B2B buyer personas are becoming an increasingly important element of the business-to-business marketer’s toolkit. This article outlines seven key points to bear in mind when researching, developing and activating b2b buyer personas in your organization.
What are b2b buyer personas?
Marketing and advertising is expensive and can be ineffective. Companies can end up marketing and advertising to people who are not relevant or who have no interest in their products or services. To avoid wasting large amounts of money, we need to focus on somebody when we communicate to our target audience rather than just anybody. The “somebody” referred to here, really is somebody – a person or a character which strongly represents our target audience.
We call these characters personas and we need to build a picture of them before we start marketing to them. A buyer persona is a character with a personality and key characteristics which help you to understand who you are talking to, designing a product for and doing business with. B2b buyer persona creation nearly always focuses on the key buyer or main decision maker of a product or service.
5 reasons to use b2b buyer personas
Creating different b2b buyer personas can have a number of benefits:
It gives you a better understanding of customers, allowing you to more effectively market to them.
It allows you to see if there are any personas you shouldn’t be marketing to.
It helps internal staff to understand customers better.
It allows you to understand how and when different personas interact with you along the customer journey.
It helps to guide decisions on the creation of new products and services.
7 points to consider when creating b2b buyer personas
Below are seven key pieces of information to consider when creating b2b buyer personas:
Demographics such as age, occupation and decision making responsibilities
Which age group does the persona fit into? What is their job title? Are they a senior decision maker or more junior? This allows us to start to understand the characteristics of the person we are talking to.
What is important to them when they are looking for suppliers?
What are the key attributes that drive their choice of supplier? Different personas might look for different qualities e.g. one might look for price, while another might look for one on one support.
What are their goals?
What are the things that they are looking to achieve in their role? For example: are they looking to streamline processes or are they looking to build a partnership with a supplier?
What are their needs?
What does our persona need to be able to succeed in their job and achieve their goals? How can we support them with this? For example, our persona might need a supplier who has an easy ordering system so that they can quickly and efficiently get on with their job.
What are their pain points?
Are there any areas where a supplier is not meeting our personas needs? Are there any key challenges they are facing which we as their supplier can help them overcome?
Which brands are they using?
Is our persona more likely to use any specific brands in particular? Why are they more likely to use these brands?
How are they interacting with suppliers?
Does our persona prefer to be contacted via email or would they prefer a face-to-face meeting?
B2B Buyer Persona Examples
The point of developing b2b buyer personas is to bring your customers to life and you can even take persona creation further! When one of our clients has a discussion about their customers they bring in a large cardboard cut-out of their b2b customer persona, for example, Promoter Pat. Although this may seem extreme, it has a serious point. It keeps the team focused on their customers and the specific audience (somebody) they are talking about.
When creating b2b buyer personas, you should always remember that that there will almost certainly be a number of personas involved in the decision making process. Business-to-business buying decisions are not usually made by just one person. This means you may need to develop a number of personas and understand the interactions between them when it comes to decision making. You will also need to make sure that your marketing resonates with each of the personas.
When marketing to the different personas, you will have the same value proposition, but you may want to use different words and images that ensure it resonates with each of the different personas. For example, a persona working in a procurement role will identify with different messaging than a persona working in a more technical role.
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