I had an interesting conversation over lunch with the CEO of a SaaS company yesterday afternoon.
In between bites of my grilled chicken Santa Fe wrap, he asked me a very interesting question regarding buyer personas; “I have about 10 different buyers I could sell to. How many personas should I really have? Doesn’t it become kind of pointless after a certain number?”
It was certainly a great question, and one that as a marketer preaching about context and personalization, allowed me to completely nerd out.
First, I assured him that creating buyer personas wouldn’t cut off the source of people already interested in his services, but instead would allow his company align sales and marketing more effectively to attract and sell to the right prospects.
It’s not about the buyers you could sell to, but instead narrowing it down to the ones you want to sell to.
He slowly placed his sandwich down, looked me in the eye, and simply nodded.
“You know what…you’re right.”
His reaction inspired this brief article, as well as our brand new buyer persona kit in order to assist more people who had similar questions.
Think Perfect World
Sure. You may have a varying degree of buyers and prospects.
However, buyer personas aren’t about all the customers you could have. It’s about the ones you want.
Boil down your customer base to around the top 20% in regards to ones who see the greatest success as well as the ones you love working with.
In a perfect world, wouldn’t you love this 20% to make up your entire contact database?
Of course you would.
This is precisely the function buyer personas aim to serve. Which prospects would you ideally love to work with?
This doesn’t mean you’re cutting off potential prospects who may not meet this criteria. It simply serves both the company – you – and the prospects well, ensuring that you’re executing a strategy that resonates with them.
In a perfect world, who are the 2-3 types of buyers you would prefer to work with?
Okay, so let’s say you realistically, unequivocally have 10 different personas you’d love to sell to.
How are you supposed to boil this down?
So in this case, rather than segmenting your personas based on industry or demographics, think behavioral.
Which tend to work best as customers in your experience?
Consider the behavior of your website visitors. What interests do they have? Which offers or web pages are they looking at?
More importantly, which have become eventual customers?
It’s Not You…..It’s Me
Just to reiterate, buyer personas aren’t about the prospects you could sell to.
This is about you. This is about the customers that, from your experience, have seen great success.
The ones you’d like to work more with.