How to Build Powerful Customer Profiles (Buyer Personas)

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional portrait of your ideal customer, including what is important to them, what their pain points are, and how they make decisions.

Personas provide insights that allow you to connect with your customers on a deeper level, focusing your marketing on addressing your ideal buyers’ specific concerns and criteria. On the surface, buyer personas might sound similar to target market segment descriptions, but personas are built around individuals, because people make purchasing decisions, not companies. 

Base your personas on your best customers


Start by making a list of your best customers (the individuals, not the companies) – the ones you wish you had more of. Then note their job function or title, level of seniority, and the size and type of company they work for.


Review your list and look for individuals with the same characteristics and group these together. The individuals now left on the resulting (shorter) list will become your buyer personas.

There is no “right” number of buyer personas


The number of buyer personas you need to create depends on your business. For example, a forklift supplier may have one persona for the CEOs/owners of businesses with under $50m in revenue, another for CEOs/owners of businesses with $50-100m in revenue, and another for the VPs of procurement for businesses with more than $100m in revenue, because each persona will require a different marketing and sales approach.

Often, buyer personas align with the market segments you’ve produced, but this isn’t always the case. Further, because B2B sales typically involve more than one decision maker, you will likely end up with multiple personas for each segment, assuming these decision makers have different needs and perspectives.


You may be tempted to dismiss personas as just an academic exercise, but you’ll refer back to these frequently to help guide your marketing approach, so don’t skip this step!

Creating your buyer personas


For each individual persona on your list, imagine the actual person on which you’ve based your persona (give them a name!) and fill in as much detail as you can. You won’t necessarily know all of this information, so I’ve listed below some resources you can use to help fill in the blanks:

  • Demographics: Includes gender, age, marital status, number of children, education level, salary range, etc.
  • Personality Traits: Introverted or extroverted, analytical or creative, professional or blue collar, cooperative or adversarial, cautious or risk-taking, etc.
    • Resource: Amazingly, you can usually find studies and reports containing this information through a simple online search for “psychology of [job function or title]”
  • Goals: What does this customer seek to achieve? What are their dreams, hopes, and aspirations? How do they see themselves?
    • Resource: You can usually find this information along with personality traits via a search for “psychology of [job function or title]”, but simply putting yourself in that person’s shoes and imagining a day in their life can be very productive as well
  • Fears: What are this customer’s pain points, concerns, anxieties and worst-case scenarios?
    • Resource: see “Goals”
  • Challenges: What difficulties or obstacles do they face on a daily basis?
    • Resource: see “Goals”
  • Influences and Sources of Information: What publications do they read? Where do they get their daily news? Do they travel frequently? Which social media sites do they use?
    • Resource: Facebook Audiences
  • Contextual Characteristics: How will this person interact with our messages, products, or services? What might get their attention?
    • Resource: Here, you’ll need to use your experience with the individual you modeled this persona after, along with your imagination
  • Buyer Journey: Map out each stage of the buying cycle relative to your product or service (Awareness, Evaluation, Decision, Advocacy, and Bonding). What need or motivation brought them to this stage? What activities occur in this stage? Who or what influences them in this stage? What are their pain points in this stage?
    • Resource: Here, you’ll need to use your experience with the individual you modeled this person after, along with your imagination.


Once you’ve completed a detailed persona for each of your ideal customers, you’ll be armed with valuable insight that will make your marketing much more effective.

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