This is part two in a series. If you have not read the first part you can do so here.
The Buyer's Journey
"Businesses that are thriving in today's market define and understand their buyer personas so they can deliver personalized content at the right time in the buyer's journey." 
Let's assume that everyone alive is a potential buyer. Erase everything else you know -- geographies, currencies, governments, education, everything. Start with that premise. Okay, there are certain countries you cannot do business with so feel free to remove those, but continue on with the premise. Now randomly pick a country you have never done any business in and look at its specifications like government stability, currency, GDP, etc. See if the World Bank has a rating on the place. Now come up with no fewer than five different customer roles that could reasonably stem from such a place.
Let's walk through a test case here assuming that our randomly chosen country is Burundi. Some quick facts:
- a) One of the world's poorest nations
- b) Recently had some kind of 12 year, ethnic based civil war
- c) Has a "shattered economy"
- d) Serious political instability  with a constitution rewritten only ten years ago
- e) "uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel"  indicates they are still using trees for fuel
- f) Overall the place is smaller than Maryland but has a population of over 600K in its major city, Bujumbura (2011)
- g) In 2010 Burundi's infant mortality rate is 63.44/1,000 live births  which ranks them 20th worst in the world
- h) Many Burundians are hungry, literally: " 61.5% of the population cannot meet their basic needs in terms of calorie intake" 
- i) Low World Bank rating: "the country still ranks low at 180th out of 187 countries in 2013" .
When developing our profiles we do not want just anybody. Instead we want people that we can refer to as 'referral engines.' These are people who are ten times as likely to refer your services than the average person because they perceive it to be integral to some goal of their own. Remembering that we are talking about Open Source software solutions in the laboratory informatics space in Burundi. Here are some profiles with that in mind:
- 1) Who: People involved with higher education in science and public policy areas. Why? High infant mortality can mean that there is not enough disease identification and treatment among young Burundians. That means more blood work and lots of blood work means labs.
- 2) Who: Any organization providing grant money to Burundi for agricultural purposes. Why? Low calorie intake means Burundians need to learn how to convert usable land to crop production in a sustainable way. That may mean switching to plant types that consume less water and are resistant to disease. Developing the 'right' strain means building and utilizing labs.
- 3) Who: Government officials with science positions. Why? Helping to solve the country's problems are likely in their job description. They may also be in the right position to recommend funds be directed toward laboratory development.
- 4) Who: Ambassadors and other dignitaries from leading countries that deal with Burundi. Why? If your product helps them achieve their mission it will aid in their own future political aspirations. That and they could probably introduce you directly to someone in a rich country that can finance your entire project with a single check.
- 5) Who: News media. Why? They need stuff to talk about. Find someone that works for a Burundian media outlet with a degree in math or science and feed them news stories of nearby successes or initiatives. An article titled, 'If we only had more labs, children would not die,' appearing in a local paper can mobilize the spring-latch on government and other pocketbooks.
Tell Me About the Money
Oh yes, about the money. You have to be a bit daft if you really think that a poor country's inability to directly pay for your product/services has any bearing on whether you could make money working with them. The World Bank has been coordinating grants to Burundi. People are literally giving them money, which means that positioning your offering closer to the monetary sources, appealing to them, and establishing success metrics for those sources is key to getting paid. Will that mean setting up an office in Burundi or nearby? Possibly. But in a country like this the salary rates have to be incredibly low so finding local resources could be affordable.
Profiles are not random thoughts about people who, by themselves, might want your product or service. Research shows us that most people are followers, not leaders. That is, before they make decisions they look around to see who else is doing the same or seek validation from outside of themselves. You must appeal instead to leaders, people who have the capabilities to make things happen. Often these people already have initiatives underway. They are working toward something; these people do not believe they deserve to live without some goal to tackle. Your goal is to provide sufficient reason for them to adopt your product/service as a key part of the solution they are trying to bring about. This means that your profiles are essentially based on the pressures they are experiencing. Get to know their challenges and their personas as well as where the money is coming from. Once you have all that you simply need to set up a booth where they'll see you; get an introduction; or drop by unannounced and ask if you can meet with them. Do whatever it takes to associate your product/service with the success of their initiatives.
-  How to Get Customer Referrals. http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/08/how-to-get-customer-referrals.html
-  BBC News Africa Burundi profile. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13085064
-  CIA Factbook - Burundi. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/by.html
-  World Bank on Burundi. http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/burundi/overview
Citation: FOSS Sales Pt 2: Referral Engines. (2015). Retrieved Wed Mar 22 22:12:29 2017, from http://www.limsexpert.com/cgi-bin/bixchange/bixchange.cgi?pom=limsexpert3;iid=readMore;go=1426865370