Putting Your Personas to Work

By Sara Riedel

Personas embody your customer’s likes and dislikes, motivations, emotions, etc. Done right, they help you make the right decisions.


Your product isn’t selling as expected. Customers aren’t buying into your pitch. And you can’t figure out why. What do you do? Panic! Just kidding. But maybe it’s time to reevaluate your customer personas. But personas need love, like any real human, and should be reevaluated frequently.



Motivation trumps logic

One of our clients was experiencing these same problems. Despite having a strong reputation in consulting, their new digital product wasn’t selling. No matter who they met with, their pitches weren’t leading to purchase.


They tailored their approach based on two attributes: the size of the organization (large or small) and the role of the specific person that they were pitching to (leadership or day-to-day executor). Though this was a logical approach, these personas didn’t address the true motivations and emotions of their customers.



Asking the right questions

We set out to update their personas by conducting interviews with past and current customers of the product. We looked at:

  • How they chose a digital product
  • Who has that decision-making power on their team
  • What features in a product of this type are important to them


Through this line of questioning, we were able to identify pain points for these customers, the true source of their emotions. After the interviews, we were able to revise the current personas to more accurately reflect customer motivations. 



Creating a path for action

The new personas included two important sources of motivation the client wasn’t previously focusing on: strategy of the organization (growth or optimization) and the size of their team (different than the size of the entire organization). These drastically affected what was important to them when choosing a digital product and were the source of two important emotional drivers:

  1. Potential customers are desperately in need of a tool that increases confidence in their decisions.
  2. Potential customers see more value in digital products that can be paired with expert consultation services.


With these insights, we were able to develop a new pitch deck that could flex based on customer motivations. 



In conclusion… listen then sell


So, if you’re having a hard time converting browsers into buyers, devote time to listening first—as you get to know your customers, your approach will become clearer. Just like real people, your personas are ever-evolving, so don’t be afraid to tweak and modify them the more you learn. It’s not about perfection, it’s about understanding your personas and acting accordingly.

Still unsure where to start with your next user research project or creating personas? Let’s chat! 

Sara Riedel