How Do You Build a Better Buyer Persona? Research!

April 06, 2015 by BizTraffic Team

workers building a wall If you’re in the marketing space at all, you know about buyer personas. But in case you’re someone from outside the industry looking to do your own marketing, they’re these handy ideas about...well, maybe I should let Hubspot explain this one.

buyer persona definition.jpg

So now we’re all on the same page. But...how do you find out the customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals of a person who is “semi-fictional”? 

So glad you asked!

Here's the key to a better buyer persona: research. And the first step is figuring out what you need to know. At a minimum:

  • What problems do they hope a solution like yours will solve?

  • What exactly prompted them to start seeking a solution? When?

  • What are the common barriers that keep them from buying or slow down the process?

  • After they’ve decided they need a solution, how do they decide between you and a competitor?

  • If you’re a B2B you’ll need to know what types of companies they come from, and what position they typically hold.

  • If you’re a B2C, you’ll need demographic information like gender, age, marital status, education, and income level.

To gather the insights you need to see your buyers clearly, you won’t be able to just guess based on your intuition or make sweeping generalizations based on sales data. Going beyond numbers and hearing about the real-life decisions that were made to buy your product is the best way to find out the truth of who your customers really are.

Talk to Customers

Reach out to the companies that have already purchased your product and learn about the journey that lead them to you. And don’t limit yourself just to those customers that are pleased; talk to the ones that aren’t happy as well. Painful as it might be, you’ll get a treasure trove of insights about how to improve and an idea of who might not be a good fit for your company.

Calling or meeting will give you the most information, but emailing questions will do in a pinch. You can even throw in a freebie or discount to sweeten the deal and present it as a survey to get feedback. As a bonus, this can show customers that you really care about what they think.

Talk to Customer-facing Employees

Seek out your sales reps, customer service reps, product specialists, and anyone else who might have contact with customers. Pick their brains for insights on how leads become customers, the characteristics of deals that close and ones that don’t, what common problems they have before and after the sale is made, and how they’re resolved. You’ll hear the other side of the story regarding customer behavior throughout the sales process and after they’re onboarded.

Talk to Leads

When you contact leads, make it clear that this is not a sales call, but you are only doing research and/or gathering feedback. Talking to leads is how you get a real-time look into how all the characteristics, problems, and circumstances play into a decision to buy. It’s just another facet into getting the whole picture of your buyer persona.

Look at Social Media and Blog Profiles

Finally, take a look at who your company interacts with on social media and blog posts. It’s the easiest way to get a large amount of demographic information that can help flesh out the persona you’ve built based on deeper insights.


Gathering research on your buyer personas just takes a set of questions to ask, and people to ask them to. A systemized approach will help you find out more information faster so you know exactly who to target with your all your marketing strategies and connect with the right type of leads that are most likely to become customers.

Filed Under: buyer persona, inbound marketing