How to Use Buyer Personas to Understand Your Customers in a Post-COVID World

Sales are the driving force of your business and the ability to sell depends on the value you provide to the customer. But who is your client? And what does value really mean?

Thinking about the customer through a unified prism can dilute the nuances that can make the difference between who is buying and who is not.

Now, more than ever, traditional assumptions about your customers may be out of date. After COVID, there are new realities that everyone should experience, and this is especially true for their customers. Your customers can be introduced to new pain points that need to be resolved. They may have new value drivers to consider. They can act according to new behaviors and preferences that need to be recognized.

Building a deeper understanding of your customers is the natural starting point for exploring the challenges of the pandemic. (And that’s exactly what I did at my company, Recommend, when trying to overcome these challenges.)

This richer understanding is best achieved by creating copper characters – avatars of your intended customers that help them conceptualize them as real people with individualized needs and desires.

Buyers are changing the way they work – from going backward to tailor their business offering to customer needs, from anticipating customer needs to develop personalized offers.

Understand the features you want to acquire

Your goal when developing buyer personas is to take a 360-degree screenshot of each of the target customer profiles. These illustrative avatars should look like “real” as possible. What is the professional background of each person? What motivates your purchasing decisions? Where is each person in the corporate hierarchy?

Use your characters to illustrate the main demographic, psychographic and behavioral traits as follows:

  • Convictions
  • Background
  • Frustrations
  • Goals
  • Hobbies
  • Interest
  • Personality
  • Predefined
  • Preferences
  • Work ethically

Create multiple people for different customer profiles

Since you probably don’t have just one type of buyer, it makes sense to divide your customers into different customer profiles. Without exaggerating, your characters need to be customized to capture unique characteristics that indicate the motivations for personal purchases in each segment.

Conduct customer interviews

The easiest way to develop a buyer workforce that reflects your real customers is to talk to them!

Ask about opportunities to interview people you consider to be the best customers. If there are no face-to-face interviews, consider collecting information through online surveys or questionnaires.

Involve your team

In addition to the customers themselves, few understand them better than their team members. They are dealing with customers in one way or another across all business functions, some with high frequency and multiple points of contact.

Involve team members, especially those in marketing, sales, and product roles, who can provide insight into the customer as you build the characters.

Undertake independent research

Macro changes due to COVID can also be discovered with new research and research. This is the good old market research:

  • Market research reports
  • Read consumer review sites
  • Analyze your web analytics data

Add your research and interviews

Once you’ve collected all of your previous submissions, you’ll have many expert opinions. This information needs to be consolidated and classified into a meaningful structure to make building your characters as easy as possible.

Build a solid model

There is no “right way” to build a copper persona model. The features integrated into the model should simply be necessary to achieve the overall goal of taking a real-life screenshot of the target customers.

Your personal models should emphasize the features that paint an illustrative image of your intended client. You should be able to describe the customer as if he were a real person that you know in real life.

With a solid model, you can create reference characters when making marketing and sales decisions that depend on different customer profiles.

Humanize the abstract

Incorporating human elements into your model allows you to translate the abstract search into a realistic avatar. Conceptualizing your customers with such humanized characteristics will be useful if you use your characters to make real sales and marketing decisions.

You do not necessarily need to represent all the customers relevant to your business; there will be a natural variation from customer to customer. If you work with people similar to real people, the decisions you make will be more authentic and reliable.

Be specific

Make sure your personalities reach the center of who your intended customer is. For example, if Michelle wants to buy affordable solutions, her challenge need not be just “value for money”. Add more details, such as “buying primary products that yield an adequate 5-10% return on your investment”.

Integrate characters into your business

Once developed, the characters must be shared by the entire team and included in all business functions. They should serve as a guide for all decisions involving your customers, especially sales and marketing.