A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character who largely fits into one of your target audiences because they share the characteristics and traits of your ideal customer. It is an essential tool for marketing your content, which when implemented properly, saves you from expensive and ineffective marketing. Studies suggest that 93% of firms that have exceeded lead-gen goals use B2B buyer personas to guide their content and marketing strategies. So, there is no coincidence that so many are talking about it.
Buyer personas explore your customer to a deeper level. They paint a vivid picture of who they are and what drives them toward your product or service. Sort of like characters in a book, they have strengths, passions, and flaws.
Buyer personas start with a demographic target, say females 20-30 years old. Then add characteristics and traits to whittle it down to one single person. That is your typical b2b buyer persona. Your typical B2B buyer persona using the above demographics could be something like the image below.
How do you create a B2B buyer persona?
If you have an existing customer base you can start analyzing them to identify common traits and characteristics. Find out with the series of interviews and surveys what similar goals and challenges they have and what services or products could suit them.
Or you can imagine what your typical consumer looks like if you do not yet have customers to talk to.
It is recommended to do both exercises in parallel, even if you have a customer base, to see how well the results of either exercise match.
Each business niche has its priorities when it comes to marketing. The traits and attributes to consider for buyer personas would differ as well.
Some universal characteristics in each B2B buyer persona can be: How your company can be found, is it via social media or by referral. What are the main means of communication, do they prefer face-to-face old school, via a zoom meeting, or simply via emails? Do they have a history of using a specific brand or methodology for their tasks?
Going further, the following are the more detailed traits to consider when creating your B2B buyer personas.
1. Background and Role in the Company
As a B2B company, you are dealing with other businesses. However, it is the people in that business who interact and close sales with you. You need to target the people who can influence the purchasing process and get the deal done.
Avoid wasting time on the wrong people or trying to sell to someone with no authority. Single out the right person with the most authority to influence and market.
Know their background, previous work, and endeavors, reach outside their firm, likes, dislikes, etc., and add it to your buyer persona.
2. Challenges and Pain Points
Identify what troubles your customers, and what keeps them up at night. What key challenges they are facing in their business or when dealing with you, that can hinder them from buying your product?
Understanding this problem can help you strategize more targeted marketing practices.
3. Goals and Motivations
An effective B2B buyer persona not only includes the goals of the whole company, but the motivations of the person making the sale decision. You are trying to sell your product or service to them along with helping that person achieve their personal goals. People tend to be more receptive when they know you care for them.
“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Teddy Roosevelt
Ask questions like:
What is the company or person trying to achieve?
Does the company want to scale up, reduce costs, and grow in business?
Could our services help the person move up the ladder in their company?
4. What can you do for them?
You know their challenges, goals, and motivations. Now write how can you cater to their needs knowing what you know. How can your services be customized to cater to them? Coordinate with your sales team which personnel shall you connect with them and how much time and effort needs to be given. Also, devise a messaging and communication strategy based on their challenges and goals.
Why are my Buyer Personas not good enough?
You are not alone in asking this question. B2B Buyer persons are critical for marketing performance. However, about 60-70% of B2B businesses admit that they do not truly understand their buyers. There is a gap between the perceived value and the actual value of buyer personas, and closing this gap is the next phase to bolster your B2B buyer Persona.
Here are some common reasons why your buyer personas are not effective.
a) It is a little more than a demographic segmentation
Your buyer personas should have a comprehensive view of the traits, motivations, and attributes of the humans involved rather than demographic segmentation (e.g., Business Development Manager of a large corporation). Understand your targets as humans, how they make decisions, their behavior, and what motivates their actions.
“Once you know what influences their emotions; the questions, concerns, and fears they may have; what they are most interested in; and what motivates them, you can use this to plan your content marketing strategy. These insights are your honey pot.” – Beth Cochran, Founder WiredPR
b) They are created in a bubble
The process to get personas right involve time – conducting interviews with people, collaborating with various departments in your firm, and vetting the results with an open mind. It does not work if you are shut behind closed doors in a conference room creating a document with your own biases. The persons need to be internalized by the people who use them.
c) They do not lead to an active market strategy
Your buyer persona is useless if it does not translate to an active marketing strategy. Your buyer persona should act as a guide and add value to your market strategy. It is not a checklist item to be filed away when completed.
The persona should be your go-to tool that can be referenced at any time during the buying process to help create relevant marketing programs. It should be able to specify the content and resources needed to be prioritized. Lastly, it should help you understand the emotions at play in solving a problem or reaching an objective.
d) Personas are not updated regularly
B2B Buyer personas are not refreshed until it’s too late. Your user data changes, trends arrive and fade out, technology constantly involves, and your client company may have hired new people with authority. All of this suggests that updating your buyer persona is of extreme importance.
Keep track of all trends and evolution within your industry, products, buying motivations, and technological advances. Your updated buyer persona should reflect all these changes so that you are at the top of your marketing game.
Your B2B buyer personas can be an extremely powerful tool in developing marketing strategies for how you connect with your buyer. As long as it is truly developed with the intent to understand your buyer’s motivations and goals.
As a marketer, you must realize the value of buyer personas and devote the time and effort required to develop them.