People, it’s time to get real about buyer persona research.

Buyer persona interviews are the most important – and often the most daunting – part of creating actionable, in-depth personas. The light at the end of the tunnel is critical voice-of-customer insights that help organizations to remove bias, identify the problems faced by their buying audiences, and make more relevant decisions in marketing, sales, and throughout the business.

Industry research shows that conducing primary research in the persona creation process is paramount to their success. Our friends at B2P Partners found that the vast majority of buyer personas (72%) created without external research were deemed “ineffective” in a recent study. That same study shows 77% of personas deemed “extremely” or “very effective” are based on new external insight.

Talking to those outside of your organization helps to shine a light on the unknowns surrounding specific issues and problems. Tony Zambito advises that Best-in-Class organizations use buyer research to solve otherwise perplexing mysteries, remove the bias in subjective internal opinions, and remove the agenda surrounding buyer persona development.

Here are 15 questions to ask in your next persona interview. For more, download the Ultimate Persona Interview Guide by Cintell and Samantha Stone.

Questions related to organizational context

1. How is your team structured? What is the title of the person you report to at work?

2. What’s the most frustrating part of your day?

3. How much would you spend without checking with someone else?

Questions related to propensity to buy – strongly agree, somewhat agree, strongly disagree, or somewhat disagree

4. My [your category of products] is easy to use

5. I’m likely to change our current [your category of products]

Questions related to the buying process

6. When was the last time you purchased [category of offering]? Describe the process to me?

7. What triggered you to make the purchase?

8. Who else was involved in the purchase process?

Questions related to personality

9. How would your peers describe you?

10. Who is a personal hero of yours?

Questions related to motivators and priorities

11. What’s the hardest part of your job?

12. What are your top four priorities this year?

13. What have you regretted not doing in the past six months?

Questions related to content clues

14. What was the last professional event you attended?

15. If I were to look at your Google search history what would be the headlines of the last three articles you read related to [category]?


Interview-Guide-Cover-750pxRead more tips from Samantha Stone in our free eBook
the Ultimate Persona Interview Guide.