reality is that they are «Y», what you get as a result is that you are not delivering a solution or something of value. It is very important not to make assumptions of the profile, needs, etc., of your client regardless of the size of the company, because in the end what we want is more and better clients.
The next thing to do is validate (make sure they are true) the data of the Buyer Persona that you developed, and with this we will go on the right track to obtain more and better clients.
Buyer Persona validation
To validate the Buyer Persona we will use (and shape) the methodology of Customer Development of Steve Blank, although it is a methodology mostly applied by StartUps, this can be very useful for already consolidated companies.
The Customer Development process consists of 4 phases:
1. Customer Discovery
This phase refers to identifying who is the market or target customer of your company. By developing your buyer persona you have already made this step since you have already defined and described both the sociodemographic information and the behaviors and needs of your client. At this point, you are already at 30% of getting more and better customers, approximately.
2. Customer Validation
The next step is to validate the Buyer Persona that you made, this phase is equivalent to validating the profile and needs of your client, now how do you validate your Buyer Persona? Very easy, through interviews you will perform to your clients and to people who meet the profile you defined. In this phase Steve Blank calls it: GET OUT OF THE BUILDING !, because that’s what you have to do, you have to personally conduct these interviews. This is the most important phase of all since it is where all the information comes from for future movements and strategies, that is: from the clients.
The only ones who can tell us how to get more and better customers are the customers themselves! so the questions you will ask in the interview have to be aimed at validating the information of the Buyer Persona. I recommend that you divide the questions by hypothesis or blocks to validate, example:
Imagine that you are a company that sells CRM software to improve customer follow-up, and since you are interested in being at the forefront, increasing your sales, and getting more and better customers, you decided to investigate their needs and opinions. So you made a Buyer Persona. Like the following:
Now the next thing is to investigate if what you put in this template is true, so you have to do an interview like the following:
Hypothesis 1: Sociodemographic profile of the client
- First name:
- How old are you?
- What is your position within the company?
- Who is responsible for selling within the company?
Now, what you want to understand is how this person carries out database management and customer follow-up, since within the objectives and challenges of the Buyer Persona, Ruth Serrano, Director of Marketing, aims to improve the productivity saving time and money in the management of her database, and to validate this the following hypothesis and questions will help you:
Hypothesis 2: It is believed that the organization for a salesman who handles many prospects (people interested in the product / service) is complicated, forgets contacts and loses effectiveness. So a tool to facilitate and save time in the follow-up could help them.
- Who carries out the follow-up with your clients? What does he do?
- When an interested person comes to the product or service you offer, what do you do?
- Another (if it is considered convenient).
When conducting the interviews you will discover patterns of behavior, and you will realize new things about your clients that are vital for your company. If you have doubts about the number of Hypotheses and interviews that you have to perform. The answer is that it depends on the objectives and goals you want to achieve. Make the number of interviews that you think is ideal.
3. Customer Creation
Once the client’s profile and needs have been validated, the phase of making them become clients continues, which at this level is something simpler to do since one already understands what the needs and problems, and you are offering a solution through the product / service that it’s being. If you carry out all the phases up to this point, I have good news for you: at the time of conducting the interviews during the previous phase, you were already establishing personal relationships with them for what you started with the client creation process.
4. Company Building
This phase corresponds to exploit all the knowledge of your client obtained and make the company grow.
The magic picture
If you did the interviews to validate your Buyer Persona, I assure you that at this point you will find yourself swimming in a «sea of information» about your client. Now, how do we take advantage of all this information? The following table will help you synthesize and summarize all the information so that in this way you can discover patterns of behavior.
I recommend that you buy many Post-its for this phase, and get a blackboard or a wall where you can paste, so you must make the divisions so you do not get confused.
- So that you can easily identify which Post-it belongs to each interview I recommend you to make the «participant’s sheet», this is a small sheet in which you only have to write down the name, the identifiable characteristics of the person you interviewed and you can even draw a picture. List that «Participant Sheet» and the other Post-it that belong to it, list them with the same number.
- Now; begin to extract all the information from the interviews, notes all the interesting facts, behaviors, prayers they said, demographic information, etc. Use a Post-it for each note or data.
- Then read briefly the information you have written down in the Post-it and start placing them where they belong. In this step you only have to fill in the sections corresponding to the Buyer Persona, that is, section 2, 3 and 4. As the Post-it’s are emptied inside the box, link the information that is repeated or similar.
- Now, you already have the necessary material to validate or invalidate the Buyer Persona that you made in the beginning. Observe the Post-it information, and analyze which assumptions of your client’s profile were true and which are false. It also analyzes what information you had not taken into account and that is relevant to your company. When finished, you will have as a result a Buyer Person with true and validated information, this information is «pure gold» since it will allow you to carry out strategies and modifications to your product / service that respond to the needs of your client.
- As a step to follow, concentrate on section 5, that is, all the other data that do not belong to any of the previous categories, these can be textual citations of the people interviewed, etc.
Ideally, this process within companies should be continuous; if you validate the profile and characteristics of your client, you will obtain as a result being «at the same pace as them», that is, you will be able to adapt to them and to consumer trends, which will allow you to apply better strategies to present. In short, it helps you acquire more flexibility as a company; since if there is a change in the market, with this process you can adapt more easily and get more and better customers. But this does not end here, the monitoring and attention to those who are already are buying you must be continuous and should not end in the delivery of the product. Companies must know how to transform each customer into a relationship, and thus increase sales.