Defining your Customer Personas is key, not just for pricing but for product, marketing but also your positioning. They simplify and classify your ideal customers into clearly identified personalities, with pain points, way to look at the world, day to day routines etc. By having clear Customer Personas you're able to judge how best to push your product and decide what your customers value.
To take an example, an antivirus software may have a couple of different customer personas, with a very different use case, decision making process and pricing structure:
Individuals who struggle with computers and just want to be protected
Individuals who are looking for a comprehensive solution with antivirus, firewall etc. at the cheapest cost possible
Businesses who want to protect their teams and network from intrusion, and are looking for a custom solution and ongoing monitoring and training
As you can imagine, the way you price for each of these customer personas would be very different. Not understanding their differences would make it extremely hard to make any pricing decision, let alone build and market the right product.
Avast's pricing page for individuals focuses on a free basic product, and a unique premium product, with several add-ons that get added on the checkout. No price is mentioned - potentially to ensure anyone not ready to buy just yet downloads the free version.
Their business pricing however displays a clear price per device and year, and offers no free option but instead a progression with additional features for the most selective.
Strong customer personas have the benefit of having everyone in your teams speak the same language when it comes to customers, and make decisions with specific people in mind.
What Does A Good Customer Persona Look Like?
Customer Personas are slightly different if you're a B2C company selling to individual customers, or a B2B company selling to decision makers in other businesses.
It’s actually very common for a software company to target both personas, with a different value proposition, pricing and experience for each.
They typically include:
A name and photo, to make them as personal as possible - "Carol the Cost Conscious" or "Martin the Marketer" for example
Their background and demographics: their work or role, age, gender, income, location…
Their goals: what are they trying to achieve that your product can solve?
Their challenges / pain points: what are the real problems that your product can solve?
Their objections: what is worrying / confusing / annoying them in your product?
Your positioning and benefits: how do you pitch your product? What are the "wow moments" for your customers?
How Can You Create Customer Personas?
Start by talking to your customers, or potential customers.
Complement this by listening to sales calls, diving into product usage, reviewing support tickets and spending time in any other window into your customer's minds you have at your disposal.
If you are targeting B2B customers, it’s much easier to have a discussion with them than if you sell $7 apps. Make sure you ask "why?", as great personas understand and explain the rationale / motive behind customer behaviors, rather than describing symptoms and signals.
If you are targeting B2C customers however, in-app feedback and surveys are often more effective (even though they do not replace direct discussions with customers).
As an example when working with one of our sellers on their growth opportunities, we noticed that many of their customers, who had a professional email address, had purchased a family pack. After surveying this previously unidentified segment, it turned out that they were purchasing it for their business and that they could be better served with a dedicated product and billing model.
As people are notoriously unreliable in describing their own expectations, focus on asking for clear examples when they've had to do something in the past, and dig to understand when they had the problem, why they decided to look into it and how things went from there.
If you want to dig deeper into the topic and see example interview questions, read the detailed guide to creating B2B buyer personas and guide to creating B2C customer personas. The Mom Test is also a good resource for further help in having efficient customer interviews and get to the real important insights.