Profiles as a concept

Profiles describe the types of people we are interested in helping.

Motivations for describing a profile includes

  • Improve confidence in and ability to reach out to and communicate effectively with a profile
  • Build a deep and intuitive understanding of and focus on which outcomes the profiles are trying to achieve (as apposed to focusing on what we would like to help them with)
  • More easily qualify or disqualify a prospect (based on whether they fit a profile we have decided to serve or not)

Identifying a profile

If your organization has existed for some time, you have probably already seen a pattern in the people that you are helping, and you'll be able to deduce a set of profiles from that insight. You might also have had specific thoughts or discussions with regards to which types of people you want to help, and which types have proven not to be worth the effort.

If you, on the other hand, are just starting out, these patterns and discussions may not have emerged yet.

In this case, before identifying a profile, aim to have met with at least two people with a similar/overlapping set of desired outcomes before identifying a group of people as a profile. If you don't, you might incorrectly assume that one person cares about the same outcomes as someone else based on relatively superficial characteristics like their role.

Naming a profile

The intuition when naming a profile (especially if you're delivering to the B2B market) is to use job titles. In a profile context however, this doesn't give us much to work with as people seemingly in the same role aren't neccessarily focused on the same outcomes.

For better profile naming scheme, try combining these three factors in the profile name:

  • Role
  • Situation/circumstances/context
  • Use case/problem

Here are some examples

  • Founder (role) of a scaleup (context) who has just received funding and is looking to grow the team (use case)
  • A worker (role) new to the job market (context) who is starting their first job and is anxious (use case)

Creating more specific profiles helps us narrow down the outcomes and more easily personify and identify with the profile.

Be wary of creating too specific profiles, as there won't be enough people matching it, and as a result it will make less sense to invest time and effort into building out and targeting the profile.

Which profiles are worth describing

Since creating a profile takes time, it does not make sense to create profiles for anyone and everyone you might encounter or think of.

We want to focus on describing profiles where the benefits of sharing the profile insight with other team members outweights the cost of organizing and absorbing the insight.

When considering adding a profile, check to see if it matches the following criteria:

  • We expect there to be a significant portion of people matching the profile
  • We are motivated by the thought of helping this profile
  • We are welll equipped for helping this profile
  • Targeting this profile would be benefitial to our strategy and long term goals

External and internal profiles

The intuition when describing profiles is to focus on the people outside our organization that we're looking to help (external profiles). However, most teams within an organization also have a role in helping people inside the organization (internal profiles).

Here's an example:

A product team within a tech company might identify their external profiles as different types of users of their product. However, the product team also needs to satisfy internal profiles, like:

  • Tech, who are looking to best understand what to build and how it should look
  • Operations/customer success, who could be looking for the product to reduce some of the pain they experience when working with clients
  • Investors, which could be looking for the product to become more self-serviced in order to scale more quickly

In order to get a balanced view of priorities and stakeholders, make sure to consider both external and internal profiles when deciding which profiles are worth describing. 


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