In a previous blog post, I showed why personas are the first place to start in B2B product marketing. They provide the foundation for all of your future efforts. It does raise the question of what the contents of a persona are.
What information does a persona contain?
A persona should contain information that encapsulates precisely who the buyer is. The more specific you can get, the better. With that said, you want it to represent all people in that role, not just one person you happen to know.
Generally, I like to include the following pieces of information:
What is the persona called? Does it have variants?
What are the typical responsibilities that the persona performs?
Are there particular things of note about their experience? For instance, the chief of sales probably started as a sales rep somewhere.
What is their ability to spend in the organization? Would they need to go to some committee to get approval to buy your solution?
How impactful are they in the organization? If they wanted a system, would they be able to dictate that or build consensus?
The cliche is what keeps them up at night, but what problems do they see daily? For instance, a chief security officer might be very concerned about phishing attacks.
What are the persona’s goals in the organization?
How are they judged on their performance?
Do they have any particular relationships that are of note that affect the buying process? In one industry persona, I completed for a client the CMO and CIO almost always had a tense relationship. Make sure to highlight or document such things.
What are the IT systems or processes for which they are responsible. You might want to indicate if the CMO owns the CRM system, or maybe the CFO owns the ERP system.
Are there organizations, publications, websites, blogs, etc., that this role heavily uses? You would want to indicate that a CMO of a consumer electronics company would likely attend CES. The more specific you can get, the better off you are here. This information might seem out of place, but it is useful for determining spending on external marketing like ad placement or industry conferences.
Relevant Value Proposition
You would want to include your company’s value proposition for this buyer. Why would they be interested in this product? We will talk about messaging in later blog entries that would help you write this.
If your company has multiple products or solutions, you would want to include which products are relevant.
I always like a catch-all bucket that contains factors that aren’t represented above, maybe the role has high turnover, for example.
Should I include psychographics or demographics?
I have seen psychographics and demographics in persona documents before, but I think this can be risky. Demographic information may be relevant in B2C marketing, but it can paint you into a corner with B2B, as that demographic information may not be particularly relevant in B2B. Would that change how you market? There are situations where it would, but it does raise the question of how dominant those demographics are within that role.
Psychographics is a bit more relevant to marketing. As you could use that, for example, they are an animal lover when you are marketing your solutions. But again, how common are those traits, and can you use it?
Up next, I will give you instructions on how to collect the data above.