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How to Use Customer Data to Fuel Your Lead Generation Strategy

How to Use Customer Data to Fuel Your Lead Generation Strategy

Yvonne Hall
October 5, 2020

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One thing that COVID remote work reminded many of us of is how important  our user experience and messaging is to our bottom lines. While staying safer at home, websites saw an increase in traffic. But how many companies were able to convert more leads with that increased traffic? Even more importantly, how many organizations did not even have an opportunity to convert leads on their website because it was not properly optimized? 

We've talked before about the importance of website optimization for search, website user experience, and growth driven design strategies, but there is another aspect that is crucial and must occur before any tactical decisions are rolled out for successful campaigns.

Enter personas, a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer. Notice that I did not use the term 'target audience' or mention demographics. A persona goes much deeper than that. 

What is a Persona? 

Let's start with what a personas IS NOT.

A persona is not just a jumble of stats and demographics. A persona goes to another level. 

Target Audience VS. PERSONAS

In traditional marketing, we are often taught that it is important to know your target audience and demographics. For example:

Males, 11-18 that reside in the Denver metro area


Female professionals, 36-55, sole income provider, in zip codes 80134, 80112 & 80115

Though personas do include target audience demographics, the goal of a persona is to take that demographic information and build upon it to help answer questions as you are building marketing and sales assets. 


Likewise in B2B sales, you might have been taught to think in terms of job titles to determine a prospecting list in addition to the target audience demographics. 

That could sound something like this: 

CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of a $2M+ company that is headquartered in the US. 

Although adding the job title does bring us closer to building a persona that is not the end of the persona creation. Much more job detail is required to properly form a scenario that will inform how marketing and sales assets are created. 

A persona is the creation of a semi-fictional representation of an ideal prospect or customer with deeper stories that allow you to use that persona as a basis to determine what will motivate the steps you desire for lead generation and lead nurturing. 

Why Should You Use Personas? shared 33 mind-blowing stats about buyer personas and included these lead conversion statistics:

  • 56% of companies have created higher quality leads using personas.
  • 36% of companies have created shorter sales cycle using personas.
  • 24% of companies gained more leads using Personas.

Personas Ensure Proper Strategy and Execution 

Whether you call them target personas, buyer personas, or avatars they all remind marketers to put audience aspects ahead of our own personal preferences. One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is to assume they know what customers want and need in their product or service, especially if it is based on the marketer's viewpoints. Even if the marketer is in the target audience demographics, they may not fit in the parameters of an ideal client. The only way to truly know the information is to look in the data and ask the people in your company that speak to prospects and customers regularly. Although educated guesses could produce some positive results, using personas to craft the strategy and messaging increases your return on investment (ROI). Without a complete view and understanding of your customers, marketing and sales assets could fall flat. 

Using Existing Data and Insight to Build Personas

The best way to build an accurate persona that will lead to higher conversions is to use the information you already have on ideal customers. This will take four steps (I did not say this was easy, but these are critical).

Identify your Ideal Customer

  • Review your customer data and talk to your teams to create a list of ideal customers. Which customers are preforming optimally and are helping your organization to reach its goals?  We recommend this be the focus of your data review and persona creation, but keep an open mind when you see or hear other compelling data. 

Gather all the real data points you have on attributes and experiences of those matching customers.

  • You have data in your marketing software, Google Analytics, and your social accounts. 
    • Social Media Examiner shares how to pull existing Facebook Audience Insights by accessing Business Suite or creating a custom audience in Facebook to learn more about your existing customers.
    • Valchanova suggests using your Google Analytics audience to give you a bunch of data on:
      • Gender
      • Age
      • Locations
      • General Interests
    • Your customer database should be able to expand on website traffic analytics of how they arrived on your site and also tell you what pages they looked or content they engaged with to help inform pain points. (HubSpot not only has attribution reports but now you can create multi-touch attribution reports!)

Determine the key factors

  • Interviewing the teams that talk with your prospects and customers regularly will unearth a mountain of insight that is necessary to properly hear and see persona data points including pain points and obstacles.
    • Content Marketing Institute suggests these 5 questions:
      1. What questions do you receive from prospects?
      2. What are existing customers saying?
      3. What internal content is used to help your work?
      4. What skill set do customers need to purchase our product?
      5. What do customers say about our product?

Create your persona

  • Here are the items we recommend for a complete persona (grab our fillable PDF template ):
    • Education (could include certificates or licensures)
      • Job and career path
        • Could include number of direct reports, level of reporting path, job responsibilities, or purchasing roles
      • Family Background
    • Demographics
    • Average revenue per user
    • Transactions per user
    • New versus repeat customers
    • Frequent customers.

Don't forget of course to keep track of your findings in a central place. We like to add things to our fillable PDF Persona worksheet that you can access by clicking below. Happy Data Hunting!

Develop Your Buyer Personas