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21 Questions to Ask Your Existing Clients to Build Your Buyer Personas

Developing a detailed buyer persona can help all aspects of your organisation, bringing your sales and marketing team together to optimise your customers’ journey.

As defined by HubSpot, a buyer persona is a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer”. Any business, B2B or B2C, can build buyer personas using market research and real data about existing customers or clients.

By honing in on exactly the type of person; demographics, interests, pain points, etc., that you wish to attract with your marketing efforts, you will be able to create and distribute content specifically for your buyer personas.

Likewise, your sales team will benefit from defined buyer personas since they will be able to identify a prospect’s challenges more quickly, allowing them to ask the right questions to find the perfect solution to solve their problem.

But how do you go about creating a buyer persona exactly? There are two stages when it comes to building your buyer personas: first, interview your current staff and, secondly, interview your former and/or existing customers/clients.

Employees that are in customer facing roles will have a good indication of what makes your customers tick, their challenges, behaviours and may be able to differentiate between several buyer personas as well as anti-personas.

It is also essential to interview your former or existing customers/clients too as they will be able to give you a deeper understanding of pain points as well as where they actually search for information before making a purchase.

Being hesitant about interviewing your clients/customers is normal as it can be awkward if you don’t approach it in the right way. The first rule is to make sure your customer always feels comfortable. Avoid asking anything that would be inappropriate. For example, if you wanted to find out their annual salary, ask for their job role instead and a quick Google search will provide you with an approximation, avoiding the risk of turning the interview sour.

If you’re a B2B or a B2C company, you might focus on some slightly different topics in order to define your buyer persona. Here are some questions to get you started...

Demographics

  • How old are you?
  • What is your highest level of education?
  • Where do you live?
  • What is your family structure like?

Use these questions to get a basic understanding of who your buyer persona is.

Daily Life

  • What’s a typical day in your life like?
  • How much time do you spend at work and at home?
  • Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy?
  • What social media platforms do you use?

Learn how your buyer persona spends a typical day and uncover their interests.

Industry

  • What type of industry do you work in?
  • What is your current job role?
  • How long have you been in your current position?
  • What are your job aspirations?
  • Are you the decision maker in your business? If not, then who is?

Industry questions are more focused towards B2B companies that are developing buyer personas using current or former clients. You will be able to find out more about your point of contact, including how influential they are in the business such as if they have decision-making abilities.

Pain Points

  • What is the most frustrating part of your day?
  • What has been your worst customer service experience?
  • What regular activity do you dread?
  • What do you worry about?

Get an idea of your customers’ pain points in order to identify how you can solve their issues quickly and easily with your product/service.

Information

  • Where do you go to learn about a product/service?
  • Which offline resources do you use?
  • Which online resources do you use?
  • How do you prefer to interact with a business? (e.g. in person, telephone, email)

Learn where your customers go to look for information before making a purchase. This information will be vital for developing your sales and marketing strategy to ensure you’re there at the right time and the right place with the right product.

Once you have collated the data from your interviews, you should be able to identify common trends and start to piece your different buyer personas together, creating a story for each one.

Distribute your buyer personas across your business so that every employee can base marketing and sales efforts, and even customer service, on the personas you have defined.

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