Understanding + Creating Customer Personas for Your Startup

How we developed an initial profile for our ideal buyer and week 19 metrics.

Week 19 cumulative numbers for Bliss: revenue — $4,318; sign-ups — 1,070; paying customers — 53; product roadmap — here

This past week we formally started to create customer personas for Bliss.

It wasn’t planned — we spontaneously jumped into the process — led by the efforts of Dan out of his frustration for our lack of focus on product roadmap discussions.

Also, Dan’s been sitting in on investor pitches and enterprise sales meetings. He’s realized the feedback has been pulling our team in all sorts of directions based on where the outside party believes Bliss should be focusing.

@jmj @yupyork and @danpitrowiski having a customer persona pow wow at the Batchery — note: no furniture yet at the new digs.

When we launched in March, our initial focus was on non-technical entrepreneurs. In April we focused on developers. May and June we then started selling to enterprise concurrent with our efforts of selling to startups.

Attempting to reach out to a large, undefined group of people can dilute your messaging strategy and its effectiveness. Kudos for Dan for trying to break through the noise and define our ideal customer!

Buyer Personas

Building a Customer-Centric Business

We know the importance of focus. We know the importance of understanding our customer (customer 1 on 1's!). Yet, here we are struggling with both.

Stepping back and focusing on identifying our buyer personas will lead to a more focused approach. But first, we need to better understand what “Buyer Personas” are all about.

The simplest definition is a representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. The personas include details such as buying habits, motivations, challenges, preferences and goals.

Ultimately, identifying buyer personas will enable you to better understand your buyers and make stronger, more customer-centric decisions in product, marketing, sales — the list goes on. It provides the focus necessary to apply your limited resources appropriately and efficiently.

The Persona of a Bliss Buyer

We have existing paying customers, so when we began thinking about a buyer persona we started there. We looked at their demographic information, buying habits, and feedback provided from our direct conversations with them to find similarities across customers. From there, we constructed distinct profiles.

Here’s a look.

JOB TITLE/RESPONSIBILITIES:

Vice President of Engineering. Manages a team of developers.

GOALS AND TASKS:

Aaron runs a team of 10 engineers. His team consists of both in-house and offshore developers.

Because of his large, distributed team, he’s not able to review all the code his developers are committing on a regular basis. He doesn’t feel like he has a good grasp of his developers code quality or overall performance. His hectic schedule limits the time he has to dive into GitHub and review the code himself.

He’d like an easy way to review his dev team’s performance and code quality.

CURRENT WORK PROCESSES:

Slack is the main way the company communicates throughout the day, including the development team.

Every morning the development team has a stand-up to review yesterday’s accomplishments, today’s goals, and any bottlenecks impeding progress.

Going forward

One thing we’ve certainly learned through this discovery process is things change!

If we had been building and tracking our buyer persona from the beginning it would look very different now than 19 weeks ago.

We’re confident in the persona laid out above, but we also understand we need to continue to do research, build upon it, and focus on both our existing and new customers.

Bliss is still an early-stage startup expecting to grow (even more rapidly now that we’re in The Batchery). With our growth, things will change. Our product will evolve. Our team will fill out. And, most certainly, our customer base will expand.

Our new approach to buyer personas will enable us to adapt to the changes, and focus our efforts (product, marketing + sales) appropriately and efficiently!

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