Skedsheet Blog

Where we talk about the product, calendars, organization, and business

Building a second persona

with 8 comments

more_mannequin_heads_wili_hybrid I liked the process of writing out my first buyer persona for skedsheet.  That persona was a composite of people I’ve run into while we’re marketing JobTracker and overlaps with hundreds of our customers for that product.  There are still a lot of holes, but later I will work through each persona in a little more detail.  I have no idea why this feels right as a post – probably because I want to invite commentary or criticism.  If you have any, please lay it on.

Persona two is Denise.

Denise is a 27-year-old senior recruiter at a Fortune 5000 retail company.  This is her second job out of college, and she believes it’s the one that will propel her career.  Although she’s not technically a supervisor yet, she is taking on the role of managing her two peers in the department. 

Denise’s ambition and organizational ability have already added a little more sanity to the process of bringing in the executive hires that she has helped recruit.  Because the economy is a little shaky, she’s also extending her skills beyond recruiting by helping to document and standardize the whole process that happens after someone has accepted her job offer – something they internally call “on-boarding”.

Both because of her outgoing personality and the nature of the job, Denise is incredibly involved with networking – both online and offline.  She’s got got accounts on facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace, as well as a number of other smaller social networking sites.  She’s in constant contact through her blackberry via IM and SMS throughout the day, and usually once per week goes to an event for one of professional organizations she’s involved in.


Written by Harry Hollander

April 9, 2009 at 7:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. The next step is to look at how Denise perceives the solution you want to market to her. Why hasn’t she become a customer yet? When you present the solution to her, why will she resist buying it?

    You say that you compiled Denise based on customer interactions, so be careful that you aren’t too positive about Denise. She isn’t a customer now (or she’d be a customer, not a buyer persona). You want to use Denise to assess what will be needed to persuade her to become a customer.

    Adele Revella

    April 9, 2009 at 11:24 am

  2. If you’re looking criticism, you’ve come to the right place 🙂

    I agree with Jason Fried here: where he talks about personas like this being B.S.

    We’ve never used them at Moraware before, because we always just talk about customers or prospects — not some made up amalgamation. Because if you’re making up the persona, you can also make up their rational for buying, which is not helpful. With real companies/people you can actually test your assumptions.

    Ted Pitts

    April 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm

  3. Oops…I forgot to phrase my criticism in the form of a compliment sandwich:

    How about this:
    1) Thanks for writing this blog, the previous post was very interesting.

    2) This persona is useless. Why not just talk about the actual senior recruiter at a Fortune 5000 company who needs Skedsheet that this persona is based on?

    3) You’re an excellent skier.

    Ted Pitts

    April 9, 2009 at 12:23 pm

  4. Maybe you’re right – this could be wishful thinking and I’m wasting time building a hypothetical person.

    I suppose the other way to approach this is to talk to everyone I know and see if they have a problem that skedsheet solves. That’s scary because there aren’t enough data points…but I’ll start with the real recruiter I know (Eric) and see if some of his colleagues have the same types of scheduling spreadsheets that he does. Then it’s people, not personas.

    But, on the other hand, even when we talk about our existing customers and prospects, we don’t know a whole lot of detail about the individuals – we’ve built up an amalgam of who they are based on talking to hundreds of folks in the same boat. For each role (Office manager, production manager, owner) we have a list of things they care about. Kind of like:

    Is that different than a persona? Maybe it’s not quite as silly because they don’t have a name?

    Harry Hollander

    April 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm

  5. I don’t think lots of data points is the criteria for success. It’s having a few really valuable data points. i.e. What are a few real problems we can solve. Then we can make sure Skedsheet solves those problems really well.

    This is how we have had success with JobTracker. If you look at our feature request database, it’s full of specific customers asking for specific features to solve specific problems. (There’s other stuff in there, too, but not of much value.)

    If you list the 10 best features in JobTracker, I can tell you exactly who requested that feature to solve what specific problem. Similarly, if you list the worst 10 features in JobTracker they are usually vague concepts that we thought would be useful, but turns out they weren’t. (A few were one-off requests that we should have ignored, but didn’t.)

    Ted Pitts

    April 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm

  6. Harry:
    You’ve got it now — the issue isn’t whether you build personas or not, the point is that you need to find out sooner rather than later how real buyers will relate to your solution. Personas are just a tool to capture that information and share it with internal stakeholders, eliminating fuzzy or conflicting perspectives about who the buyers really are and how they think.

    We try to get people to take this step before they build a product, but almost everyone does it after the fact. So yes, its possible that you’ll find out something negative, but at least this will give you a chance to change it or to refocus your efforts on a part of the market that really will love your product.

    Adele Revella

    April 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm

  7. […] writing a buyer persona a waste of time, or did it it lead to a discussion and some ideas that might be valuable?  How […]

  8. […] it was a conversation – and it will be as I start interviewing folks to ferret out some new markets – my dream conversation would look something like this: Q: How are […]

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