How to Create a Customer Persona in 5 Steps (+ Free Template)
This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management.
A customer persona is a tool that helps define your company’s ideal buyer types and guides your lead generation and marketing activities. Developing customer personas involves identifying characteristics such as the profession, demographics, behaviors, and interests of preferred buyers. You can also give your business persona a fictional name as an easy way for your sales and marketing teams to better identify and target prospects who fit certain profiles.
What is a customer persona vs a customer profile?
Customer personas, also called buyer personas, are fictional representations of a company’s ideal target customers that can include demographic information. Customer profiles, on the other hand, include details about real individuals, groups, or companies that are most likely to buy from your company.
Free Customer Persona Template Download
We’ve created a free buyer persona template to help you better define your ideal customers so you can use this tool for more effective sales and marketing strategies. This template lays out the sections you need to create unique customer profiles. Download this customer persona template and use it as you follow the five easy steps below on how to create a customer persona for your business.
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💡 Quick Tip:
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems like HubSpot CRM allow you to store customer persona information and use tagging features to add traits to each prospect–making it easier to segment your customers into personas.
Use HubSpot CRM’s Make My Persona tool to generate FREE professional buyer personas for your business.
1. Define the Traits of Your Ideal Customer
Regardless of the wide variety of customer types your business has, think about what your “perfect” (or ideal) customer archetype looks like. Do this by evaluating who your product or service is designed for and researching the target markets of similar products or services. The traits of your ideal buyers should define things like demographics, behaviors, interests, pain points, objectives, and job roles.
An essential part of all effective sales management strategies is targeting your efforts around specific customer marketing personas. This allows you to address common objectives or tailor messaging, which helps to shorten the buying cycle and improve lead generation and sales. It also saves you time from chasing after leads that will never convert to paying customers.
For example, you want to sell your project management tool to project managers. Your team comes up with the name “Patty the Project Manager.” Based on their research, this type of customer is 35 to 50 years old, has a bachelor’s degree, is currently married with two kids, and earns around $80,000 per year. She’s described as a manager who juggles several projects and wants to increase productivity but has no time to see a product demo.
2. Gather Information About Current Customers
If you have a robust sample of existing customers, look for common demographics or job roles shared by most customers. As you gather and review current customer data, you may also find that customers are often generated from various lead sources, such as a trade show, online web forms, or outbound sales prospecting. Personas will reflect common traits and lead sources, since typical lead sources are also useful for future marketing.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are an excellent place to store and organize customer information. Some CRMs, such as Zoho CRM, not only allow you to store information about customers and leads, but use tagging features for traits, such as interest or behavior, as well as a lead source. This makes it easier to segment customers into personas based on that information—which we will cover in the next step.
3. Segment Your Customer Profiles
Once you understand the shared traits of your ideal buyers, the next step in how to write a customer persona is to identify existing customers matching those traits. To do this, assign customers to segments based on their attributes. You can use a spreadsheet, but many CRMs have prebuilt fields for contact management that make this step easier. It’s also worth noting that customers may fall into multiple customer segments if they fit more than one profile.
For example, you may find patterns showing customers aged 25 to 45 make up a large portion of your revenue, while of that group, women ranging in age from 30 to 35 comprise a majority. Therefore, you could have two customer profile segments, one being all people from 24 to 45 in age and another being women aged 30 to 35, with women aged 30 to 35 falling into both categories.
Another example of segmentation could be if you found one group of customers immediately purchased from your business after seeing a product demonstration. You can then see whether the fast-purchasing customers share similar attributes, such as background, role, or pain points, and create a segment based on that factor.
As seen in the image above, Copper CRM enables you to automate customer segmentation by tracking contact data using tags. This way, you can automatically segment groups of contacts based on the tags you select. This makes the segmentation process much easier—you can quickly segment contacts automatically instead of manually scraping through your contact lists.
4. Build Unique Buyer Persona Profiles
Once you have segments based on customer similarities, you are ready for the process of creating buyer personas representing your most common and ideal buyer types. Add the relevant attributes that make up the ideal customer. After the customer traits are added, give your business persona a name that’s simple and easy to remember. You’ll find some consumer persona examples below.
Create accurate buyer profiles using our free customer persona template download or other persona generator tools, such as those included in some CRMs. HubSpot, for example, has a free persona builder called Make My Persona. Simply add the customer information requested by the tool, and a buyer profile will be generated for you, complete with an avatar.
Few companies have only one ideal customer, so most businesses will have multiple consumer personas showing their most common buyer types. This further enables you to diversify your sales and marketing strategies by profile and to account for cyclical sales. For example, marketing to one persona may generate robust sales during the winter holiday season, but another may be more likely to buy during the summer months.
5. Set Sales & Marketing Strategies for Each Buyer Persona
Personas allow you to determine the best ways to generate leads and convert them into paying customers. Once you have detailed business personas, create and adjust your sales and marketing strategies and the tactics needed to get each particular persona into and through the sales process.
Here are some examples of how buyer personas can help you adjust sales and marketing tactics based on their profiles:
Business persona shows the buyer type who spends a lot of time checking emails. For this reason, marketing tactics should include sales introductions through email for cold calling and automated email marketing for lead nurturing.
Consumer persona indicates the typical buyer prioritizes protecting their family. This is why you should use content marketing and ads that have an emotional appeal about protecting and taking care of loved ones.
Buyer personas reveal which buyer is usually older and not a very tech-savvy business owner. So, a consultative sales approach should be used to first educate leads to find the best possible solutions.
Consumer personas outline the buyer profile as a young business owner who prefers the cheapest possible option for everything they purchase. Comparative marketing, through targeted advertising or direct sales outreach, should be used to show how your offering is more cost-effective than your competitors.
Consumer Persona Samples
Consumer personas are especially useful before lead generation as they inform the outreach and marketing approach of a business. These profiles enable you to strategically develop tactics for acquiring leads among people matching your most-wanted buyer types.
Here are things to consider when building your business persona profiles:
Below are three consumer persona samples, as well as corresponding lead generation and marketing tactics to use:
Take into account the elaborate details of each persona. The more detailed the information, the better you can narrow in on sales and marketing strategies that align with the unique needs and priorities of the business or customer.
Benefits & Importance of Using Business Personas
Customer personas can be instrumental in growing your business by increasing sales through strategy adjustments and execution. Using personas can also improve the overall customer experience by providing team members with a solid understanding of the objectives and pain points common to your buyer types.
Here are some benefits of using consumer personas:
Persona information allows you to identify and focus on the most effective marketing channels, methods, and specific content for each profile. Personas provide useful insights into the behavior of your target audience. This could include the channels they prefer for online conversations and topics they are interested in.
The information in buyer profiles allows your sales team to determine the best way to reach a lead and which sales methods to use. It also informs your business on which value propositions to emphasize, the objections they are likely to encounter, and the best approach for closing business. For example, your sales reps should highlight your low-priced products or services when dealing with cost-conscious customers.
Based on a business persona, you can enhance your products or services to alleviate pain points. You can reinforce intrinsic value, provide differentiation, and help the lead accomplish their objectives. In the example of Frugal Frank in the previous section, he wants to replace some of their vendors with more affordable solutions. To address this pain point, you could adjust your prices or offer a package with more value for the same price.
If a persona indicates a behavior or interest related to dealing with customer support, you can use that information to make adjustments to your customer service operations. This can include identifying their preferred mode of communication. For example, if your target audience prefers talking over the phone, your team can spend less time communicating with them via social media.
Pro tip: A CRM can be used to streamline customer service as well as sales operations. Our guide on how to use a CRM to improve customer service shows how to turn your customer service department into a high-performing team in six steps using a CRM system.
Creating buyer personas is an excellent way to identify the types of buyers you want to attract and the best strategies for acquiring them. Download our free consumer persona template and follow our five-step guide on how to create a customer persona for your business. Then adjust your marketing and sales strategies and improve your products, services, and customer support based on the objectives, pain points, interests, and behaviors defined in each customer profile.