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What Are SaaS Buyer Personas? (With 5 Examples)

SaaS buyer personas help you get a clearer understanding of your customers. SaaS personas change the way you target, communicate, and approach, thereby resulting in greater ROI.
14 Min Read

Table Of Contents

    SaaS buyer personas are a must have for companies selling SaaS products and services.

    Since most brands want to be recognized and endorsed by their buyers, it is critical that they know what their customers believe in, what their goals, motivations, and interests in life are.

    This not only ensures that their buyers like their products but also recommend them to their friends, family, and acquaintances.

    You need your customers to survive, and if possible, thrive.

    This is all the more true for SaaS companies that cater to different audience segments and rely on recurring purchases and subscriptions.

    SaaS companies need buyer personas to identify prospects and keep up with the changes in customer behavior. Once they have them in place, they can easily identify issues and discover how their product is being used by people.

    That said, SaaS buyer personas are the closest you can get to understanding your prospects before you interact with them.

    What is a buyer persona?

    A buyer persona represents your ideal customers. It gives you detailed information about a specific customer segment, like their demographics, goals, motivations, buying behavior, and interests.

    You can have multiple buyer personas, depending on the size and type of business you own.

    They are easy to create if you have the right persona generator tools at your disposal. If you want to build some manually, make sure that you have the following data sources:

    • Quantitative data. User data collected through website analytics tools like Google Analytics and CRM software like Salesforce.
    • Qualitative data. Customer data collected through customer surveys, feedback, interviews, and focus groups.

    Combining different customer data sources will help you create accurate, data-driven personas that will allow you to better understand your potential as well as existing prospects.

    When it comes to SaaS buyers, however, you must not confuse users with buyers.

    A user persona focuses on the way users use your product to solve their problems, while a buyer persona primarily focuses on the customers' buying behavior.

    Importance of buyer personas for SaaS companies

    Did you know that Skytap, a cloud automation solutions provider, saw 97% increase in the number of leads generated by leveraging buyer personas?

    It's one of the many SaaS companies that realized the importance of buyer personas way back in 2013.

    But how do you know if you need a buyer persona?

    It's simple. If your SaaS company is facing any of the three problems listed below, you should go ahead and create buyer personas.

    1. Too many companies with the same business models

    A business model is the way in which a business makes money. Most SaaS companies have business models that are similar in nature, if not the same.

    Take Hubspot and Salesforce for example. Or Google and Microsoft.

    Both brands offer similar services and rely on recurring payments (subscriptions) to generate revenue. This means that they work real hard on retaining existing customers to reduce churn rate.

    In order to retain customers for long periods of time, SaaS companies need to fully understand their buyers. This includes their customer journeys, current preferences, and needs.

    2. Intense competition within the SaaS industry

    With about 30,000 software as a service (SaaS) companies worldwide, the SaaS industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world.

    If you make a mistake, competitors offering the same products can come in and take your customers away. Or your buyers will voluntarily replace you with a better alternative.

    So you need to be extremely competitive to survive in the SaaS marketplace.

    An efficient way to do this is to outperform your competitors in every way possible. Build the best products, improve user experience, enhance SaaS buyer journey, and personalize every time a customer interacts with your brand.

    3. Continuous shift in customer behavior

    The tech landscape is constantly evolving. There are new products, updates, discoveries, and upgrades every two months.

    Or every two days.

    The same is true when it comes to your customers. They are constantly changing. The features they liked when they purchased your product might not be the same after they have used it for a while.

    Hence, SaaS companies need to keep up with these changes in customer behavior, needs, and technology if they want buyers to keep using their products.

    Learn what they want, the solutions they are looking for, the jobs they want to get done, and the alternatives they are considering.

    Buyer personas built with the right customer data can solve all of the listed problems and speed up the SaaS buying process.

    The B2B buying process: Stages and decision-makers

    The B2B (business-to-business) buying process refers to the stages of decision making that a company goes through when buying products or services from another company.

    From individuals realizing that they have a problem to shortlisting vendors and getting company approval, the B2B buying process involves several stages.

    The buying process for SaaS products is all the more difficult since it involves multiple decision-makers, making it necessary to develop buyer personas for each stakeholder.

    Five types of decision-makers for SaaS products

    In the sales process for SaaS-based products, the decision maker is the one who doesn't have to get the nod from someone else before making a purchase. It is usually a person in a leadership position, like a C-suite executive.

    According to Gartner, the number of decision-makers in the B2B buying group can be anywhere from six to ten.

    However, these are the five major decision-makers that influence the SaaS buying process:

    Types of decision makers in SaaS buying process

    Initiator. The individual within an organization who realizes that they have a problem and starts finding different solutions to said problem.

    Influencer. People within (and outside) the company who can influence decision-makers and convince them to purchase the product.

    Decision-maker. The decision-maker is the most important part of the sales process as they take the final decision to make a purchase.

    Buyer. The person responsible for shortlisting and contacting vendors to make a purchase.

    End users. The people who will actually use the product on a daily basis and in some cases act as the initiators.

    Each of these individuals help with the decision-making process in one way or another, making it extremely important to include them in your sales plans.

    Example of a B2B buying process for a CRM software

    Here's an example of how B2B decision-makers are involved in the sales process of a SaaS CRM software like Hubspot.

    The buying process will start with a salesperson, who notices a problem with their customer data management system. Say inaccurate data, which causes issues with customer communication.

    Realizing the need for a CRM solution, the salesperson starts looking for alternatives.

    As the problem also affects the marketing and customer support teams, the marketing manager and customer support manager will step in as influencers. They will highlight the benefits of the software to the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

    If the COO is impressed by their input, he will give the "okay" for the CRM purchase.

    The buyers will then evaluate vendors, considering features, cost, and support. They can ask the users (sales, marketing, and customer service teams) to provide feedback as well.

    After thorough research and discussions, the CRM product will be purchased.

    What are SaaS buyer personas?

    SaaS buyer personas or SaaS personas represent the ideal customers for your SaaS products and services.

    They are not the same as buyer personas since they don't just focus on the buyers.

    As explained, the buying process has multiple decision-makers like initiators, influencers, end users, and so on. The sales cycle has to go through many people and SaaS marketers have to take all of them into account.

    SaaS buyer personas are the best way to understand all your audience segments.

    They are created from rich data gathered from demographic, behavioral, and firmographic sources. Even market research, third-party data, customer surveys, and internal data can be leveraged to create SaaS personas.

    Why should you create SaaS buyer personas?

    You should create SaaS buyer personas if you want to increase conversions, sales, and revenue.

    Stats indicate that 82% of companies using personas have been able to create an improved value proposition.

    Furthermore, buyer personas give details that let you identify the needs, challenges, and preferences of your target audience.

    SaaS companies can use this knowledge to their advantage and tailor their marketing strategies, refine product features, and enhance customer experiences. Doing this will lead to better customer engagement.

    How to create SaaS buyer personas?

    SaaS buyer personas are not very hard to create if you know what you are doing. Given the type of company you run, you can have as few as two buyer personas or as many as ten.

    It doesn’t matter how many you create as long as they relay useful customer insights and suit use-cases in relation to your SaaS product.

    Nevertheless, here are a few simple steps you can follow to create SaaS buyer personas.

    How to create SaaS buyer personas

    Step 1. Conduct thorough market research

    Conducting market research should be your top priority. It will give you a good idea of how your products and services are discovered and subsequently used by professionals.

    You must have a clear understanding of the audience you want to convert into customers.

    Conduct focus groups, interviews, online surveys, etc., to find out more about your existing customers. Leverage internal data records such as conversations with sales teams, website interactions, purchase history, and decision-making triggers for gathering information.

    Online tools such as Google Analytics and social media dashboards of your handles will be a treasure trove of information that will bring you closer to creating your SaaS buyer personas.

    Below are a few questions you can ask to get a clearer idea of what your prospects and customers want from you:

    • What are your biggest pain points that distract your business from working at its best?
    • What do you like about our product/service?
    • How do you think it can help solve your pain points?
    • Are there competitor products that you prefer? If yes, why?
    • What should we do to tilt your buying decision in our favor?
    • What are the tools you use for your day-to-day business? Which ones give you the best ROI?
    • How much are you willing to pay for our product?
    • How was your experience during our free trial?
    • How long did it take for you to find value in our product?
    • Who are the key decision-makers in your organization?

    When you interview prospects, keep in mind what you already know (who they are, their role, and how they are using your product) to ask more specific questions.

    Step 2. Write down customer pains and challenges

    Unless you know exactly which problems you are solving, it becomes difficult to provide the best solution.

    Every SaaS buyer journey begins when prospects realize that they have a problem or a job they need to get done, which forces them to search for a solution. You must understand their jobs and goals, as well as the pain points that stop them from achieving that.

    Find out what drives them, their goals and motivations. Write down the areas where they are struggling. What are the challenges that they face regularly? How can you solve their issues?

    When you track customer pain points, your SaaS buyer persona will have a clearer story to tell about how your product acts as the quintessential solution.

    Step 3. Organize customer data

    Customer data in different departments that work in silos is a big issue that most businesses don't know or care about.

    Siloed data is of no use. Neither does it offer insights into the buyer’s journey nor does it provide any context into how buyers use different platforms, their behavior, and actions.

    It will drastically help you to have a unitary view of how and where this data is placed.

    When customer data is organized and becomes accessible to different departments, one can uncover hidden patterns and trends in user behavior.

    Step 4. Enrich data for segmentation

    Once all of your data is unified, you can enrich it with details like contact information to ensure that the right data is tagged to the right customers.

    Select tools that use multiple sources and touch points to automatically refresh your customer history.

    This will ensure that the data you’re working with is up to date with the current situation and covers every customer interaction.

    Missing important b2b buyer details like job description, seniority, roles (which keep changing), organization, employee count, industry, location, or revenue can prove detrimental and lead to the creation of inaccurate buyer personas.

    Once the data is enriched, it becomes easy to create different segments that can be converted into SaaS buyer personas.

    Step 5. Identify the cogs in the decision-making wheel

    There are different types of sub segments within your segments. For example, the buyers who buy the product and the users who actually use the product.

    In fact, there will only be a few people in an organization who are tasked with making decisions, while others in the same organization can only influence the process to an extent. These people can be found based on their job designations.

    Someone with the ability to influence might look more at the buying experience while the decision-maker will concentrate more on the contract's terms or the financials.

    It is essential to identify the people in the decision-making process and come up with different content and communication strategies for each sub segment.

    Step 6. Build buyer personas

    Building buyer personas should be the end game of all the research you have done.

    Once you have gathered the audience data you need as well as identified different customer segments, you should start creating personas.

    Give your SaaS buyer personas a name, a background, and a face. They should be able to tell your buyer's story - who they are, why they were looking for a solution like yours, how they discovered your product, what problems it solved, and would they recommend it to others.

    How to use buyer personas for SaaS products?

    When you know your buyer personas, you will be able to identify your customers' goals, motivations, challenges, and buying decisions that affect your SaaS products.

    You will be able to develop strategies that will be perfectly tailored to what they need.

    Here are some other ways in which you can use buyer personas to facilitate the SaaS buyer journey.

    How to use buyer personas

    Targeting:

    Marketers gather different types of customer information before they build buyer personas. The insights gathered from the customer personas can be used to refine your targeting strategies.

    For example, let's say your SaaS personas are not tech-savvy at all, the channels you predominantly use will have to be changed. You might have to make more calls to get in touch, rather than using emails or social media.

    If there were only one set of personas accustomed to reading emails, you could target them with email marketing.

    Can you see the difference that it will make to your marketing campaigns? If not for buyer personas, you would consider all of them to be the same and try to get their attention with emails, social media content, online contests, etc.

    Personalization:

    Buyer personas take your personalization efforts to the next level, improving your chances of achieving a higher ROI.

    You can drive different persona segments into separate marketing funnels and optimize your strategies for better results. A look at them will also help you gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of past marketing efforts.

    Moreover, buyer personas enable you to create personalized web content and drip campaigns. This level of customization ensures that your users receive content tailored to their needs and interests.

    Engagement and Conversion:

    With buyer personas at your side, your marketing team will no longer have to rely on hunches and guesswork to create content.

    Once you have a clear idea of what customers are looking for and the problems they are facing, you can easily create a content plan that keeps them interested and solves their problems.

    By tailoring content and sales pitches according to what personas value, you will be able to increase engagement and conversion rates.

    Customer Lifetime Value (CLV):

    Personas provide valuable insights into the results that customers expect when they sign up for your services.

    Recognizing the expectations of different buyer personas aids in designing products or services that cater to everyone's needs effectively. Buyers who know that their needs are being looked after will not be swayed by competitors' discounts or offers.

    Eventually, this customer-centric strategy will foster long-term brand loyalties and positively impact Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

    Pricing:

    During the initial stages, a crucial question to ask is how much buyers are willing to pay for your product.

    As you delve deeper into understanding your customers' expectations and motivations, the value your product brings to the table becomes crystal clear.

    You will discover what your customers like the most as well as the least about your offerings. This will help you determine the perfect pricing that aligns with their perceived value of your services.

    Pricing is the key to giving your customers exactly what they want and keeping them coming back for more.

    Design:

    With buyer personas, designers can empathize with end product users. They further simplify the design process by letting designers relate to the users they are designing the product for.

    Additionally, personas aid in the ideation process and ensure a user-centric approach.

    Buyer personas can serve as a reference point throughout the design process and align the final product with user expectations. This will enhance user experience and improve usability, increasing product adoption rates.

    5 SaaS buyer persona examples:

    Let's look at five SaaS buyer personas examples based on the product that they are buying.

    1. Saas buyer persona example for project management software: Neil Dave, CEO

    SaaS buyer persona example - Neil Dave

    Age: 42

    Job title: CEO (Chief Executive Officer)

    Company: SME with 11-50 employees

    Education: Masters in Business Administration (MBA)

    Biography: Neil is a professional with 15-plus years of experience in handling digital marketing for clients across the globe. He mainly caters to startups and mid-sized businesses.

    Pains and challenges:

    • Since there are too many clients, organizing the work and assigning them to his team has become a nightmare.
    • Projects are still being managed with a free tool that offers limited features.
    • He wants to delegate work in such a manner that he has a 360-degree view of the projects.

    Content preferences:

    • Email, Webinars, Podcasts

    What he needs:

    I am looking for a project management tool that has a comprehensive set of features with an almost zero learning curve. I want to be able to give access control based on responsibilities.

    Factors influencing purchase decision:

    • A free trial option with access to all the features
    • A pay-as-you-go subscription plan where he can know how much he would have to pay
    • 24/7 customer support
    • A built-in community for users

    2. SaaS buyer persona example for social media management software: Amy Schilling, Social Media Marketer

    SaaS buyer persona example - Amy Schilling

    Age: 35

    Job title: Social Media Marketer

    Company: Advertisement agency with 50-100 employees

    Biography: Amy works in a startup with less than a 100 employees. They plan to work with social media influencers and create more content for their media handles.

    Goals:

    • Successfully work with influencers and generate social media ROI.
    • Find a software that makes all her social media-related conversations visible on one page.

    Pains and challenges:

    • Plans to engage with influencers but does not know how to leverage branded content from them.
    • Downloadable reports in an easy-to-understand manner for all stakeholders are hard to get but necessary as the leadership team might not understand jargon-filled language.

    Content preferences:

    • Events, Blog posts, Newsletters

    What she needs:

    I am looking for a social media management software that helps me take care of the content we create on social media.

    Factors influencing purchase decision:

    • Software that makes scheduling on different platforms easy
    • Special section for influencer partnerships
    • Must not cost her company more than $200 a month

    3. SaaS buyer persona example for email marketing software: Bijoy Antony, CMO

    SaaS buyer persona example - Bijoy Antony

    Age: 32

    Job title: CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)

    Company: B2B Saas with 100-150 employees

    Education: MSc in Business Analytics

    Biography: Bijoy is the CMO of a B2B SaaS company that wants to generate leads via email marketing campaigns. They expect tons of leads coming their way and are looking to get the most out of it.

    Pains and challenges:

    • Not finding an easy-to-use tool that also offers customization options
    • Lack of segmentation abilities
    • Most email software don't have solid privacy features

    Content preferences:

    • Email, Webinars, Short videos

    What he needs:

    We are expecting an influx of leads our way and are hoping to send them a series of nurturing emails. The email software should have drip campaigns. Multiple templates that let me be as creative as possible while designing my emails is another thing I am looking for.

    Factors influencing purchase decision:

    • Affordable (preferred price range- $150-$450 per month based on the terms discussed)
    • Must have fully-built template themes
    • Ability to test A/B subject lines
    • After-sales support coupled with a repository of documents to get started

    4. SaaS buyer persona example for online survey tool: Edward Nikola, Marketing Executive

    SaaS buyer persona example - Edward Nikola

    Age: 42

    Job title: Marketing Executive

    Company: Marketing consultancy with 30-50 employees

    Education: MS in Marketing

    Biography: Edward is an entry-level marketing executive for a marketing consulting firm. The firm is looking for an online survey tool that helps them collect customer feedback and can also be used to gather internal feedback.

    Goals:

    • Conduct surface-level customer surveys.
    • Get a survey tool that lets him collect employee feedback.

    Pains and challenges:

    • Struggling to find online survey tools that don't make him walk through hoops to use basic functionalities.
    • Most tools have compulsory add-on features that are useless and expensive.

    Content preferences:

    • Email, Social media posts, Podcasts

    What he needs:

    The last tool that we used had a lot of unnecessary features we paid a bomb for. I want a tool that allows me to ask follow-up questions so that I can close the feedback loop.

    Jobs to be done:

    • Tools should help you use the basic features with ease
    • Creating and sending surveys should happen in a matter of minutes
    • Dashboard feature that lets you add filters and download reports

    5. SaaS buyer persona example for crm tool: Elsa Tom, Sales Head

    SaaS buyer persona example - Elsa Tom

    Age: 25

    Job title: Sales Head

    Industry: Technology

    Biography: Elsa leads the sales department of a tech start-up. She wants to make her workflow more efficient by getting a new CRM software that syncs all her clients’ data.

    Pains and challenges:

    • Frustrated with past CRM tools that she used for her organization.
    • A lot of issues since customer data doesn't get updated.

    What she needs:

    I am looking for comprehensive CRM software that allows for automation. The user interface is pivotal as it will be extensively used by my sales team. As long as I get the right tool, price is not a factor.

    Buying triggers:

    • Having to refresh the CRM page constantly to get the latest information hampers user experience
    • Not getting free trials with full features
    • Limited integration options in the tools available

    Influencers: She'd prefer to see case studies and video testimonials of people like herself. A custom demo can also tilt things in the company's favor.

    Factors influencing purchase decision:

    • Finding a tool that allows customizing the view and structure of the tool
    • 24/7 email support
    • The tool should share information with other collaborators quickly
    • Presence of advanced automation tools that don't require the help of a coder

    Tips to help you along the way

    One forgets to consider many factors while creating personas, especially B2B buyer personas.

    The B2B buying process is complex and if you want to offer a good buying experience, you need to keep these tips in mind.

    Context is key. Generic personas won't cut it. Only gather data specific to your target audience and related to your product use cases.

    Rely on user data. Not assumptions. Conduct thorough customer research and observe user behavior to build data-driven personas.

    Avoid personal biases. Eliminate biases that could skew your persona by asking simple, open-ended questions without trying to influence their responses.

    Focus on pain points. Instead of fixating on numbers, delve into users' pain points and challenges to create personas that address their actual problems.

    Wrapping up:

    SaaS buyer personas can prove to be critical assets for SaaS companies. By placing SaaS personas at the heart of every choice you make, you can make a huge impact on all aspects of your business, from product marketing to pricing decisions.

    They hold the power to transform your entire business strategy and ensure laser-focused targeting and tangible results.

    Delve AI creates granular buyer personas based on a variety of data sources that can help you reduce drop-offs and refine experiences during the customer journey.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is a B2B buyer persona?

    A B2B buyer persona is a detailed representation of an ideal customer in a business-to-business context, encompassing firmographic details like job title, role, experience levels, organization size, and industry. It includes the needs, objectives, and motivations of key decision-makers and influencers within the organization.

    B2B buyer personas help companies tailor their marketing strategy to cater to different decision-makers and drive conversations.

    What are the different types of decision makers in a SaaS company?

    There are five types of decision-makers within a SaaS organization: the initiators, the influencers, the decision-makers, the buyers, and the end users.

    What are the steps to create a SaaS buyer persona?

    As explained in the blog post, you can follow these steps to create a SaaS buyer persona for your organization:

    Step 1: Conduct thorough market research

    Step 2: Write down customer pains and challenges

    Step 3: Collect and organize customer data

    Step 4: Enrich user data for segmentation

    Step 5: Identify the cogs in the decision-making wheel

    Step 6: Build SaaS buyer personas

    Identify key decision makers with B2B buyer personas
    Track organizations and get marketing ideas from desirable segments

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