Marketers and sales professionals in the software as a service (SaaS) industry are searching for a continuous stream of qualified leads. They work relentlessly to keep a steady pipeline of soft leads to nurture. The task of bringing in a SaaS product lead is challenging. Add to this the task of guessing your target demographic and their information needs.
The growing global SaaS market demands knowing customers’ needs in and out to drive growth. Here’s how the SaaS industry is expected to grow:
Inbound marketers in the SaaS industry strategize to attract potential customers and get them to buy the software. One of the strategies to drive lead conversion can be creating a buyer persona that helps the sales and marketing team work in tandem. The marketing team can create content targeted to a set audience, while the sales team can nurture leads meaningfully by addressing their concerns.
Here, you’ll consider creating user stories, enabling problem prioritization, and creating content for a specific audience. All these are possible with a buyer persona that helps understand the user.
The buyer persona represents a fictional character of a typical SaaS buyer. These are created based on data collected from consumers whose buying habits and choices are based on their unique personalities and lifestyles.
The more you learn about your target audience, the better your content, campaigns, and advertisements will perform and attract new leads.
Here are the key benefits of using buyer personas —
Creating a persona helps understand user objectives, identify pain points, and recognize buying patterns. Many businesses also use stock photos or artwork to give them a face, clothing style, accessories, etc., that help marketing teams associate a face with a name.
Here are a few examples of marketers using faces while creating personas —
Technically, when closing in leads, you will consider catering to three major entities, forming different personas.
The Daily User: They interact with your product every day. Therefore, try offering easy-to-use software that saves time and helps them stay efficient at work.
The Manager: Managers who oversee everyday tasks to maintain standards while carrying out their tasks responsibly. They use software to access reports, alerts, and relevant updates to track progress.
The Check Signer: These persons seek insights to drive better decisions. They would like to see effective ROI when buying a product.
The SaaS buyer persona helps you understand your target market, enabling you to identify what you can offer to users. The better you address their needs and expectations, the faster you can convert them into sales.
Information about your target market’s demographics and motivations serves as a basis for shaping products that resonate with a group. You can streamline marketing efforts across departments within the organization and penetrate deeper into the customer segment that counts.
You will use the following to craft a buyer persona —
We’ll touch upon these factors ahead.
And since various customers buy your products, you may need to create many buyer personas.
Collecting information about your ideal customer is the first step to creating a SaaS buyer persona. A persona will represent your preconceptions if conducted without research. This can distance your persona from real customers.
Now, collecting data and creating personas is a systematic process. Let’s understand how to do it right.
Try connecting with real people when building a buyer persona for SaaS. There is no golden formula for deciding the number of interviews you must conduct to gather key information.
Strategize identifying and bridging the knowledge gap on available information that helps build questions you need to ask. Sales and customer service teams often interact with real people. Rope them in to understand the common pain points of users.
Once you have first-hand information, interview 15-30 persons for each pain point. It depends on how specific you want your results to be.
After interviewing at least five individuals, you’ll see patterns. And eventually, you’ll see that the interviews yield almost no new information, showing no need to schedule new interviews.
Once you are done with interviews, refine your findings by identifying the common responses from your customers.
Then, go through your data to discover the most crucial factors influencing your audience’s perception of your brand.
Here are some common key characteristics that help you determine segmenting interviewers —
Price sensitivity defines the budget and affordability readiness of your customers. When creating a SaaS buyer persona, know your market and buyers in and out to determine their price sensitivity.
Each persona will see the value of your offering differently. Therefore, expect each group to react differently to your product costs. For instance, one person’s floor price may be a ceiling for another.
Therefore, try assessing the price sensitivity of each of your market groups separately. This ensures that collected data accurately reflects your niche and remains skewed by outliers.
Think of implementing the Price Laddering and the Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity meter for price laddering.
1. Price laddering
This method asks prospective buyers to rate (on a scale from 1 to 10) how likely they are to purchase at a certain price point.
2. Van Westendorp’s price sensitivity meter
Van Westendorp’s Price Sensitivity Meter asks respondents to indicate their willingness to pay within a range. This solves the difficulty of gauging price sensitivity.
Here’s an in-depth take on both these methods.
Following the above two steps will help you unearth the truth about the kinds of consumers you’re targeting. Leverage such information to find a perfect communication method, product offerings, and price point for your (actual) existing customers.
This includes discovering commonalities (between current customers and personas) and evaluating trends that offer value to your targeted customers. As exemplified here, filtering and building your buyer persona involves creating different user profiles.
Every SaaS customer is unique as each caters to different businesses, KPIs, and industries. This will have some businesses looking for fewer features and low-end product prices, while others do not want any compromises and are willing to pay premium prices.
You’ll also have some businesses in the subset who want the best of both worlds. This will need you to segment your audience when creating a buyer persona.
You’ll also have some businesses in the subset that want the best of both worlds. This will need you to segment your audience when creating a buyer persona.
You are bound to serve a range of customers throughout your product lifecycle. Treating them the same way puts you in danger of producing something too generic to appeal to everyone.
Therefore, involve tailoring content that benefits different customers — from novices to small businesses and even enterprises.
That said, use your personas in your marketing efforts by matching them up with the information you already have.
Here are some audience attributes you can map based on the available data.
Once you have the buyer persona at your disposal, make the most of it. Here’s how!
Creating a buyer persona is just the beginning of the journey.. Once created, you need to line up a gamut of tasks like tailoring content for different segments of buyers and experimenting with different content types (videos, webinars, podcasts, etc.). Let’s find out different ways to use buyer personas.
Buyer personas allow content creation that speaks directly to each target buyer. It involves addressing your demographic with tailored content and addressing their concerns. This allows more freedom to go into detail, helping you plan how to use content in product marketing and using the right terms and expressions familiar to your personas.
Personas help identify the language they prefer and how they prefer it. For example, if you are creating inspiring content for Gen Z, give them cultural references of Elon Musk, Karen X Cheng, and PewdiePie instead of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, whom Millennials often associate with.
Your marketing team must address key performance indicators (KPIs) through various activities. Buyer personas can help businesses make the most of available data to address the set KPIs. The next job is to tie buyer personas to KPIs.
Data based on which you created personas helps identify whether you missed a crucial persona or misinterpreted any key persona feature. Tying personas to KPIs can also caution you if focusing on an unrealistic character hinders your marketing activities.
KPIs help you see whether a certain buyer profile is effective. Gauge success by evaluating the number of marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, and prospects to a specific buyer profile.
Discussions throughout the sales process and numbers may show how effectively your buyer personas resonate. Use data to develop or update personas, but the qualitative details gleaned from talking to target customers are irreplaceable.
The availability of buyer persona opens gates to crafting funnel-specific content. You can create content for three different phases of marketing funnel — Top of the Funnel (ToFu), Middle of the Funnel (MoFU), and Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu).
Funnel-based content creation ensures reaching out to targeted customers at the right time with the right content. Such an approach enhances conversions as you’ll be able to add value for buyers by serving them with what they look for.
Personas allow identifying audiences at different stages. You can tailor content for various stages of the buying journey based on the following funnels.
Content for ToFu: Expert content, thought leadership blogs, infographics, and videos are some content assets you can use at this stage. This awareness stage requires pivoting to identifying personal pain points and enabling access to possible solutions.
Content for MoFu: Here, introduce your personas to white papers, Ebooks, webinars, and podcasts. Think of well-informed personas aware of their business issues and looking for potential solutions.
Content for BoFu: This is a prospective persona with a high chance of conversions. You are connected to your buyer personas through various content marketing assets that show your product value. Consider video demonstrations, side-by-side product plan comparisons, and compelling case studies with recommendations from industry leaders.
Mapping your buyer personas to the buying cycle of your content marketing strategy is vital to boosting brand awareness and converting potential buyers into customers.
Now that you know how to create and leverage buyer persona, let’s get started with key tips to implement in creating those.
A full-fledged persona will make you aware of your buyer persona’s job and wants. Examine your persona’s story and know their “roles.” Gather information that helps address key customer issues important to them in their professional and personal lives.
Here, focus on a common occurrence that people with similar profiles face.
Knowing what they are good at (and what not) is possible when you collect necessary background details. This also helps define the roles of your sales and marketing team as they can scoop pain points in their communication.
Knowing what your personas seek from your content and product helps you tailor marketing content and sales pitch. This way, you position your brand for a particular segment of personas. For instance, for SMEs, you can drive the cost-effectiveness of your product, while for enterprises and large corporations, you can highlight premium features and how it drives efficiency.
The key lies in grasping the persona’s motivation and approaching them with specific intent. This enables teams to customize SaaS content strategies to connect with a persona when they know what that person is seeking.
Persona descriptions do not have meaning if your team members can’t see the value. Therefore, having your related teams participate in designing the personas is important. Persons should ideally participate in the user research used to create the personas.
If this does not seem feasible, conduct a group discussion on the persona descriptions and consider their input. This will help you understand real-world problems and tailor your personas to match targeted customers.
Use analytics data from websites, social media, and pay-per-click advertising campaigns. Such data provides some accurate and actionable information about your ideal customers.
Pay close attention to the demographics of the individuals clicking on your adverts. This helps identify what pushes them to explore more. Check your website’s stats to determine which pages people spend the most time on.
Get information on most downloadable content, who downloaded it, from where, and how they reacted to it (like, comment, share). Such a data-driven approach helps compile more realistic, persuasive buyer personas.
Managing the created personas is essential to keep them relevant. But do not rush to change these personas until required. Pay close attention to the reason behind those and act appropriately.
First, ask proper questions and check whether your personas are out of current market movements.
Here are the two key changes to consider when updating personas.
Redefine persona descriptions as you gain knowledge of user needs, and expectations change through iterative product development. This helps when working in an agile environment, and conducting extensive preliminary market research is impractical.
Aim to create comprehensive buyer personas that leave room for nothing. A detailed and precise persona helps direct marketing efforts from the get-go. As a B2B SaaS business, you should consider possible bottlenecks in creating detailed personas and define a specific budget.
In all, successfully creating a buyer’s persona can streamline marketing and sales efforts with a deeper understanding of your target demographic, their pain points, and how your software enables them to achieve their objectives.
Time to start building your SaaS product persona now!
As mentioned earlier, many factors go into creating a persona, but no single attribute can define it. Therefore, try getting as much first-hand user data as possible that proves useful to your marketing team.
Your potential customers may have plenty of questions before making a purchase decision. They look to navigate every possible option and may have questions regarding your customer service, guarantees, and prior successes. Try asking questions that help address key customer pain points and add value to your business.
Hoping on to the Zoom meeting might sound nerve-wracking initially, but there is no substitute for having a genuine conversation with prospects. Moreover, survey questionnaires need input from different teams (to create, distribute, and analyze).
Conducting surveys limits the questions and may display a predilection of survey designers based on their perceived knowledge. This can hinder identifying previously unknown information.
There is no textbook answer to this, as personas are updated based on external factors like changes in customer choices, competition, market sentiment around a product, user readiness, etc.
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