If you’ve stumbled on this article, you’re probably reassessing the way you approach sales/marketing efforts and feeling a little unsteady. Perhaps one of your biggest sticking points is, “How do I reach the right people in a digital space with an intangible product?”
A better question (or two): “What is a buyer persona, and how will it help me reach those people?”
A buyer persona is a semi-fictitious profile of your ideal customer. It consists of market analysis, current customer data, and hypothetical situations. A buyer persona touches on key information that could affect your marketing message, such as:
- Consumer behaviors
- Consumer goals/objectives
Although relatively similar, buyer personas and target markets are not the same -- buyer personas are much more specific. Furthermore, SaaS buyer personas are different from regular buyer personas. And SaaS buyer journeys and marketing strategies greatly differ from traditional marketing strategies.
Here’s what you need to know about selling software as a service in the modern age.
Why Buyer Personas Matter to the SaaS Industry
Buyer personas help establish what a business’s ideal customer may look like (i.e. its target audience). If you can understand the motivations and day-to-day life of the person buying your product/service, you can update your marketing and selling strategies accordingly. The SaaS market has very specific buyer tendencies, so creating customer personas can help improve your inbound marketing strategy tremendously.
Because of the narrowness attached to the SaaS market, and the virtual nature of its products, it can be difficult to assess and address your target market. Creating an accurate and informative buyer persona can give clarity to your SaaS marketing strategy.
But how do you do that?
Creating a SaaS Buyer Persona: Where to Start
When creating a buyer persona for the SaaS industry, current customers are your biggest asset. To develop a persona, you must identify recurring themes in your current buyers, as well as questions to ask to better understand potential buyers. Some examples of these recurring themes and questions are:
|What is their role within the company?||When they were researching options, what was the highest priority?|
|Who do they report to, and who reports to them?||When researching online, what keywords or phrases did they Google?|
|Are those people also part of the final purchasing decision, and should you be targeting them too (perhaps with a separate, additional persona)?||What other information would have been helpful during the buying process?|
|What industry are they in?||How did they hear about your company|
|Job challenges||What is their income range?|
|Questions posed to your sales team||What is their educational background?|
|How they define their problem (i.e. how do they search for their needs in Google)||What are their pain points?|
Often, your current inbound marketing strategy is built to accommodate the needs of a certain industry or job role. If this is the case for your strategy, any potential customers outside of that sphere wouldn’t be worth your marketing efforts. However, some SaaS products can be adopted across a variety of industries; this is common with ERP and CRM software. If this is the case for your business, consider whether those industries’ buyers are unique enough to require a separate persona.
Pain points are the job-related struggles and annoyances your buyer persona faces and is actively seeking a solution for. Identifying potential pain points will help determine what triggers a need for products and services. This will help you to adjust your SaaS marketing strategy to reach buyers at the right time and place.
In addition to determining your buyer’s problems, you must determine HOW your buyer purchases products and services. To gather this information, qualitative research (surveys and questionnaires), current-customer interviews, and data analysis will be very useful. Your sales team will know how the customer prefers to make first contact, how thoroughly they’ve informed themselves before making that first contact, and how they prefer you communicate with them in general.
Putting Your SaaS Buyer Personas to Use
Now that you know why SaaS buyer personas matter and how to get started creating one of your own, put these tips to use! Your improved and redeveloped SaaS marketing strategy will help your business attract leads, rather than chasing them down with aggressive and annoying tactics.
Learn more about developing the ultimate buyer persona by downloading our free e-book: