Identify SaaS personas

How to identify SaaS personas and target them effectively

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Mariano Rodríguez
Jul 24, 2019

SaaS is both a blessing and a curse because your product can generally span across different industries. This versatility is a blessing because it allows you to expand and diversify revenue quickly. It’s also a curse because it creates a lot of work for your sales and marketing teams in terms of identifying SaaS personas to target them and communicate with them effectively. 

SaaS personas

It’s a big job, but if done right, sales and growth become exponential. SaaS teams that have done an exceptional job at this are leaders of their industries and are trusted as authoritative by their target personas. For example, Hubspot has honed in on small teams and startups that need massive support and education for marketing and sales. Mailchimp has really expanded their focus to speak the language and provide the tools and resources for eCommerce companies. 

So how does your team do this just as well?

We’ve written a quick guide on how to identify SaaS personas and target them effectively:

1. Go through a persona discovery process:

To identify SaaS personas, your team has to go through a discovery process that is half research and half creativity. Your goal is to position your product in front of the best potential customers where they are looking. This process will require some hands on work and brainstorming from your team. 

Brainstorm:

For developers, it’s easy to see the intrinsic value of a product. The hard part is applying that value to various sectors. Bring all minds of your team together, analyze the core value of your product, and outline the potential ways that core value could be applied to various types of companies and teams. The more minds you bring into the brainstorming, the better. Developers, sales people, and marketing people all have different perspectives and experiences to bring to the table. When you are looking to narrow down your personas, it’s not enough to just talk about general industries. You want to literally envision what that ideal prospect looks like: their industry, their company and its size, their position or job title within their company, and who they answer to within the organization or who they manage. From here, you can determine what pain points they have and what potential solutions they are using. You want to narrow down where they are active on social media, what they search to find solutions and answer questions online and where, and what sources of information they refer to the most. 

It’s also important to determine what value they see within your product and how much they are willing to pay for it so when you do communicate with them at that level, you can speak their language. 

Analyze your current traffic and feedback: 

Who is currently most interested in your site? Who spends the most time on your pages or interacts the most with your content? Who asks the most questions of your team? Customers are actually very good at telling your team what they want when your team knows where and how to listen. This can be hard in the beginning because you need to have a critical mass of traffic to be able to analyze it. At first, you may not have enough data. If this is the case, you can look at data available on competitors or complements sites using tools like Spyfu and SEMrush.

2. Identify specific messaging that resonates for each persona: 

Once you’ve identified who you are speaking to, the next step is to look at the way you speak to them. Messaging is hugely important and should be something you nail down ASAP as it will serve as the foundation for all of your marketing and sales efforts. Messaging includes everything from the keywords and phrases you use to the features and value propositions you choose to call attention to first for each persona. Messaging for each is not generic, it’s very specific and focused on their goals and pain points. Your goal with your messaging for each persona is to get them to see your product as the solution to their specific problem. This will serve as the basis for your landing pages, social content, ads, sales copy, etc. for material targeted at personas. 

Here are some examples of messaging that will be specific for each persona: 

  • Keywords
  • Key phrases 
  • Features presented 
  • How you identify the product (i.e. “the best way to let users know about new features” vs. “the best way to tell customers about new products”)

messaging each SaaS persona

3. Create targeted landing pages: 

What will be important and key to your sales process will be specific landing pages for each persona. You want to use the messaging created in the second step to populate your landing page so that it resonates with each persona. You want graphics and visuals to be focused on the goals and pain points of personas as well. For example, graphics that illustrate specific features that appeal with the right personas are better than including the same features for each. Additionally, demo videos or GIFs that show the functionality and value of features even more are great.  Learn more about building a successful landing page.

targeted landing page

A great way to immediately engaged those who come to any page of your site in a targeted way is Beamer. Beamer is a news feed that opens up on any page of your site where potential customers can explore news, updates, special offers, new features, etc. You can include photos, videos, and GIFs to better visually show the progress of your product and boost engagement. What’s really valuable is the segmentation ability: you can show specific announcements to specific personas based on URL, demographics, location, language, and past behavior on your site. This way, every time someone visits your site, they’re getting segmented updates that help you better target them.

Beamer

4. Create targeted content and micro content to drive relevant traffic: 

Additionally, you want to drive persona-specific traffic to your landing pages. To do this the organic way, you need to be consistently creating targeted content. You want to have your content target specific keywords and phrases that coincide with personas’ search patterns as well as their top pain points and interests. This is how you should create your content calendar. You can do research on keywords and phrases for personas using tools like SEMrush, Google Trends, and Google Keyword Planner. Your targeted blogs should lead traffic to coinciding landing pages so the experience is targeted throughout.

5. Target and retarget personas: 

In addition to organic traffic, you are likely going to be running ads as well. This is really where personas can come in handy as well. You can focus ad campaigns with targeted messaging and landing pages for better success. Additionally, you can use ad retargeting tools to retarget traffic with more specific messaging, content, and landing pages. The more specific the sales process, the better the conversion rate and paid ads are not something you want to waste time and money with; it adds up quickly. 

6. Nurture personas with segmented updates and offers: 

The final step of really targeting personas and converting them is consistent nurturing by following up with relevant updates and offers. This is where segmenting based on persona is really important because you want to be specific and not annoying in what you choose to send to those you are reaching out to multiple times. For SaaS, it’s rare to have someone convert the first time they visit your website because it is a longer sales process with more at stake and more effort necessary for customers than other products. You want your updates and offers to be very focused on what is most important and interesting for the persona or they will likely unsubscribe or start to ignore. Beamer is a great way to do that. You can make sure that when you are bringing leads back to your site, they are seeing targeted updates for them or you can use it to send push notifications to bring leads back in a relevant, direct way. 

“Instead of using technology to automate processes, think about using technology to enhance human interaction.” 

 – Tony Zambito, Founder and creator Buyer Persona Development™

The better your team narrows down your key personas and targets them in organized and specific processes, the higher quality leads you can get for half the effort and cost. It’s a matter of being diligent and both creative and technical in your approach. For an easy way to target specific customer groups on any page of your site, try Beamer today.