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Create a Buyer Persona and Journey

Make it easier to market, sell, and achieve product-market fit with deeper buyer understanding.

  • Contacts fail to convert to leads because messaging fails to resonate with buyers.
  • Products fail to reach targets given shallow understanding of buyer needs.
  • Sellers' emails go unopened and attempts at discovery fail due to no understanding of buyer challenges, pain points, and needs.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Marketing leaders in possession of well-researched and up-to-date buyer personas and journeys dramatically improve product market fit, lead gen, and sales results.
  • Success starts with product, marketing, and sales alignment on targeted personas.
  • Speed to deploy is enabled via initial buyer persona attribute discovery internally.
  • However, ultimate success requires buyer interviews, especially for the buyer journey.
  • Leading marketers update journey maps every six months as disruptive events such as COVID-19 and new media and tech platform advancements require continual innovation.

Impact and Result

  • Reduce time and treasure wasted chasing the wrong prospects.
  • Improve product-market fit.
  • Increase open and click-through rates in your lead gen engine.
  • Perform more effective sales discovery and increase eventual win rates.

Create a Buyer Persona and Journey Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Our Executive Brief summarizes the challenges faced when buyer persona and journeys are ill-defined. It describes the attributes of, and the benefits that accrue from, a well-defined persona and journey and the key steps to take to achieve success.

1. Drive an aligned initial draft of buyer persona

Define and align your team on target persona, outline steps to capture and document a robust buyer persona and journey, and capture current team buyer knowledge.

2. Interview buyers and validate persona and journey

Hold initial buyer interviews, test initial results, and continue with interviews.

3. Prepare communications and educate stakeholders

Consolidate interview findings, present to product, marketing, and sales teams. Work with them to apply to product design, marketing launch/campaigning, and sales and customer success enablement.


Workshop: Create a Buyer Persona and Journey

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Align Team, Identify Persona, and Document Current Knowledge

The Purpose

  • Organize, drive alignment on target persona, and capture initial views.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Steering committee and project team roles and responsibilities clarified.
  • Product, marketing, and sales aligned on target persona.
  • Build initial team understanding of persona.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Outline a vision for buyer persona and journey creation and identify stakeholders.

  • Documented steering committee and working team
1.2

Identify buyer persona choices and settle on an initial target.

  • Executive Brief on personas and journey
  • Personas and initial targets
1.3

Document team knowledge about buyer persona (and journey where possible).

  • Documented team knowledge

Module 2: Validate Initial Work and Identify Buyer Interviewees

The Purpose

  • Build list of buyer interviewees, finalize interview guide, and validate current findings with analyst input.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Interview efficiently using 75-question interview guide.
  • Gain analyst help in persona validation, reducing workload.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Share initial insights with covering industry analyst.

  • Analyst-validated initial findings
2.2

Hear from industry analyst their perspectives on the buyer persona attributes.

2.3

Reconcile differences; update “current understanding.”

2.4

Identify interviewee types by segment, region, etc.

  • Target interviewee types

Module 3: Schedule and Hold Buyer Interviews

The Purpose

  • Validate current persona hypothesis and flush out those attributes only derived from interviews.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Get to a critical mass of persona and journey understanding quickly.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Identify actual list of 15-20 interviewees.

  • List of interviewees; calls scheduled
3.2

Hold interviews and use interview guides over the course of weeks.

3.3

Hold review session after initial 3-4 interviews to make adjustments.

  • Initial review – “are you going in the right direction?”
3.4

Complete interviews.

  • Completed interviews

Module 4: Summarize Findings and Provide Actionable Guidance to Colleagues

The Purpose

  • Summarize persona and journey attributes and provide activation guidance to team.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understanding of product market fit requirements, messaging, and marketing, and sales asset content.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Summarize findings.

  • Complete findings
4.2

Create action items for supporting team, e.g. messaging, touch points, media spend, assets.

  • Action items for team members
4.3

Convene steering committee/executives and working team for final review.

  • Plan for activation
4.4

Schedule meetings with colleagues to action results.

Module 5: Measure Impact and Results

The Purpose

  • Measure results, adjust, and improve.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Activation of outcomes; measured results.

Activities

Outputs

5.1

Review final copy, assets, launch/campaign plans, etc.

  • Activation review
5.2

Develop/review implementation plan.

5.3

Reconvene team to review results.

  • List of suggested next steps

Create a Buyer Persona and Journey

Make it easier to market, sell, and achieve product-market fit with deeper buyer understanding.

EXECUTIVE BRIEF

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

B2B marketers without documented personas and journeys often experience the following:

  • Contacts fail to convert to leads because messaging fails to resonate with buyers.
  • Products fail to reach targets given shallow understanding of buyer needs.
  • Sellers’ emails go unopened, and attempts at discovery fail due to no understanding of buyer challenges, pain points, and needs.

Without a deeper understanding of buyer needs and how they buy, B2B marketers will waste time and precious resources targeting the incorrect personas.

Common Obstacles

Despite being critical elements, organizations struggle to build personas due to:

  • A lack of alignment and collaboration among marketing, product, and sales.
  • An internal focus; or a lack of true customer centricity.
  • A lack of tools and techniques for building personas and buyer journeys.

In today’s Agile development environment, combined with the pressure to generate revenues quickly, high tech marketers often skip the steps necessary to go deeper to build buyer understanding.

SoftwareReviews’ Approach

With a common framework and target output, clients will:

  • Align marketing, sales, and product, and collaborate together to share current knowledge on buyer personas and journeys.
  • Target 12-15 customers and prospects to interview and validate insights. Share that with customer-facing staff.
  • Activate the insights for more customer-centric lead generation, product development, and selling.

Clients who activate findings from buyer personas and journeys will see a 50% results improvement.

SoftwareReviews Insight:
Buyer personas and buyer journeys are essential ingredients in go-to-market success, as they inform for product, marketing, sales, and customer success who we are targeting and how to engage with them successfully.

Buyer personas and journeys: A go-to-market critical success factor

Marketers – large and small – will fail to optimize product-market fit, lead generation, and sales effectiveness without well-defined buyer personas and a buyer journey.

Critical Success Factors of a Successful G2M Strategy:

  • Opportunity size and business case
  • Buyer personas and journey
  • Competitively differentiated product hypothesis
  • Buyer-validated commercial concept
  • Sales revenue plan and program cost budget
  • Consolidated communications to steering committee

Jeff Golterman, Managing Director, SoftwareReviews Advisory

“44% of B2B marketers have already discovered the power of Personas.”
– Hasse Jansen, Boardview.io!, 2016

Documenting buyer personas enables success beyond marketing

Documenting buyer personas has several essential benefits to marketing, sales, and product teams:

  • Achieve a better understanding of your target buyer – by building a detailed buyer persona for each type of buyer and keeping it fresh, you take a giant step toward becoming a customer-centric organization.
  • Team alignment on a common definition – will happen when you build buyer personas collaboratively and among those teams that touch the customer.
  • Improved lead generation – increases dramatically when messaging and marketing assets across your lead generation engine better resonate with buyers because you have taken the time to understand them deeply.
  • More effective selling – is possible when sellers apply persona development output to their interactions with prospects and customers.
  • Better product-market fit – increases when product teams more deeply understand for whom they are designing products. Documenting buyer challenges, pain points, and unmet needs gives product teams what they need to optimize product adoption.

“It’s easier buying gifts for your best friend or partner than it is for a stranger, right? You know their likes and dislikes, you know the kind of gifts they’ll have use for, or the kinds of gifts they’ll get a kick out of. Customer personas work the same way, by knowing what your customer wants and needs, you can present them with content targeted specifically to their wants and needs.”
– Emma Bilardi, Product Marketing Alliance, 2020

Buyer understanding activates just about everything

Without the deep buyer insights that persona and journey capture enables, marketers are suboptimized.

Buyer Persona and Journey

  • Product design
  • Customer targeting
  • Personalization
  • Messaging
  • Content marketing
  • Lead gen & scoring
  • Sales Effectiveness
  • Customer retention

“Marketing eutopia is striking the all-critical sweet spot that adds real value and makes customers feel recognized and appreciated, while not going so far as to appear ‘big brother’. To do this, you need a deep understanding of your audience coming from a range of different data sets and the capability to extract meaning.”
– Plexure, 2020

Does your organization need buyer persona and journey updating?

“Yes,” if experiencing one or more key challenges:

  • Sales time is wasted on unqualified leads
  • Website abandon rates are high
  • Lead gen engine click-through rates are low
  • Ideal customer profile is ill defined
  • Marketing asset downloads are low
  • Seller discovery with prospects is ineffective
  • Sales win/loss rates drop due to poor product-market fit
  • Higher than desired customer churn

SoftwareReviews Advisory Insight:
Marketers developing buyer personas and journeys that lack agreement among Marketing, Sales, and Product of personas to target will squander precious time and resources throughout the customer targeting and acquisition process.

Outcomes and benefits

Building your buyer persona and journey using our methodology will enable:

  • Greater stakeholder alignment – when marketing, product, and sales agree on personas, less time is wasted on targeting alternate personas.
  • Improved product-market fit – when buyers see both pain-relieving features and value-based pricing, “because you asked vs. guessed,” win rates increase.
  • Greater open and click-through rates – because you understood buyer pain points and motivations for solution seeking, you’ll see higher visits and engagement with your lead gen engine, and because you asked “what asset types do you find most helpful” your CTAs become ”lead-gen magnets” because you’ve offered the right asset types in your content marketing strategy.
  • More qualified leads – because you defined a more accurate ideal customer profile (ICP) and your lead scoring algorithm has improved, sellers see more qualified leads.
  • Increased sales cycle velocity – since you learned from personas their content and engagement preferences and what collateral types they need during the down-funnel sales discussions, sales calls are more productive and sales cycles shrink.

Our methodology for buyer persona and journey creation

1. Document Team Knowledge of Buyer Persona and Drive Alignment 2. Interview Target Buyer Prospects and Customers 3. Create Outputs and Apply to Marketing, Sales, and Product
Phase Steps
  1. Outline a vision for buyer persona and journey creation and identify stakeholders.
  2. Pull stakeholders together, identify initial buyer persona, and begin to document team knowledge about buyer persona (and journey where possible).
  3. Validate with industry and marketing analyst’s initial buyer persona, and identify list of buyer interviewees.
  1. Hold interviews and document and share findings.
  2. Validate initial drafts of buyer persona and create initial documented buyer journey. Review findings among key stakeholders, steering committee, and supporting analysts.
  3. Complete remaining interviews.
  1. Summarize findings.
  2. Convene steering committee/exec. and working team for final review.
  3. Communicate to key stakeholders in product, marketing, sales, and customer success for activation.
Phase Outcomes
  1. Steering committee and team selection
  2. Team insights about buyer persona documented
  3. Buyer persona validation with industry and marketing analysts
  4. Sales, marketing, and product alignment
  1. Interview guide
  2. Target interviewee list
  3. Buyer-validated buyer persona
  4. Buyer journey documented with asset types, channels, and “how buyers buy” fully documented
  1. Education deck on buyer persona and journey ready for use with all stakeholders: product, field marketing, sales, executives, customer success, partners
  2. Activation will update product-market fit, optimize lead gen, and improve sales effectiveness

Our approach provides interview guides and templates to help rebuild buyer persona

Our methodology will enable you to align your team on why it’s important to capture the most important attributes of buyer persona including:

  • Functional – helps you find and locate your target personas
  • Emotive – deepens team understanding of buyer initiatives, motivations for seeking alternatives, challenges they face, pain points for your offerings to address, and terminology that describes the “space”
  • Solution – enables greater product market fit
  • Behavioral – clarifies how to communicate with personas and understand their content preferences
Functional – “to find them”
Job Role Title Org. Chart Dynamics Buying Center Firmographics
Emotive – “what they do and jobs to be done”
Initiatives: What programs/projects the persona is tasked with and their feelings and aspirations about these initiatives. Motivations? Build credibility? Get promoted? Challenges: Identify the business issues, problems, and pain points that impede attainment of objectives. What are their fears, uncertainties, and doubts about these challenges? Buyer Need: They may have multiple needs; which need is most likely met with the offering? Terminology: What are the keywords/phrases they organically use to discuss the buyer need or business issue?
Decision Criteria – “how they decide”
Buyer Role: List decision-making criteria and power level. The five common buyer roles are champion, influencer, decision maker, user, and ratifier (purchaser/negotiator). Evaluation and Decision Criteria: Which lens – strategic, financial, or operational – does the persona evaluate the impact of purchase through?
Solution Attributes – “what does the ideal solution look like”
Steps in “Jobs to Be Done” Elements of the “Ideal Solution” Business outcomes from ideal solution Opportunity scope; other potential users Acceptable price for value delivered Alternatives that see consideration Solution sourcing: channel, where to buy
Behavioral Attributes – “how to approach them successfully”
Content Preferences: List the persona’s content preferences – blog, infographic, demo, video – vs. long-form assets (e.g. white paper, presentation, analyst report). Interaction Preferences: Which are preferred among in-person meetings, phone calls, emails, videoconferencing, conducting research via Web, mobile, and social? Watering Holes: Which physical or virtual places do they go to network or exchange info with peers (e.g. LinkedIn)?

Buyer journeys are constantly shifting

If you didn’t remap buyer journeys in 2021, you may be losing to competitors that did. Leaders remap buyer journey frequently.

  • The multi-channel buyer journey is constantly changing. Today’s B2B buyer uses industry research sites, vendor content marketing assets, software reviews sites, contacts with vendor salespeople, events participation, peer networking, consultants, emails, social media sites, and electronic media to research purchasing decisions.
  • COVID-19 has dramatically decreased face-to-face interaction. We estimate a B2B buyer spent 20-25% more time online in 2021 than pre-COVID-19 researching software buying decisions. This has diminished the importance of face-to-face selling and given dramatic rise to digital selling and outbound marketing.
  • Content marketing has exploded, but without mapping the buyer journey and knowing where – by channel –and when – by buyer journey step – to offer content marketing assets, we will fail to convert prospects into buyers.

“~2/3 of [B2B] buyers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service.” And during Aug. ‘20 to Feb. ‘21, use of digital self-service to interact with sales reps leapt by more than 10% for both researching and evaluating new suppliers.”
– Liz Harrison, Dennis Spillecke, Jennifer Stanley, and Jenny Tsai McKinsey & Company, 2021

SoftwareReviews Advisory Insight:
Marketers are advised to update their buyer journey annually and with greater frequency when the human vs. digital mix is affected due to events such as COVID-19 and as emerging media such as AR shifts asset-type usage and engagement options.

Our approach helps you define the buyer journey

Because marketing leaders need to reach buyers through the right channel with the right message at the right time during their decision cycle, you’ll benefit by using questionnaires that enable you to build the below easily and quickly.

You’ll be more successful by following our overall guidance

Overarching insight

Buyer personas and buyer journeys are essential ingredients in go-to-market success, as they inform for product, marketing, sales, and customer success who we are targeting and how to engage with them successfully.

Align Your Team

Marketers developing buyer personas and journeys that lack agreement among Marketing, Sales, and Product of personas to target will squander precious time and resources throughout the customer targeting and acquisition process.

Jump-Start Persona Development

Marketing leaders leverage the buyer persona knowledge not only from in-house experts in areas such as sales and executives but from analysts that speak with their buyers each and every day.

Buyer Interviews Are a Must

While leaders will get a fast start by interviewing sellers, executives, and analysts, you will fail to craft the right messages, build the right marketing assets, and design the best buyer journey if you skip buyer interviews.

Watch for Disruption

Leaders will update their buyer journey annually and with greater frequency when the human vs. digital mix is effected due to events such as COVID-19 and as emerging media such as AR and VR shifts the way buyers engage.

Advanced Buyer Journey Discovery

Digital marketers that ramp up lead gen engine capabilities to capture “wins” and measure engagement back through the lead gen and nurturing engines will build a more data-driven view of the buyer journey. Target to build this advanced capability in your initial design.

Tools and templates to speed your success

This blueprint is accompanied by supporting deliverables to help you gather team insights, interview customers and prospects, and summarize results for ease in communications.

To support your buyer persona and journey creation, we’ve created the enclosed tools

Buyer Persona Creation Template

A PowerPoint template to aid the capture and summarizing of your team’s insights on the buyer persona.

Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool

For interviewing customers and prospects, this tool is designed to help you interview personas and summarize results for up to 15 interviewees.

Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template

A PowerPoint template into which you can drop your buyer persona and journey interviewees list and summary findings.

SoftwareReviews offers two levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful."

The "do-it-yourself" step-by-step instructions begin with Phase 1.

Guided Implementation

"Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track."

A Guided Implementation is a series of analysts inquiries with you and your team.

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks are used throughout each option.

Guided Implementation

A Guided Implementation (GI) is series of calls with a SoftwareReviews Advisory analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

For guidance on marketing applications, we can arrange a discussion with an Info-Tech analyst.

Your engagement managers will work with you to schedule analyst calls.

What does our GI on buyer persona and journey mapping look like?

Drive an Aligned Initial Draft of Buyer Persona

  • Call #1: Collaborate on vision for buyer persona and the buyer journey. Review templates and sample outputs. Identify your team.
  • Call #2: Review work in progress on capturing working team knowledge of buyer persona elements.
  • Call #3: (Optional) Review Info-Tech’s research-sourced persona insights.
  • Call #4: Validate the persona WIP with Info-Tech analysts. Review buyer interview approach and target list.

Interview Buyers and Validate Persona and Journey

  • Call #5: Revise/review interview guide and final interviewee list; schedule interviews.
  • Call #6: Review interim interview finds; adjust interview guide.
  • Call #7: Use interview findings to validate/update persona and build journey map.
  • Call #8: Add supporting analysts to final stakeholder review.

Prepare Communications and Educate Stakeholders

  • Call #9: Review output templates completed with final persona and journey findings.
  • Call #10: Add supporting analysts to stakeholder education meetings for support and help with addressing questions/issues.

Workshop overview

Contact your account representative for more information. workshops@infotech.com 1-888-670-8889

Day1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Align Team, Identify Persona, and Document Current Knowledge Validate Initial Work and Identify Buyer Interviewees Schedule and Hold Buyer interviews Summarize Findings and Provide Actionable Guidance to Colleagues Measure Impact and Results
Activities

1.1 Outline a vision for buyer persona and journey creation and identify stakeholders.

1.2 Identify buyer persona choices and settle on an initial target.

1.3 Document team knowledge about buyer persona (and journey where possible).

2.1 Share initial insights with covering industry analyst.

2.2 Hear from industry analyst their perspectives on the buyer persona attributes.

2.3 Reconcile differences; update “current understanding.”

2.4 Identify interviewee types by segment, region, etc.

3.1 Identify actual list of 15-20 interviewees.

A gap of up to a week for scheduling of interviews.

3.2 Hold interviews and use interview guides (over the course of weeks).

3.3 Hold review session after initial 3-4 interviews to make adjustments.

3.4 Complete interviews.

4.1 Summarize findings.

4.2 Create action items for supporting team, e.g. messaging, touch points, media spend, assets.

4.3 Convene steering committee/exec. and working team for final review.

4.4 Schedule meetings with colleagues to action results.

5.1 Review final copy, assets, launch/campaign plans, etc.

5.2 Develop/review implementation plan.

A period of weeks will likely intervene to execute and gather results.

5.3 Reconvene team to review results.

Deliverables
  1. Documented steering committee and working team
  2. Executive Brief on personas and journey
  3. Personas and initial targets
  4. Documented team knowledge
  1. Analyst-validated initial findings
  2. Target interviewee types
  1. List of interviewees; calls scheduled
  2. Initial review – “are we going in the right direction?”
  3. Completed interviews
  1. Complete findings
  2. Action items for team members
  3. Plan for activation
  1. Activation review
  2. List of suggested next steps

Phase 1
Drive an Aligned Initial Draft of Buyer Persona

This Phase walks you through the following activities:

  • Develop an understanding of what comprises a buyer persona and journey, including their importance to overall go-to-market strategy and execution.
  • Sample outputs.

This Phase involves the following stakeholders:

  • Program leadership
  • Product Marketing
  • Product Management
  • Representative(s) from Sales
  • Executive Leadership

1.1 Establish the team and align on shared vision

Input

  • Typically a joint recognition that buyer personas have not been fully documented.
  • Identify working team members/participants (see below), and an executive sponsor.

Output

  • Communication of team members involved and the make-up of steering committee and working team
  • Alignment of team members on a shared vision of “Why Build Buyer Personas and Journey” and what key attributes define both.

Materials

  • N/A

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • CMO/Sponsoring Executive Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales
  • SoftwareReviews marketing analyst

60 minutes

  1. Schedule inquiry with working team members and walk the team through the Buyer Persona and Journey Executive Brief PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Optional: Have the (SoftwareReviews Advisory) SRA analyst walk the team through the Buyer Persona and Journey Executive Brief PowerPoint presentation as part of your session.

Review the Create a Buyer Persona Executive Brief (Slides 3-14)

1.2 Document team knowledge of buyer persona

Input

  • Working team member knowledge

Output

  • Initial draft of your buyer persona

Materials

  • Buyer Persona Creation Template

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • CMO/Sponsoring Executive (optional)
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales

2-3 sessions of 60 minutes each

  1. Schedule meeting with working team members and, using the Buyer Persona Template, lead the team in a discussion that documents current team knowledge of the target buyer persona.
  2. Lead the team to prioritize an initial, single, most important persona and to collaborate to complete the template (and later, the buyer journey). Once the team learns the process for working on the initial persona, the development of additional personas will become more efficient.
  3. Place the PowerPoint template in a shared drive for team collaboration. Expect to schedule several 60-minute meets. Quicken collaboration by encouraging team to “do their homework” by sharing persona knowledge within the shared drive version of the template. Your goal is to get to an initial agreed upon version that can be shared for additional validation with industry analyst(s) in the next step.

Download the Buyer Persona Creation Template

1.3 Validate with industry analysts

Input

  • Identify gaps in persona from previous steps

Output

  • Further validated buyer persona

Materials

  • Bring your Buyer Persona Creation Template to the meeting to share with analysts

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • CMO/Sponsoring Executive (Optional)
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales
  • Info-Tech analyst covering your product category and SoftwareReviews marketing analyst

30 minutes

  1. Schedule meeting with working team members and discuss which persona areas require further validation from an Info-Tech analyst who has worked closely with those buyers within your persona.

60 minutes

  1. Schedule an inquiry with the appropriate Info-Tech analyst and SoftwareReviews Advisory analyst to share current findings and see:
    1. Info-Tech analyst provide content feedback given what they know about your target persona and product category.
    2. SoftwareReviews Advisory analyst provide feedback on persona approach and to coach any gaps or important omissions.
  2. Tabulate results and update your persona summary. At this point you will likely require additional validation through interviews with customers and prospects.

1.4 Identify interviewees and prepare for interviews

Input

  • Identify segments within which you require persona knowledge
  • Understand your persona insight gaps

Output

  • List of interviewees

Materials

  • Interviewee recording template on following slide
  • Interview guide questions found within the Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and data Capture Tool

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales

1-2 weeks

  1. Identify the types of customers and prospects that will best represent your target persona. Choose interviewees that when interviewed will inform key differences among key segments (geographies, company size, mix of customers and prospects, etc.).
  2. Recruit interviewees and schedule interviews for 45 minutes.
  3. Keep track of Interviewees using the slide following this one.
  4. In preparation for interviews, review the Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool. Review the two sets of questions:
    1. Buyer Persona-Related – use to validate areas where you still have gaps in your persona, OR if you are starting with a blank persona and wish to build your personas entirely based on customer and prospect interviews.
    2. Buyer-Journey Related, which we will focus on in the next phase.

Download the Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool

The image shows a table titled ‘Interviewee List.’ A note next to the title indicates: Here you will document your interviewee list and outreach plan. A note in the Segment column indicates: Ensure you are interviewing personas across segments that will give you the insights you need, e.g. by size, by region, mix of customers and prospects. A note in the Title column reads: Vary your title types up or down in the “buying center” if you are seeking to strengthen buying center dynamics understanding. A note in the Roles column reads: Vary your role types according to decision-making roles (decision maker, influencer, ratifier, coach, user) if you are seeking to strengthen decision-making dynamics understanding.

Phase 2
Interview Buyers and Validate Persona and Journey

This Phase walks you through the following activities:

  • Developing final interview guide.
  • Interviewing buyers and customers.
  • Adjusting approach.
  • Validating buyer persona.
  • Crafting buyer journey
  • Gaining analyst feedback.

This Phase involves the following stakeholders:

  • Program leadership
  • Product Marketing
  • Representative(s) from Sales

2.1 Hold interviews

Input

  • List of interviewees
  • Final list of questions

Output

  • Buyer perspectives on their personas and buyer journeys

Materials

  • Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and data Capture Tool

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales

1-2 weeks

  1. Hold interviews and adjust your interviewing approach as you go along. Uncover where you are not getting the right answers, check with working team and analysts, and adjust.

Download the Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool

2.2 Use interview findings to validate what’s needed for activation

Input

  • List of interviewees
  • Final list of questions

Output

  • Buyer perspectives on their personas and buyer journeys
  • Stakeholder feedback that actionable insights are resulting from interviews

Materials

  • Buyer Persona Creation Template
  • Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales
  • SoftwareReviews marketing analyst

2 hours

  1. Convene your team, with marketing analysts, and test early findings: It’s wise to test initial interview results to check that you are getting the right insights to understand and validate key challenges, pain points, needs, and other vital areas pertaining to the buyer persona. Are the answers you are getting enabling you to complete the Summary slides for later communications and training for Sales?
  2. Check when doing buyer journey interviews that you are getting actionable answers that drive messaging, what asset types are needed, what the marketing channel mix is, and other vital insights to activate the results. Are the answers you are getting adequate to give guidance to campaigners, content marketers, and sales enablement?
  3. See the following slides for detailed questions that need to be answered satisfactorily by your team members that need to “activate” the results.

Download the Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool

2.2.1 Are you getting what you need from interviews to inform the buyer persona?

Test that you are on the right track:

  1. Are you getting the functional answers so you can guide sellers to the right roles? Can you guide marketers/campaigners to the right “Ideal Customer Profile” for lead scoring?
  2. Are you capturing the right emotive areas that will support message crafting? Solutioning? SEM/SEO?
  3. Are you capturing insights into “how they decide” so sellers are well informed on the decision-making dynamics?
  4. Are you getting a strong understanding of content, interaction preferences, and news and information sources so sellers can outreach more effectively, you can pinpoint media spend, and content marketing can create the right assets?
Functional – “to find them”
Job Role Title Org. Chart Dynamics Buying Center Firmographics
Emotive – “what they do and jobs to be done”
Initiatives: What programs/projects the persona is tasked with and their feelings and aspirations about these initiatives. Motivations? Build credibility? Get promoted? Challenges: Identify the business issues, problems, and pain points that impede attainment of objectives. What are their fears, uncertainties, and doubts about these challenges? Buyer Need: They may have multiple needs; which need is most likely met with the offering? Terminology: What are the keywords/phrases they organically use to discuss the buyer need or business issue?
Decision Criteria – “how they decide”
Buyer Role: List decision-making criteria and power level. The five common buyer roles are champion, influencer, decision maker, user, and ratifier (purchaser/negotiator). Evaluation and Decision Criteria: Which lens – strategic, financial, or operational – does the persona evaluate the impact of purchase through?
Solution Attributes – “what does the ideal solution look like”
Steps in “Jobs to Be Done” Elements of the “Ideal Solution” Business outcomes from ideal solution Opportunity scope; other potential users Acceptable price for value delivered Alternatives that see consideration Solution sourcing: channel, where to buy
Behavioral Attributes – “how to approach them successfully”
Content Preferences: List the persona’s content preferences – blog, infographic, demo, video – vs. long-form assets (e.g. white paper, presentation, analyst report). Interaction Preferences: Which are preferred among in-person meetings, phone calls, emails, videoconferencing, conducting research via Web, mobile, and social? Watering Holes: Which physical or virtual places do they go to network or exchange info with peers (e.g. LinkedIn)?

2.2.2 Are you getting what you need from interviews to support the buyer journey?

Our approach helps you define the buyer journey

Because marketing leaders need to reach buyers through the right channel with the right message at the right time during their decision cycle, you’ll benefit by using questionnaires that enable you to build the below easily and quickly.

2.3 Continue interviews

Input

  • Final adjustments to list of interview questions

Output

  • Final buyer perspectives on their personas and buyer journeys

Materials

  • Buyer Persona Creation Template
  • Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and data Capture Tool

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales

1-2 weeks

  1. Continue customer and prospect interviews.
  2. Ensure you are gaining the segment perspectives needed.
  3. Complete the “Summary” columns within the Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool.

Download the Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool

Phase 3
Prepare Communications and Educate Stakeholders

This Phase walks you through the following activities:

  • Creating outputs for key stakeholders
  • Communicating final findings and supporting marketing, sales, and product activation.

This Phase involves the following stakeholders:

  • Program leadership
  • Product Marketing
  • Product Management
  • Sales
  • Field Marketing/Campaign Management
  • Executive Leadership

3.1 Summarize interview results and convene full working team and steering committee for final review

Input

  • Buyer persona and journey interviews detail

Output

  • Buyer perspectives on their personas and buyer journeys

Materials

  • Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool
  • Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • CMO/Sponsoring Executive (Optional)
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales
  • SoftwareReviews marketing analyst

1-2 hours

  1. Summarize interview results within the Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template.

Download the Buyer Persona and Journey Interview Guide and Data Capture Tool

Download the Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template

3.2 Convene executive steering committee and working team to review results

Input

  • Buyer persona and journey interviews summary

Output

  • Buyer perspectives on their personas and buyer journeys

Materials

  • Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales

1-2 hours

  1. Present final persona and journey results to the steering committee/executives and to working group using the summary slides interview results within the Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template to finalize results.

Download the Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template

3.3 Convene stakeholder meetings to activate results

Input

  • Buyer persona and journey interviews summary

Output

Activation of key learnings to drive:

  • Better product –market fit
  • Lead gen
  • Sales effectiveness
  • Awareness

Materials

  • Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template

Participants

  • Initiative Manager – individual leading the buyer persona and journey initiative
  • Working Team – typically representatives in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Sales
  • Stakeholder team members (see left)

4-5 hours

Present final persona and journey results to each stakeholder team. Key presentations include:

  1. Product team to validate product market fit.
  2. Content marketing to provide messaging direction for the creation of awareness and lead gen assets.
  3. Campaigners/Field Marketing for campaign-related messaging and to identify asset types required to be designed and delivered to support the buyer journey.
  4. Social media strategists for social post copy, and PR for other awareness-building copy.
  5. Sales enablement/training to enable updating of sales collateral, proposals, and sales training materials. Sellers to help with their targeting, prospecting, and crafting of outbound messaging and talk tracks.

Download the Buyer Persona and Journey Summary Template

Summary of Accomplishment

Problem Solved

With the help of this blueprint, you have deepened your and your colleagues’ buyer understanding at both the persona “who they are” level and the buyer journey “how do they buy” level. You are among the minority of marketing leaders that have fully documented a buyer persona and journey – congratulations!

The benefits of having led your team through the process are significant and include the following:

  • Better alignment of customer/buyer-facing teams such as in product, marketing, sales, and customer success.
  • Messaging that can be used by marketing, sales, and social teams that will resonate with buyer initiatives, pain points, sought-after “pain relief,” and value.
  • Places in the digital and physical universe where your prospects “hang out” so you can optimize your media spend.
  • More effective use of marketing assets and sales collateral that align with the way your prospect needs to consume information throughout their buyer journey to make a decision in your solution area.

And by capturing and documenting your buyer persona and journey even for a single buyer type, you have started to build the “institutional strength” to apply the process to other roles in the decision-making process or for when you go after new and different buyer types for new products. And finally, by bringing your team along with you in this process, you have also led your team in becoming a more customer-focused organization – a strategic shift that all organizations should pursue.

If you would like additional support, contact us and we’ll make sure you get the professional expertise you need.

Contact your account representative for more information.

info@softwarereviews.com

1-888-670-8889

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Optimize Lead Generation With Lead Scoring

  • Save time and money and improve your sales win rates when you apply our methodology to score contacts with your lead gen engine more accurately and pass better qualified leads over to your sellers.
  • Our methodology teaches marketers to develop your own lead scoring approach based upon lead/contact profile vs. your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and scores contact engagement. Applying the methodology to arrive at your own approach to scoring will mean reduced lead gen costs, higher conversion rates, and increased marketing-influenced wins.

Bibliography

Bilardi, Emma. “How to Create Buyer Personas.” Product Marketing Alliance, July 2020. Accessed Dec. 2021.

Harrison, Liz, Dennis Spillecke, Jennifer Stanley, and Jenny Tsai. “Omnichannel in B2B sales: The new normal in a year that has been anything but.” McKinsey & Company, 15 March 2021. Accessed Dec. 2021.

Jansen, Hasse. “Buyer Personas – 33 Mind Blowing Stats.” Boardview.io!, 19 Feb. 2016. Accessed Jan. 2022.

Raynor, Lilah. “Understanding The Changing B2B Buyer Journey.” Forbes Agency Council, 18 July 2021. Accessed Dec. 2021.

Simpson, Jon. “Finding Your Audience: The Importance of Developing a Buyer Persona.” Forbes Agency Council, 16 May 2017. Accessed Dec. 2021.

“Successfully Executing Personalized Marketing Campaigns at Scale.” Plexure, 6 Jan. 2020. Accessed Dec 2020.

Ulwick, Anthony W. JOBS TO BE DONE: Theory to Practice. E-book, Strategyn, 1 Jan. 2017. Accessed Jan. 2022.

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What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Guided Implementation 1: Drive an aligned initial draft of buyer persona
  • Call 1: Collaborate on vision for buyer persona and the buyer journey. Review templates and sample outputs. Identify your team.
  • Call 2: Review work in progress on capturing working team knowledge of buyer persona elements.
  • Call 3: (Optional) Review Info-Tech’s research-sourced persona insights.
  • Call 4: Validate the persona WIP with Info-Tech analysts. Review buyer interview approach and target list.

Guided Implementation 2: Interview buyers and validate persona and journey
  • Call 1: Revise/review interview guide and final interviewee list; schedule interviews.
  • Call 2: Review interim interview finds; adjust interview guide.
  • Call 3: Use interview findings to validate/update persona and build journey map.
  • Call 4: Add supporting analysts to final stakeholder review.

Guided Implementation 3: Prepare communications and educate stakeholders
  • Call 1: Review output templates completed with final persona and journey findings.
  • Call 2: Add supporting analysts to stakeholder education meetings for support and help with addressing questions/issues.

Author

Jeff Golterman

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