Sunday, December 26, 2010

Getting Personal

Personas are the latest craze among B-to-B marketers.

For good reason.

Like the GPS in your car, personas guide you in your quest to find new customers.

Jeff Ogden, president and CMO of Find New Customers, offers these five tips for creating strong personas:

1. Start with the companies of your ideal customers.  Begin by developing profiles of your best buyers' companies.  Think about the problems you solve for these businesses.

2. Identify your customers' job titles.  Ask your salespeople who the decisionmakers are.

3. Ask 13 questions.  What’s the prospect's role in the buying decision?  What keeps her up at night?  What motivates her?  Is she acquainted with your organization?  Where does she get news?  How does she make decisions?  What associations does she belong to?  What events does she attend?  Does she seek advice from colleagues and peers?  How is she dealing with problems today?  What words does she use to describe the problems?  Does she prefer high-level or detailed information?  What prevents her from choosing you?

4. Leverage all contact points.  For answers to these questions, talk to all the people who deal with customers.  Ask both sales and customer support.  Pose questions on Linkedin and Twitter.  Use internal surveys.  Participate in blogs and online communities.

5. Keep revising the personas.  "Personas are an endless quest for perfection," says Ogden.  So set bimonthly meetings to review them.
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