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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Jul 4, 2017 5 min read

5 Buyer Persona Mistakes to Avoid

{}Buyer personas are used as a type of market research to determine who your company’s ideal customer is, as well as who is not. This is part of understanding the new way customers buy.

If business owners understand who’s buying from them, or what their ideal customers look like, then they’ll have a better chance at targeting and closing them.

Buyer personas are important, and there are many ways to go about creating them. But no matter how you create them, you could inadvertently make mistakes along the way. To help you avoid this pothole, here are five buyer persona mistakes to be mindful of.

1. Too Many Personas

Once you start creating personas, it’s easy to get caught up and then end up with too many.

Too many personas make it harder for you to determine who your ideal customer is, and thus harder to market and advertise because you don’t know who you should be marketing and advertising to. Your attention will be split in too many ways.

You should have clear and distinct personas. Find the common areas among your various customers and amalgamate where you can. Don’t worry about having too few personas. It’s all about quality over quantity.

2. Profiling People, Rather Than Their Decisions

There is so much data at your fingertips about your customers that it’s easy for your creative juices to get flowing. Soon enough, you’ll have too many details in your profiles. You’ll know what your personas look like, the cars they drive, and the lives they lead.

If this sounds like you, or you find that you’re heading down this path while creating your personas, stop immediately. Your personas should be created based on the purchasing decisions your customers make and the path they take to get there. This isn’t Criminal Minds— you’re not profiling people.

3. Not Knowing Who Isn’t Your Customer

It’s also important to know who you shouldn’t target in your buyer personas. Many marketers don’t think about this, but they should.

Not everyone is going to be a customer, so it’s important to figure who you shouldn’t be targeting. Some people will not have enough money or work in the right industry, for example.

As you create your personas, create a negative profile that will represent all that you don’t want in a customer. This is a helpful tactic because you’ll find it easier to notice if you stray from your positive personas when you have a negative one to compare against.

4. Lack of Research

As discussed earlier, profiling people is a mistake that you should avoid, but closely linked to that is lack of research.

It’s easy to be lackadaisical when it comes to creating your personas, but this won’t help you.

Your personas should be embedded in research that you gather from your sales and marketing teams, your current customers, your potential customers, and your analytics. This kind of research gathering takes time, but it’s time well spent. You will gain a more in-depth knowledge of who is buying from you and which leads you’re wasting time on.

5. Stagnant Buyer Personas

Like spring cleaning, it’s a good idea to spend some time reassessing your buyer personas every year. Once companies have their sales goals for the year, it’s a great opportunity to go back to those personas and see if what you have aligns with the sales goals, as well as the direction the company is heading in.

If not, it’s time to adjust your personas. It’s also a good time to dive back into your research and see if anything has changed in terms of your customers in the past year. Having up-to-date research helps ensure that your personas are relevant and helpful to your company.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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