Blog > Digital Marketing > Kickstart Your ABM Campaign Part 1: User Personas

How to Make User Personas for Your ABM Campaign

September 19, 2023
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8
min read

As the world around us changes, marketing strategies have changed as well, evolving from the Mad Men-era traditional advertising, cold calling, and face-to-face techniques into the digital marketing strategies of today.

With so much competition around us and so many options at our customer’s fingertips, it’s essential to really focus our marketing strategies, to pinpoint the way our messaging is tailored, and to put your brand in front of the right people at the right time.

ABM (account-based marketing), at its core, is all about this type of laser precision. That’s what makes it the go-to for so many companies and marketing team members looking to get the most bang for their buck.

But how do you launch an ABM campaign of your own?

We’re so glad you asked.

Whether you’re looking to give ABM a shot or maybe just looking to refine your approach, this blog is going to be the start of a 3-part series aimed to help you launch and optimize your very own super-successful ABM campaign!

Are you ready?

It’s time to dive into the first step of your ABM journey: Creating user personas.

What is a User Persona?

User personas (or customer personas) aren’t as complicated as they sound.

Much like an ICP (ideal customer profile), a user persona is a fictional representation of an individual in your target audience. They’re particularly useful because they’re created using data gained from thorough research about your target audience, including their pain points, the things they’re looking for in a solution, how they’re looking for your product to help them achieve their goals, the roadblocks that might prevent them from converting, and what they could be looking for from your brand.

The key to a successful ABM campaign is to make personas of the key decision-makers at a company, the folks whose “yes” you need to make sales. And it shouldn’t be just that one point of contact you’re going after, but the entire buying committee that surrounds that target point of contact.

Crafting detailed user personas of these individuals will help you better understand where those decision-makers and buying committee members are coming from and what they’re looking for so you can more effectively tailor your messaging to their unique pain points and needs.

How to Create a User Persona for Your ABM Campaign

Three faceless avatars. Who are the decision makers you want your user personas to represent?

So, if you’re ready to start better understanding your target audience, then let’s learn what you’ll need to do to start building out some detailed user personas!

Step 1: Define Your Market

First, we need to know where these decision-makers are found.

Do some research into what industries and businesses align most closely with your brand’s products and services, goals, and core values. Then, see which of those could benefit the most by purchasing from you, making it more likely that they’ll convert into a valuable customer down the road.

This will help you concentrate your efforts (and your marketing budget) on people and places that can get your brand the highest ROI.

Once you’ve narrowed that down, you can then narrow it further by finding the decision-makers within those companies.

It’s those real-life people who you’ll be basing your fictional user personas on.

Step 2: Gather Your Data

Now that you’ve got a rough idea of who you need to convince, it’s time to gather some more data. You don’t want to just guess at your target audience’s pain points, you want to nail it. 

To do this, you’re going to have to conduct that thorough research we mentioned earlier (if you don’t have data already). You can do this through:

Interviews

It’s helpful to reach out to any existing customers who already fit the criteria of the target audience you’re looking to gain an understanding about. 

You can meet via social media, online communities, over the phone, or good ol’ face-to-face interaction, depending on what would work best for them. Gather up some open-ended interview questions (because we want to encourage sharing) about their challenges, paint points, goals, etc., and talk to as many people as you can.

Surveys

If it’s easier for your target audience to complete a survey, then by all means, prepare surveys using the same open-ended questions you prepared for interviews.

Participants can either fill out their answers at their leisure through social media or email, or you can conduct surveys over the phone or in person.

Analytics

It can also be very helpful to take a look at your own analytics, for a data-driven glance at the behavior patterns of your customers.

Determine which KPIs are most relevant to better helping you understand your target audience (website traffic, conversion rates, bounce rates, click-through rates, social media engagement) and use that insight to refine your strategies and tailor your content.

Online Searches

Don’t discount the power of utilizing the research that other people have already done. 

Do a few searches online to see if other marketers or sales organizations have done research into your target demographic. Even if you have to pay for a report, it could exponentially increase your discovery phase’s effectiveness as well as save you some time! 

Step 3: Segment Your Audience

A pie chart with a section removing itself. Segment your audience for more effective and personalized messaging.

Unless it’s an adjustable belt, one size usually doesn’t fit all. If you want to tailor your messaging as effectively as possible, you’ll need to first segment your audience.

It’s up to you how you split up your list, but common criteria for target audience segments usually consist of: 

  • Industry
  • Size of the company
  • Size of budget
  • Decision-making roles and purchase authority (CEO vs. C-level exec, marketing manager, sales team, end-user, etc.)
  • Unique needs and pain points
  • Goals
  • Current step in the customer journey (awareness, consideration, returning customer)
  • Equipment or software used (if you have a tech company)

Segmenting your audience based on the above criteria (or whatever criteria works for you) will allow your messaging to better resonate with each group and increase the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts.

Step 4: Decide What Info You’ll Need

Now, it’s time to actually start laying out your personas.

First, decide what information you think is necessary to include.

Again, this may vary depending on your product or service, but, most commonly, the info included in a persona consists of: 

  • Name
  • Demographics — Age, gender, etc.
  • Level of Schooling — high school, bachelor’s, master’s, etc.
  • Role at their company — Marketing manager, CEO, officer manager, etc.
  • Internal and external problems
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Goals — What they want your solution to help them achieve.
  • Buying Process — How do they approach purchasing things for their company?
  • Pain Points — The specific problems or frustrations that they want to solve.
  • The questions they must have answered to their satisfaction in order to be persuaded.
  • Points of resistance — The factors that will cause an instant “no.”

Step 5: Bring Your Persona to Life

Once you’ve got the blanks to fill in, all that’s left to do is fill them out using the research you’ve gathered about your target users and the key decision-makers you’ll be selling to.

Remember, this fictional person should accurately reflect the key decision-makers you want to convince. Create a person who you’d think would be open to purchasing from you and then really try to see things from their perspective as you fill in the information you need.

Don’t be afraid to be as detailed as possible, either!

If you think about it, you aren’t black-and-white in your decision-making process and your personas shouldn’t be either. Get in your persona’s head, make them as real as you can, and truly weigh the pros and cons of your product or service as if you were them. 

This will help you better see what points you need to make to overcome resistance and highlight the value your product or service will bring to them and their company.

And remember, your sales and marketing team needs to see this, so make it nice! 

Have a graphic designer lay out all of the information in an easy-to-read and visually pleasing way that not only looks great but reflects your brand guide.

Some companies even go as far as creating an AI-generated image of their persona to make it as much like real people as they can, so do whatever you need to do to bring your persona to life!

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Want Personas in One Easy Step?

If all of this sounds like a great start to your ABM campaign, only you’re wondering where you’re going to find the time to do all of this, then …

We can help you with that. Just follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Collaborate with Designity.

And that’s all you need to do.

Designity is made up of the top 3% of US-based creative talent, including all of the ABM experts, graphic designers, UX designers, and copywriters you need to launch a successful account-based marketing campaign.

With a team of creative talent on your side, plus the expertise of a dedicated Creative Director, all you’ll need to do is to approve the direction of your campaign and any deliverables that go along with it. Focus on your job and watch as your messaging reaches your audience more efficiently than ever before.

Check out our account-based marketing and user personas services pages and see what Designity can do for your marketing efforts!

Are you ready to bring your marketing into the 21st century?

*Stay tuned for Part 2 of Kickstarting Your ABM Campaign!

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About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at press@designity.com
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