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The Ultimate Professional Services Buyer Persona Cheat Sheet

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Posted by John Beveridge on Feb 16, 2015 10:14:00 AM

Ultimate_Professional_Services_buyer_Persona_cheat_SheetOne of the first things I learned when I started my business was that it was a fool's errand to be all things to all people. I didn't come up with this gem in a strategic planning session. Like most things I've learned, I kind of stumbled on to it. I asked my first few clients, "Why did you choose to do business with me?" The answer was always, "You know my business." The reason I knew their business was that I had spent 25 years in it prior to starting my company (the professional services industry, specifically management consulting.)

Since I stumbled onto that lesson, I've focused my sales and marketing on the industries that I know about. By narrowing my focus, I expanded my business opportunities.

I recommend this same focus to professional services firms. You know that there's an industry, geography or company size that is in your sweet spot. By focusing on that sweet spot, you get more referrals and your customers are happier. It's like a snowball rolling down hill.

There's also a typical buyer at your ideal customer. If you're an accounting firm, it might be a CFO or controller. If you're an insurance agency, it might be a CFO or Human Resources VP. You get the picture - you probably have that typical buyer in your mind right now.

 What is a buyer persona?

For content marketing, a buyer persona is a fictionalized version of your target buyer. By focusing your marketing content on your buyer persona, you will get more engagement, generate more leads and close more deals. You're speaking directly to your buyer on her terms.

Some of the things you will want to define when you develop your buyer personas are:

  • Demographic information 

    • Age range

    • Gender

    • Education level

    • Job titles
  • Psychographic Information

    • Personal goals

    • Professional wants, needs and pain points

    • Professional ambitions

  • Communication preferences

    • Where do they get information to help them do their jobs?

    • How do they like to be contacted? (email? phone? text?)

To help you develop buyer personas for your business, we have developed this downloadable buyer persona template.


Download Rapidan Inbound's Buyer Persona Template

Interview your customers and prospects

One of the first things you should do when developing buyer personas for your business is to interview customers and prospects. Keep in mind that this is just one component of your research. Your sample size is relatively small and the answers you get may skew your conclusions. Nonetheless, customer interviews are a necessary part of your buyer persona development process. Look for areas of commonality between your different interviewees. 

Need a little help coming up with your list of questions? Here is an excellent resource from HubSpot to help write your questionnaire.

 Do market research

Market research will confirm the lessons you learned in your customer interviews and give you more insight into your target buyers. One of my favorite ways to conduct buyer research is to use the LinkedIn advance search feature. It's only available on premium LinkedIn accounts, but if you're serious about building your business, I highly recommend you get one.

First choose, the advance search feature and select a keyword and define the geography you want to search:


Next, refine your search by the criteria shown on the left side of your search results:


You will note the you can refine your keyword search by (among other things):

  • Location
  • Industry
  • School
  • Function
  • Seniority level
  • Company size

Reviewing the profiles of your refined search will give you some good insight into your target buyers. You can learn:

  • Age ranges (look at the year they graduated from college and do a little guesswork)

  • Gender

  • Educational level

  • Job history

  • Groups they belong to

  • Professional interests and publications

Again, look for commonalities in the people you're researching for inclusion in your buyer personas.

By developing good buyer personas, you can improve your marketing performance by creating content focused on each of your targets. This will apply to your blogging, premium content development, lead generation and email marketing. Remember - narrowing your focus will expand your opportunities.

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Topics: Professional Services

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