SaaS Buyer Personas: Who Are They And What Do They Want?
Your buyers are people, and like all people, they have personalities. If you want to sell to them, you need to understand their personalities – what makes them tick, what motivates them, and what drives their buying decisions. That makes creating a buyer persona vital.
Unfortunately, data from Price Intelligently show that only less than 10% of SaaS businesses have actually qualified their buyer personas. It only means that around 90% of SaaS businesses don’t know their customers as much as they should.
If you’re part of that majority, then it’s time to change things up.
In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to the different types of buyer personas that exist in the SaaS world, and show you how to create your own buyer persona profiles.
We’ll also give you a few tips on how to target your marketing efforts specifically at each type of buyer persona. Let’s get started.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It’s based on market research and real data about your customers, but it’s also shaped by your own personal observations and insights.
Creating buyer personas is an important part of any effective marketing strategy because it allows you to focus your efforts on the people who are most likely to buy from you.
Data from MLT Creative show that email marketing campaigns that utilize buyer personas doubled their open rates and quintupled their click-through rates.
A separate study also found that personas boosted website effectiveness two to five times more.
Buyer Persona vs. Ideal Customer Profile
SaaS marketing companies often talk about buyer personas and ideal customer profiles (ICPs).
But what’s the difference between the two?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character that represents a company’s target customer.
An ICP, on the other hand, is a real person or company that meets certain criteria that make them a good fit for your product.
Both can be useful in helping you understand your target market and craft targeted marketing messages.
SaaS companies typically create ICPs by looking at their best existing customers and identifying commonalities among them.
From there, they use that information to generate a profile of their ideal customer.
Buyer Persona Examples for SaaS Startups
If you’re a SaaS startup, it’s especially important to have a well-defined buyer persona, since you’re likely selling to a small number of customers who have specific needs.
To help you get started, we’ve put together some buyer persona examples for SaaS startups.
1. The price-sensitive startup founder
This persona is usually bootstrapping their business and is very careful with expenses.
They’re looking for a tool that will do the job well, but they don’t want to pay more than necessary.
This persona is also highly resourceful, so they’re not afraid to put in the extra work to get the best deals. And lastly, they’re startup founders, so they’re always looking for new products and services that can give their business an edge.
If you’re selling to this buyer persona, then you need to be prepared to offer competitive pricing. You also need to be able to show them how your product or service can save them time and money in the long run.
And finally, you need to be able to demonstrate why your SaaS product is the best solution for their specific needs.
2. The tech-savvy CTO
This persona is responsible for choosing which tools their company will use.
They’re looking for a tool that’s easy to implement and has a robust set of features. They’re also willing to pay more for a tool that will save their team time and effort.
If you’re selling to this buyer persona, then you need to be able to show them how your product or service can save their team time and effort.
You also need to be able to demonstrate a strong understanding of the technical aspects of your SaaS tool. And finally, you need to have a SaaS pricing structure that’s attractive to this persona.
3. The busy VP of Sales
The VP of sales is typically a busy professional who is responsible for meeting sales quotas and generating revenue for their company.
This persona is focused on finding new ways to increase sales and grow their business. They’re looking for a SaaS tool that will give them an edge over their competition. They’re willing to pay premium prices for a tool that will help them close more deals.
This persona is often short on time and is looking for ways to increase efficiency and productivity.
When it comes to making purchasing decisions, they’re typically very analytical and will carefully weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
As such, they’re usually not swayed by emotional appeals or marketing campaign messages.
To appeal to the VP of sales, it’s important to focus on highlighting the tangible results that your software can provide.
4. The hands-on CEO
This type of persona is often used in B2B companies.
They are typically responsible for making final decisions and have a high level of authority within the company.
They’re looking for a tool that will help them make better decisions and grow their business. They’re willing to pay premium prices for a tool that will help them achieve their goals.
The hands-on CEO is usually very busy and has limited time to research products or services. As a result, they rely heavily on information from salespeople and other experts.
SaaS businesses need to be able to clearly explain their products or services and how they can benefit the hands-on CEO. Otherwise, they will likely lose the sale.
5. The growth-focused Marketing Director
This persona is responsible for generating leads and driving sales.
They are always on the lookout for new technologies that can help them reach their goals. Hence, make sure you position your SaaS product accordingly.
When selling to them, it’s important to focus on how your SaaS tool can help them grow their business.
Showing them how your SaaS tool compares to other software available in the market can help them improve their marketing efforts and get more leads and customers. Be sure to emphasize the ROI they can expect from using your product.
6.The skeptic business owner
As the name suggests, this persona is quite skeptical and doesn’t easily trust new SaaS products.
They’re often worried about making a bad investment and are therefore very careful when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
When selling to this persona, you need to be able to build trust and show them that your SaaS product is worth their investment
To do this, you need to be able to provide social proof in the form of case studies, testimonials, and reviews.
You also need to be able to address their concerns head-on and show them how your SaaS product can help them overcome their challenges.
Last but not least, you need to have a solid pricing structure that’s in line with the value they can expect to receive.
How to Create Your Own Buyer Personas
Now that you’ve seen some examples of buyer personas, you might be wondering how to create your own. Here’s a quick overview of the process:
1. Start with market research
Look at your existing customer base and try to identify commonalities among them. You can also talk to your sales team to get their insights.
When creating your buyer persona, it’s also important to keep in mind that they should be based on real data and not just your assumptions. This means that you’ll need to do your research and talk to your target market to get a better understanding of who they are and what they’re looking for.
2. Create a buyer persona template
There are a number of different ways to do this, but one popular method is to use what many call the “day in the life” approach.
This involves creating a fictional character and then detailing their day-to-day activities, motivations, and challenges. An example of which is as follows:
Name: John Doe
Job title: Marketing Manager
Company: XYZ Widgets
Annual income: $75,000
Number of employees: 10-49
- Technology savvy
- Works in a fast-paced environment
- Wants a solution that is easy to use and saves time
- Is willing to pay for a quality product
Once you have a general idea of who your persona is, you can start filling in the template with more specific information.
3. Quantify your buyer personas
Once you’ve created your buyer persona, it’s important to quantify them.
This means attaching numbers to their characteristics so you can better understand your target market.
For example, you might want to know what percentage of your target market is technology savvy or how many of them are willing to pay for a premium product.
4. Deepen your understanding of your persona
If you think about it, the characteristics of each persona will fall into one of two categories: those that present a challenge and those that are attracted to your SaaS product.
For example, someone who is “skeptical” would likely fall into the former category while someone who is “tech-savvy” would likely fall into the latter.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) try to address every single challenge or appeal to every single attraction. Instead, focus on the ones that are most important to your SaaS business.
5. Test and refine your buyer persona
Once you’ve created your buyer persona, it’s important to test it to see if it’s accurate.
One way to do this is to create a survey and send it to a group of your target customers.
If you find that your persona doesn’t hit the mark, don’t be afraid to go back and make changes.
6. Iterate as needed
As your SaaS business grows and evolves, so too will your buyer personas.
That’s why it’s important to revisit them on a regular basis and make updates as necessary.
Things to Remember When Creating a Buyer Persona
Creating a buyer persona is not an exact science, but there are certain things you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure your persona is as accurate as possible.
1. Keep demographics in mind
This information will give you a better understanding of your persona’s age, income, education level, location, and so forth. Knowing this information will help you determine what needs and pain points your persona has that your product can address.
2. Consider their goals and objectives
What are they looking to achieve? Why do they need your SaaS product? Answering these questions will help you understand what motivates your persona and how you can appeal to them.
3. Understand their pain points
It’s important to understand the needs of your persona so that you can create a SaaS product that meets those needs. If you can identify and solve the problems that your persona has, they’re more likely to become a paying customer.
4. Think about their buying process
How does your persona typically go about making a purchase? What research do they do? What factors do they consider before pulling the trigger? Having an understanding of their buying process will help you create content that guides them through the purchase decision-making process.
What Not to Focus on– Buyer Persona Creation Mistakes
When creating a buyer persona, it’s important to avoid making the following mistakes:
1. Don’t make assumptions
It’s important to base your persona on real data and not just your assumptions. This means that you’ll need to do your research and talk to your target market to get a better understanding of who they are and what they’re looking for.
2. Don’t create a “one size fits all” persona
Your persona should be specific and not try to encompass everyone in your target market. Trying to appeal to everyone will only dilute your message and make it less effective.
3. Don’t be too broad
At the same time, you don’t want to be too specific with your persona. If you get too granular, you run the risk of excluding potential customers who don’t fit your persona perfectly.
When creating a buyer persona for your SaaS business, it’s tempting to want to focus on everything about your ideal customer. However, trying to encompass too much information will only result in a confusing and unusable persona.
4. Don’t focus on job title
One mistake we see companies make again and again is that they get hung up on job titles when they’re creating their user persona. While job titles can be helpful in understanding someone’s role within an organization, they don’t give you much insight into their challenges, motivators, or objectives.
Instead of focusing on job titles, try to understand the actual tasks and responsibilities your ideal customer has within their role.
For example, if you’re selling project management software, you might be tempted to target only those with “project manager” in their title.
However, there are plenty of other people who play a role in managing projects who could also benefit from your software (e.g., product managers, executives, etc.).
5. Don’t focus on demographics alone
Another common mistake companies make is that they focus too much on demographics when they’re creating their user persona.
While it’s important to understand things like age, gender, location, and income level, these pieces of information alone won’t give you a well-rounded picture of your ideal customer.
Remember, you’re not just targeting anyone who meets the demographic criteria — you’re targeting someone who also has a specific set of challenges, needs, and goals.
So in addition to understanding someone’s demographics, also take the time to understand their values, behaviors, and how they make decisions.
6. Don’t try to include everyone
When creating your user persona, it’s important to remember that you can’t — and shouldn’t try to — include everyone in your target market.
Trying to be all things to all people will result in a scattered approach that confuses both your team and your target customers.
Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, focus on being everything to one specific type of person.
By being laser-focused with your approach, you’ll be able to reach the right people with the right message far more effectively than if you try to appeal to everyone at once.
You can always create additional personas later down the road as your business grows and expands into new markets — but for now, stick to targeting one specific type of person with each piece of content you create.
7. Don’t forget about your existing customers
Last but not least, don’t forget about your existing customers when you’re creating your user persona. Just because someone isn’t part of your target market doesn’t mean they can’t provide valuable insights during the creation process (after all, they are the ones using your product!).
Be sure to include existing customers in your research so you can learn even more about what motivates and challenges them — information that can then be used to fine-tune your user persona even further.
Final Thoughts About SaaS Buyer Personas
Persona development is essential for any SaaS business that wants to scale.
By understanding who your ideal customer is and what they want, you can create messaging and offer products that speak directly to them. This process starts with market research and casting a wide net to understand as much as possible about your target audience.
From there, you can start developing specific SaaS buyer personas that will act as outlines for the types of customers you want to attract. Keep in mind that these are not static documents – as your business grows and changes, so too should your buyer persona strategy.
Need help getting started? Visit our blog for more tips and resources in growing your SaaS business.