The persona framework is a synthesis of the most motivating challenges and benefits of your persona.  It incorporates elements of your buyer, but it goes much deeper than many people realize. The end result will be your guide on what drives them, what frustrates them, and how to communicate in a way that they will understand and respond to well.

For example, if you know that your key persona is young entrepreneurs struggling to find the time to complete their tasks, then the surface level would be knowing that they want to save time. A well-developed persona, however, will help you understand the language they use when discussing their challenges with peers so you can make your sales messaging as clear and relatable as possible.

Overview of the work involved and the time it takes to complete lesson

This lesson is the most important in your go-to-market strategy. Ideally, you should involve your sales and marketing teams in the process.  If these teams have already done the research needed in these steps, then read what they have produced and fully digest it before moving on..    

Estimated Time To Complete : 6 hours per persona: 10 Minute Read, 2-3 Hours of Analysis, 2 Hours or Writing, 1-2 Hours of Review

I built this framework to share with my clients.  If you want to take a look at it, feel free to reach out to me over LinkedIn or email and I can share it with you.

Steps to build a persona

  1. Choose which persona group you will be focusing on
  2. Collect the following information as it relates to the persona
    • Current State
    • Challenges
    • Metrics
    • Future State
    • Benefits
    • Proof of Results
  3. Digest the answers, organize and we-write them in your framework in the Voice of the Customer

1. Choose which persona group you will be focusing on

For this lesson, we recommend beginning with just one persona. This will allow you to finish your first go-to-market strategy and begin seeing value. You can then return and built out additional personas.  The one you should choose to do first is the persona group that is most likely to be the EntryPoint in your deals (Bonus focus if you can find the persona most likely to be Entry Point and Decision Maker and/or Business Owner).

2. Collect the following information as it relates to the persona

Current State – What are they doing before they meet you?

  • What topics do they typically search for / try to educate themselves on to make themselves better at their job
  • What would they say are the top three most common tasks they perform and requests they consistently get from others?

Challenges – What challenges do they face because of their current processes?

  • What are things that consistently keep them up at night when it comes to work?
  • What are their top three most common tasks they perform and requests they consistently get from others?
  • If Client/Discovery call: What specific problems were they trying to solve when evaluating?
  • If Client: Was there anything that made them hesitate when choosing to work with us?   

Metrics – What are they being measured on?

  • What are the daily, monthly and long term metrics they track / are responsible for to make sure they are performing?

Future State – How would they describe their future if everything was perfect?

  • If Client: What was the top three reasons they decided to work with you?
  • If Client: How have the most common tasks they perform and requests they consistently get from others changed since implementing you?

Benefits – How will the contact and their organization as a whole benefit if they get to their perfect future?

  • Was there anything that made them hesitate when choosing to work with us?
  • What has gotten better since they started working with you?  (Try to get positive metric changes)

Proof of results – Which existing clients have seen the best results?

  • What has gotten better since they started working with you?  (Try to get positive metric changes)

Where to find the answers:

  • ASK! Don’t be afraid to ask your clients, friends and network directly to help you fill out this information.
  • Case Studies, Customer Interviews, Recorded Calls
  • Get a good baseline by Googling the job description. Job descriptions usually list out metrics and the purpose of the role very specifically.

3. Digest, consolidate, organize and prioritize your answers.

As you prioritize what answers should make it to the framework, make sure they relate to your product and, most importantly relate to the differentiators of your product.  If your competitor could write the same thing, alter your answer to highlight how you’re better.

4. Re-write the answers to match in the Voice of the Customer.

Voice Of the Customer (VOC) – only use the words and language they would use to answer.  This will be key in creating email copy and messaging that your target prospects will actually want to digest. It will be a big differentiator between you and your marketing team.

Don’t write what you think they would say.  Do your best to write exactly what they would say.   

Next Steps

Whew!  Get ready to enjoy the fruits of this labor. This framework, makes everything else easy.  Armed with a persona framework, messaging and targeting will have a clear outline for you to follow.  In the next lesson, I will give you an overview on creating your first key benefit statement leveraging this information.

This is part of an 8 part academy series called 8 steps to build an effective go-to-market strategy.  Feel free to jump to other parts in the series if you’re further down the process or want to review concepts on a certain topic.  This series is being released over a period of time so if there isn’t a link to the topic, it is not available just yet.

Syllabus – Overview and Guiding Principals

1| Foundational Goals: Set yourself up for success

2| Repository: Collect everything you have so far and organize it so you don’t waste time

3| Positioning
3.1| Total Addressable Market (TAM), Target Market (TM), Customer Profile (CP) : Creating Focus
3.2| Key Buyer and User Groups : The people who you sell to and benefit from your service
3.3| Persona Framework: Get to know your groups intimately and turn them into personas

4| Targeting
4.1| Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) = Target accounts + Entrypoint Personas : Prioritizing your highest value effort
4.2| Trigger based targeting : Automatic reasons to reach out to any account that meets your ICP

5| Messaging
5.1| Key Benefit Statement : A distinct and tangible message so your persona knows you’re built for them.
5.2| Email Templates: 7 Proven email templates for every step of your campaign

6| Sequences and Plays: The pre-determined structure for messaging and actions needed to ensure followthrough

7| Execute
7.1| People: Understand the different roles people can play in your organization and when best to use them
7.2| Structure and Process: Define the structure and processes needed to be followed to ensure your systems are operating effectively and efficiently with no lead left behind
7.3| Technology: The difference of Marketing Automation, Sales Automation and CRM and how to make them work in harmony

8| Analyze: 
Measure your results against your goals

8.1| Iterate, Optimize and Keep Following Through