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Get Started with Personas

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe what a persona is.
  • Articulate why you’d want to use personas.
  • Recognize the importance of basing personas on real user data.
  • Describe how Salesforce creates personas.
  • Distinguish different approaches to personas and when you’d use them.

Introducing Personas

With this module, we’re going to delve deep into personas and how to use them in your business. But first an essential question: What is a persona?

Personas can be described in many ways, but for the purpose of this module, a persona represents a group of users clustered based on shared behavior, motivations, goals, pain points, or other characteristics. Personas help you keep your key user groups at the front of your mind when making decisions about your product. Effective personas are created based on research to ensure that they reflect the real people who use your product.

If you’ve completed the UX Research Basics module, then you learned how to collect and analyze data about your users. (We highly recommend this module and not just because it’s all about UX, one of our favorite topics.) One way to bring user research into the design and development process is to use personas.

You can think of the personas we’re introducing you to in this module as archetypes or character sketches. There are many different approaches to personas, but in all of them, the personas don’t represent one specific user, but rather a synthesis of many users who share attributes that are meaningful for your process. So, for example, if you were creating a new restaurant in an area with a lot of offices, it might be meaningful for you to consider creating different personas, based on factors like how often people buy their lunch, what they like to spend on their lunch, and how health-conscious they are.

Personas are like categories of people that help you keep your users at the center of the design process, without having to remember hundreds, or even thousands, of individuals’ behaviors, motivations, and goals.

In the next four units you’ll get to know the Salesforce personas for Sales, Service, Marketing, and Experience Clouds. In the last unit of this module, we’ll walk through how to apply the Salesforce personas to your users. Depending on your organization’s size and structure, you may find that all of the personas are present in your organization or that only some of them are. Or you may find that some of your users map to more than one persona. Don’t worry! This is all perfectly normal.

Why Use Personas?

Now that we have an understanding of what personas are, let’s talk about how they can make your design and development process easier.

We use personas to help us build better products by understanding our users and designing for their needs.

Personas capture a large number of users and highlight information about them that’s key to making meaningful decisions about your products.

Personas help you better understand the real people who use your product. Beyond title or role, personas provide insight into users’ work behaviors, and the tools they use to get their jobs done. Pretty cool right?

Personas the Salesforce Way

At Salesforce, we treat personas as archetypes of our users, viewed through the lens of the cloud that they use. Salesforce personas are crafted through rigorous data collection (observations, interviews, surveys) and analysis. They’re more than a simple title or role—they’re based on real users’ behaviors, attitudes, desires, capabilities, tools, and perspective on the product, all within the context of their needs.

Our personas are based on the general tasks users perform in their roles, rather than focusing only on what they do in their Salesforce CRM. Why do we do this? Because the Salesforce platform is highly flexible and customizable. This means people at different organizations may carry out the same task using different Salesforce features or products, or even other systems. Good news—by asking about users’ goals, motivations, and general tasks, we are able to get a fuller picture and find similarities between users across different companies.

More good news—we’re going to share these personas with you! The next three units will cover personas for the Sales, Service, and Marketing clouds. #winning

Different Needs? Different Personas!

The personas we’re going to introduce you to in the next three units are abstract—they don’t have a specific name or individual associated with them. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes personas have specific names, have a photo of a person associated with them, and include demographic information such as age, gender, and family, as well as personal details like hobbies. These personas can be useful for building empathy and making the users seem real.

That’s cool, so why don’t we do that at Salesforce?

Because we have such a diverse range of users. We focus on more abstract personas that can be adapted to many different organizations and contexts. Does that sound familiar? Just like Salesforce itself can work in different organizations, our personas can too! This means our personas can represent the diversity of our users and avoid relying on stereotypes or unconscious bias. #DownWithUnconsciousBias

In the next four units you’ll get to know the Salesforce personas for the Sales, Service, and Marketing and Experience Clouds. In the final unit you’ll learn how you can use these personas in your organization.


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