Personas for better user needs -“Would this make sense to Gus ?”

Personas bring life to faceless users and customers for you. They help differentiate similar roles in an organization and thus help you with nuances you have to build in to the CRM system to address the needs beyond the obvious. Developing personas of your users is an excellent practice, whether your system is used by consumers or businesses. Ultimately, there’s a ‘person’ using the system and that’s what the persona describes.

Movie actors write up a character backstory when they receive a script. The writer may not write such a backstory out but the actor develops a whole persona. This practice is similar to what we are suggesting here – a backstory to the characters.

For each user type, create a specific persona, a specific character. Give a name, age, interests, occupation. Think about the persona’s activities outside the scope of the system you are developing.  Complete the attributes for each of the fictional characters with quotes and anecdotes. Attributes may be demographic (age, gender, employment), psychographic (values, attitudes, interests) or behavioral (motivations or emotions).

Personas represent and describe the target users for the system you are building.

A CRM system for a sales organization could yield personas that vary in terms of experience, personality, attitude, needs and learning style. A salesperson pursuing new business vs. one pursuing account growth may have very different needs and processes in the CRM Sales system. Similarly personas for Sales Managers, Sales Operations users or Inside Sales Reps will reflect different needs and processes.

One of our projects involved building a customer support system for a medical devices firm. We studied the customer support agents and their managers and developed broad categories they fitted into:

Rookie Customer Support Agent
Veteran Customer Support Agent
Product Specialist Customer Support Agent

The persona we developed for the Veteran Customer Support Agent was named Gus. While the system focused on features that appealed to the rookie and product specialists, it was important to constantly ask ourselves if the social and mobile features we were implementing was intuitive for Gus to use. Gus was not an active social media user, did not access email on his mobile device and often printed documents to read them. The fictional character Gus, is the inspiration for the title of this post.

Ramana Metlapalli
Ramana Metlapalli
Ramana is a Managing Principal at Varasi. Ramana is a lifelong learner and eternally curious about what goes into making some individuals and organizations, high performance ones. He writes about Business Analysis, Salesforce best practices and the world of Consulting.