Bag the cutesy personas! [Slideshow & Download]
Personas that help marketers market and sellers sell are driven by research, not creativity.
Here’s a simple persona template I’ve used to help dial in marketing and sales teams with new customers.
When I onboard new clients, I always ask for existing research and information on their customers and prospects. I often receive a pile of personas that the client paid dearly for but never used. Personas are supposed to be a quick way to internalize your prospects’ world, what they value, what drives them to purchase, and any details based on actual research and personal interviews.
Most personas I see are creative exercises where the content seems to come from an agency copywriter’s brain, not the actual gathering of outside-in intelligence.
A common denominator in these unused piles of personas is an over-emphasis on cleverness and fake characters with cute made-up lifestyle details, like the kinds of cars they drive or if they like Chinese take-out. These fluffy details are great for Instagram but irrelevant for the clients I know whose butts are on the line for making sales happen.
If you do the research and spend time talking to customers, you won’t have to make anything up because you’ll have a wealth of facts and insights to share that will make all the difference when preparing sales or marketing communications.
Below is a template I’ve used to help customers distill the basics regarding each customer type. As with most successful templates, there is a heavy premium on simplicity and making it visual so people can quickly scan and internalize the information.
This template can distill the output from extensive multipage research and interview effort. The idea is to force the research into a format down to the essential details so your team can quickly internalize the big insights with minimal time and effort.
Because most B2B clients have multiple people involved in a buying decision, it is essential to do one for each person who can sponsor, fund, influence, or stop a purchase.
Michael Taylor, SimpleMind