Let’s do a workshop on that!
While I am a big fan of workshops (and no, it’s not only for the prospect of tea and cake that usually comes with it), the general attitude towards holding workshops seem to be less enthusiastic. Spending a good couple of hours on a project (whilst abandoning these piles of very-urgent to-do tasks) is often seen as a hindrance of productivity – and a loss of time and money.
For many topics, workshops are great ways to generate ideas superior to those produced in silos and invite businesses to take advantage of synergies and the compiled amount of wisdom of the whole department.
Especially for projects that require a pinch of creativity or originality, joint effort will pay off. When developing your marketing strategy, finding and defining your buyer personas, i.e. your optimal customers, is a vital step as you will shape your whole campaign around their interests, language and challenges – this is a task you will want to make sure to get right!
A well-defined buyer persona profile will save you tons of money and effort in the long run. They are, if we wanted to become poetic, the pasta to your Bolognese, the milk in your tea (provided you’re not lactose intolerant) and the gin to your tonic. Short: they are essential.
Buyer Personas Are Productivity Hacks
Why am I so overly excited by buyer personas?
If you’re not already convinced by it, this should open your eyes to why your campaign will only be successful if you really know the audience you’re talking to:
Let’s remind ourselves of the definition of buyer personas: fact-based, generalised representations of your ideal customer. They are built using real data from your existing customer base, and include demographic information (age, gender, area, social background, income, etc.) as well as more ‘psychological’ insights, such as the persona’s goals and their patterns of behaviour (including their decision-making traits and attitudes towards change and risk).
— Storm ID (@stormid) September 5, 2016
The more accurate the persona, the better. This is because the value of BPs revolves around the twin issues of efficiency and productivity. The point of constructing an ideal customer is to derive best practices for your company’s marketing and sales teams – to ensure they focus their time on fostering the right kind of leads in just the right manner.
Buyer personas save time and money by eliminating the costs involved in servicing poor, non-starter leads. They provide a means to qualify leads through market profiling and targeted sales practices, and—because they help to bring in higher-value customers—they also provide a better return on the time and resources spent nurturing and growing these leads.
In short, buyer personas are productivity hacks.
How can you run a workshop on buyer personas, then? Here are the basic steps you will want to follow:
Involve a cross-section of staff
Remember that this is a ‘big picture’ measure, aimed at increasing productivity and efficiency across a range of departments and services. Therefore, you need to have stakeholders from these different teams—marketing, sales, customer support, product or software development—present at the workshop, and for two good reasons. First, the outcome of the meeting can affect how they do their jobs – and so it’s always better to have people on the same page from the very beginning.
Second, every one of these stakeholders should be able to contribute to the discussion: these people either interact with customers or manage customer interactions on behalf of your business. Their insights into your customer base will be invaluable.
What are the goals?
Make sure you have clearly defined goals for the workshop. While it’s important to allow free conversation—especially between departments who might have different, though complementary, things to say about your ‘ideal customers’—remind participants that these discussions should be specific and goal-orientated. At a minimum, resolve to extract these three key pieces of actionable data from the buyer persona workshop:
- Clear definitions of typical buyers, with demographic information and insights about their decision-making and buying patterns.
- A clear sense of the ‘journey’ (the entire buying process) that these customers take, including key conversion points.
- Ideas about how to integrate these two data sets, brainstorming marketing ideas that work from the basis of sales and other basic customer information.
The easiest way for you to stay on track and gather all the important information for your buyer persona profiles is to download our free templates and work through each point in the workshop:
Get results on paper for analysis
Ensure that you have a way of capturing the insights gleaned from these discussions. This can be through the templates we’ve provided, or through developing your own in-house documentation strategy.
Use this feedback to create a buyer persona matrix, where you look at the personas identified as bringing high levels of business to your company. Convert that data into actionable tasks that can be given to the individual departments within your company, as a new form of best practice for the particular inbound marketing campaign.
Test your findings
Whenever you adopt new strategies or undertake new courses of action, follow-up with your existing customer base and test their efficacy. By conducting in-depth customer interviews in the months after incorporating buyer personas into your business practices, you can get a sense of whether your specific approach has strengthened or weakened your relationship with your customer base.
Did It Work?
Buyer personas are core inbound marketing concept. If your workshop hasn’t yielded visible results, then something must have gone awry along the way.
Buyer personas are a key part of what we do at Storm ID. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch, or download our inbound marketing checklist to make sure you don’t forget any important steps when creating your marketing strategy: