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What are SaaS Buyer Personas?

SaaS companies not only have to identify potential customers, but also keep pace with changes in customer behavior even more than in other industries. If you don't keep up with this race, you'll quickly lose subscription customers as a SaaS provider. But that doesn't have to be the case: Saas personas help - we show how.

 

First of all, what is SaaS? The abbreviation means "Software as a Service" and is a cloud computing service that is hosted and maintained by the provider. Users can either install or access this software over the Internet without having to install it on their own computers or servers. They rent the use of the software and pay subscription fees.

Many users - many wishes

SaaS Buyer Personas are data-driven personasthat represent the ideal SaaS customer. In other words, a SaaS Buyer Persona characterizes the prototypical user of a SaaS service.
There are both B2C and B2B users, and the way they use the service differs significantly. The best-known example of a B2C SaaS is cloud-based storage and backup services such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
In the B2B sector, SaaS is often used by companies to have software applications available for business purposes. Examples of B2B SaaS applications are customer relationship management (CRM) software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, logistics software or project management tools. Again, the users within a company differ significantly, e.g. logistics needs a completely different software than marketing.

So, since there is no one SaaS application, SaaS Buyer Personas are a must for companies selling SaaS products and services. They need a SaaS Buyer Persona for each segment they want to sell their services to because:
You need to know exactly who subscribes to a SaaS service, for what purpose, with what motivation and budget: An individual for their personal backup? The accounting department of a medium-sized company? The CRM department of a large corporation? These three examples alone reveal worlds of different budgets, goals and needs.
But it goes even further: Who exactly is this person in the large corporation who is responsible for ensuring that the CRM runs perfectly? What pain points does she have in your department? Which ones personally? Is she an early adopter when it comes to new technologies? Or is this person rather skeptical, has a lot of questions and reservations, needs to be gently persuaded? If so, the SaaS service sales department would have to approach them quite differently to be successful.
Have you spotted any terms in this text so far that seem like jargon? The SaaS provider's sales and customer service departments need to take that into account as well, always depending on who they're dealing with. Otherwise, frustration can still arise even after a subscription has been signed - and no subscription is uncancelable...

Last but not least, one must not confuse buyer and user in software solutions. With B2C customers, they usually coincide, but in the B2B area, buyers and users are often different people, who often even work in different departments. However, the fact that buyers in a company coordinate with users should be covered by the persona. At Persona Institute, we solve this with a persona playbook that covers all stakeholders as well as their relationships with each other, and the customer journey: We analyze the complete Buyer Center and create separate Persona-Sedcards for the most important stakeholders. See also our article on Buyer Personas vs. Buyer Profile vs. Buyer Center.

Keeping pace with customers

SaaS companies need buyer personas not only to identify potential customers, but also to keep up with changes in customer behavior. Every few weeks these days, there are new products, updates, discoveries, and upgrades. With that, customers change, too: Features they liked when they bought or subscribed to a product may not be the same after a while. Or they may no longer meet their needs. So SaaS companies need to keep up with changes in customer behavior, needs, and technology.

If you don't participate in this race, don't know exactly how customers use the product, and can't anticipate future needs, you will quickly lose customers and your livelihood as a SaaS provider. With about 30,000 SaaS providers worldwide, there is a lot of competition that dissatisfied customers can switch to.
Whoever understands customers best will be ahead in this race for the best customer engagement. This includes their customer journeys, their current preferences and needs.

With the help of regularly updated data-based SaaS Buyer Personas, SaaS providers always keep their finger on the pulse of time, technology and customer needs. This then makes it easy to win customers and keep existing customers on subscription, because: 90% of companies are able to create a better understanding of their customers with the help of personas.

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