While you may have one overarching target market for your business, it’s important to consider the different types of buyers that make up that audience. And behold… the B2B buyer persona is born.
In this blog, we’ll cover all you need to know about creating and using B2B buyer personas, including the following:
A B2B (business-to-business) buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer or client within a business or organization. Creating buyer personas is a common marketing and sales practice to better understand and target the specific needs, preferences, and behaviors of different types of customers in the B2B landscape.
Why Should B2B Companies Identify Buyer Personas?
B2B companies should create buyer personas to understand their diverse customer base, tailor marketing and sales strategies to specific needs, improve communication, enhance product/service development, and ultimately increase sales and customer satisfaction.
Buyer personas provide valuable insights into target audiences, guiding businesses in creating more effective and personalized content, reaching decision-makers, and nurturing relationships throughout the buying journey. This approach helps companies stay competitive, align their efforts with customer expectations, and maximize their ROI by focusing resources where they matter most.
How Many B2B Buyer Personas Should You Have?
The number of B2B buyer personas a company should have varies depending on several factors, including the complexity of the business, the diversity of its target audience, and the range of products or services it offers.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, it’s common for businesses to develop multiple buyer personas to cover different segments of their target market.
If you don’t how many B2B buyer personas you should have, here are some things to consider:
- Diversity of your customer base
- Variety of products or services offered
- Geographic differences from one region to another
- Differences in buying behavior
- Role in the decision-making process
- Your unique market research insights
- Your resource constraints
- i.e. do you have the right employees to execute your preferred lead gen strategy?
B2B buyer personas help businesses tailor their marketing, sales, and product development efforts to effectively reach and engage their target audience.
Here are some key elements typically included in a B2B buyer persona:
- Demographic Information: This includes details such as the buyer’s job title, company size, industry, location, and any other relevant demographic factors.
- Common Goals and Challenges: Understand what goals and objectives the buyer is trying to achieve in their role and what challenges they face in doing so.
- Behavior and Pain Points: Identify the behaviors, preferences, and pain points that the buyer experiences during their decision-making process. What information sources do they trust? What objections might they have?
- Buying Process: Map out the steps the buyer goes through when making a purchasing decision. This might include stages like awareness, consideration, and decision, as well as key decision-makers involved.
- Motivation to Buy: Determine what motivates the buyer to take action and make a purchase. Is it cost savings, efficiency gains, improved performance, or something else?
- Objections and Concerns: Understand the common objections and concerns the buyer may have when evaluating a product or service in your industry.
- Preferred Communication Channels: Identify the communication channels the buyer is most receptive to, whether it’s email, phone calls, social media, or in-person meetings.
- Role in the Buying Process: Determine the buyer’s role in the decision-making process. Are they the decision-maker, an influencer, or a user of the product or service?
At Abstrakt, our business growth experts are specialized to help you define buyer personas in your audience, and implement a B2B lead gen strategy that catches the right decision-maker at the right time. Reach out to our sales rep to learn how we can be your partner in business growth!
Defining B2B buyer personas involves a structured process to gain a deep understanding of your target audience. Here are the steps to create effective B2B buyer personas:
Step 1. Research and Collect Data From Existing Customers
Start by gathering existing customer data, such as demographics, firmographics, and purchase history. In this step, it’s vital to conduct surveys, interviews, and market research to collect qualitative insights about your customers’ goals, pain points, and behaviors. This empowers you to use current client information to predict the wants and needs of prospective B2B customers.
Step 2. Segment Customer Based on Similarities
Group customers into segments based on shared characteristics, needs, and behaviors.
Here, you identify which segments are the most valuable and warrant individual personas so you can target them in the best way that encourages the likelihood of conversion.
For example, let’s consider business owner decision-makers vs. facility manager decision-makers. Business owner decision-makers are probably going to spend a lot more time before making a purchasing decision, weighing out the pros and cons of finances, quality of service, value of investment, etc.
On the other hand, facility manager decision-makers are more likely to have shorter selling cycles because they’re looking for a cost-effective solution that provides them with quick results. Therefore, you must segment these audiences into different personas so you can provide them with the appropriate resources they’re looking for.
It’s also important to consider what kind of business you are pitching: white-collar or blue-collar. White-collar industries typically have longer sales cycles than blue-collar, especially if they’re government-owned businesses.
Step 3. Name and Visualize Personas
In this step, you must give each persona a name and consider using stock photos or illustrations to create a visual representation of what they look like. This makes the personas more relatable to your team and ensures a human touch.
For example, let’s say that you’re a managed service provider that separates their target audience into two different buyer personas: one that’s primarily the head of human resources and another that’s responsible for the company’s technology. The B2B buyer persona that’s the head of HR could be named “HR Heather,” giving sales, marketing, and lead generation teams an idea of what this buyer persona looks and acts like. Additionally, the buyer persona of the technology head could be “Technology Timmy”, providing teams with insight into who they are.
Step 4. Prioritize and Validate More Ready-to-Buy Personas
Determine which personas are the highest priority based on their impact on your business. Validate your persona profiles by cross-referencing them with real customer data and feedback. This allows your marketing and lead generation teams to effectively craft content and their pitches towards these buyer personas, resulting in quicker engagement and shorter sales cycles.
Step 5. Map Their Buyer’s Journey
Understand how each persona progresses through the buyer’s journey, from awareness to decision-making. Identify the key touchpoints and interactions they have with your brand.
Referring back to the business owner and facility manager decision-maker example above, a business owner may need more information and touchpoints than a facility manager. Therefore, it’s important to consider the types of content sent to the business owner and how often to follow up via email or phone call. On the other hand, a facility manager may just want a few follow-up calls and a brochure sent to their email—but not a string of lead nurturing emails.
Step 6. Develop the Right Content and Messaging
Develop content and messaging tailored to each persona’s needs and pain points.
Craft marketing materials, blog posts, emails, and sales collateral that resonate with each persona. Additionally, make sure each blog post, email, and marketing collateral asset makes sense to each step of the B2B marketing funnel.
For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to send a selling-focused case study to a prospect that just entered the awareness stage of the sales journey. Therefore, it’s important to craft and implement more top-of-funnel content marketing materials into your introductory email.
Step 7. Implement and Train Your Sales and Marketing Teams
Share the persona profiles with your sales, marketing, and lead gen teams to ensure they understand and align with the personas. Train your teams on how to use B2B personas effectively in their strategies and communications, ensuring they’re used to the fullest extent.
Step 8. Refine B2B Buyer Personas As Needed
After your B2B buyer personas have been implemented for a while, collect and analyze data to refine your personas as needed. This should be done on a continuous month-by-month basis to explore the impact of your approach. If they don’t provide you with the results you’re looking for, adapt your personas as conditions change and new insights emerge. And over time as you collect more data, it can help you further refine your personas, or even identify new personas.
Step 9. Monitor and Measure Results From Each Persona
Last but not least, track the performance of your sales, marketing, and lead generation efforts for each persona. Then, adjust strategies based on what works and what doesn’t, allowing your team to make the proper adjustments for improvement as needed.
Creating B2B buyer personas is an ongoing process that requires regular updates to remain relevant and effective. By following these steps and maintaining a customer-centric approach, businesses can better understand and engage with their target audience, leading to improved business growth results.
Now that you have your buyer personas created, it’s time to integrate them into your business growth strategy. Here are some examples to help you effectively use your B2B buyer personas:
Create More Targeted Campaigns
Buyer personas help companies identify and focus on the most relevant audience segments. By tailoring lead generation efforts to match the characteristics and needs of specific personas, businesses can allocate resources more efficiently and increase the chances of attracting high-quality leads.
Make More Customized Content Marketing Materials
Create content that speaks directly to the pain points, goals, and challenges of each persona. Whether it’s blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, or email campaigns, personalized content resonates better with prospects, encouraging them to engage and provide their information in exchange for valuable resources.
Enhance B2B Lead Generation Methodology
Different personas may prefer various communication channels. Some may be active on LinkedIn, while others prefer email or industry-specific forums. By understanding the preferred channels of your personas, you can focus your lead generation efforts where they are most likely to be effective.
Implement Better Lead Nurturing Efforts
Create nurturing campaigns that guide leads through the buyer’s journey based on their personas. Provide relevant content and information at each stage to build trust and credibility. Personalized nurturing increases the likelihood of conversion.
Develop More Segmented Lead Gen Campaigns
Divide your lead generation campaigns into segments based on personas. This allows for more precise tracking, measurement, and optimization of each campaign’s performance, ensuring that you can fine-tune your strategies effectively.
Improve Lead Qualification Criteria
Use buyer personas to define lead qualification criteria. This ensures that sales teams are focusing their efforts on leads that align with the ideal customer profile, reducing wasted resources and improving conversion rates.
Identifying your target audience isn’t enough to achieve the results you want, which is what makes defining B2B buyer personas such a significant part of your business growth strategy. And not only is it important for lead generation, it also plays a crucial role in maintaining customer satisfaction. Understanding B2B buyer personas empowers account executives to present their clients with the best materials and encouraging repeat business and upselling opportunities.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our B2B business growth experts understand the impact of segmenting target audiences into different buyer personas, providing our clients with a lead generation solution that yields the most impact for their sales pipelines. And we know how impactful our approach to B2B lead gen is—we use the same approach to grow our business.
Curious to see how we do it? Contact a sales rep today to learn about our leading outsourced sales and marketing solutions!