Understanding your customer’s needs and pain points can mean everything when growing your startup business. Used as powerful sales and marketing tools, buyer personas define the parameters of your ideal customer so you can determine why, how, and when they are most likely to engage and convert. 

Buyer personas are based on a variety of factors — behavior, motivation, firmographics, demographics, etc. — that help startups better position and market themselves to ideal customers. In fact, behaviorally targeted ads are twice as effective as traditional ads and drive 18 times more revenue. 

Your buyer persona development strategy will help you determine how to reach out to customers, what types of content to create, and how to position yourself to increase conversions. Let’s take a look at how you can create effective data-driven personas to lead your sales and marketing strategies. 

Quick takeaways:

  • Data-driven buyer personas help you better target and message your key audiences
  • You need to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research to drive the best results 
  • Your buyer persons will continue to evolve as you collect more data from new sources

What is Data-Driven Buyer Persona Development?

Persona development is the act of collecting as much information as possible about your customers, through multiple sources, and creating characters based on the collected demographics and psychographics. Data-driven personas take advantage of actionable data patterns to understand your target audiences more deeply.

You can collect data from the following sources:

  • Web analytics
  • CRM analytics 
  • Social media insights
  • Digital surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Digital panels

Audience targeting and marketing placement are the top ways to drive more demand towards your startup. In-depth data will help you understand the entire customer journey — where your customers consume content, conduct research, buy products, etc. — so you can reach and convert them more effectively. 

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research for Buyer Persona Development

For your buyer personas to be productive, develop your characters based on quantitative and qualitative research to drive sustainable results. Qualitative research, such as customer feedback interviews or surveys, is typically more attainable for startups. However, startups also need to drive data from secondary sources to statistically model what profiles need to look like. You need to find mathematical patterns among larger data sets to create personas based on informed assumptions. 

4 Steps to Create Impactful Data-Driven Buyer Personas

If you’re thinking about launching a marketing campaign, it’s essential to know that you’re targeting the right audience, on the right platform, and with the right message. You’ll want to preface any marketing campaign with personas backed by quantitative and qualitative data. Here’s how to get started:

1. Determine Your Objectives

Before building your personas, you’ll want to understand the objectives and KPIs used to measure success. As a startup, your objectives may include:

  • Gathering more quality leads
  • Developing the right content types
  • Gaining insight into the customer journey
  • Understanding your customers’ motivations or interests
  • Providing a better customer experience
  • Shortening the sales cycle

2. Gather Customer Data

The more sources you can collect data from, the more equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions with your valuable budget and resources. As a startup, your CRM is an excellent place to start researching data points. In addition to your CRM, consider using the following data sources:

  • Google Analytics and social media insights
  • Market research (interviews, surveys, focus groups, etc.)
  • Statistical analysis from sites like Statista and Google Public Data
  • Internal interviews from sales and customer service teams

However, for more robust primary data, you’ll need to contract a research firm to be more effective at reaching your audience. 

3. Create and Test Your Hypothesis

Once you’ve collected data, you’ll need to analyze the information to determine a hypothesis. Are there any similarities or patterns? Can anything be used to create personas? Test your hypothesis on your larger lead pool to derive insights into how your messaging affects particular customers. 

4. Persona Development

By the time you’re ready to develop your personas, you’ll be armed with data and testing to drive effective results. Your personas should include the following elements:

  • Demographic information
  • Motivations 
  • Real quotes from interviews
  • Messaging examples and elevator pitches

Since you’ll be collecting data in real time, it’s also important to remain flexible and adjust your personas when you receive new information. Over time, you’ll want to keep an eye on who is purchasing from you and their habits so you can continue evolving your personas. 

Grow Your Startup with Advanced Buyer Persona Development

By developing data-driven personas, you’ll be more equipped to effectively target your audience and build long-lasting relationships to increase your conversions. Using qualitative and quantitative data, you can analyze your customer’s behaviors, lower overhead costs, and boost your bottom line to grow your startup. 

Ready to start developing impactful buyer personas? Download Sellerant’s buyer persona template today.