In social settings, it can be challenging to talk to someone you don’t know. Once you ask the typical questions of “what do you do?,” “do you have kids?,” or “how about those Browns?,” sometimes that’s all you’ve got. It’s no different for a B2B seller. If you don’t have a good knowledge of the person(s) you are trying to talk to and what makes them tick, the conversation can be short and ineffective.
As a B2B seller, considering the desires, goals, patterns, and behaviors of your customers is a key step in accurately marketing and selling your products or services to them. This can be achieved through the development of B2B buyer personas.
What are B2B buyer personas and why are they necessary?
A B2B buyer persona is a representation of the type of customer(s) that you currently target or new customer groups that you want to target. Identifying buyer personas not only helps you find customers. It also helps you identify and create content to help your buyers find you. According to Aberdeen Research, companies that effectively use personas and map educational and marketing content to the buyer’s journey enjoy 73% higher conversions from response to qualified lead.
Your investigation of a persona should include information about motivations, frustrations, expectations, personality, and basic demographics which can be put together like a profile or story. As a result, your persona can be related to as a real, living, breathing person using your product or service. Make your personas realistic by giving them actual names and photographs. This will help your whole team ensure that every design and content choice going forward will resonate with your target customers.
How to create a B2B buyer persona
Ideally, making contact with your existing customer base and/or desired customers and conducting in-person interviews with them is the best way to discover your personas. Unfortunately, that may not always be feasible. If it’s not possible to interview in-person or even by phone, surveys can be sent to gather information. No matter how you gather the information (in-person or via survey), be sure to ask open ended questions about:
1) Who they are,
2) What problem(s) they are trying to solve, and
3) How they relate specifically to your products or services.
Make sure to ask questions that cover their goals and motivations for purchasing decisions, any concerns they may have about your products and services, where they typically go for information, and basic demographic information about them. The Buyer Persona Institute offers some great information on buying insight if you are interested in researching further.
Once your information is gathered, you should be able to identify similar patterns. Group people with similar profiles into one persona. There is no perfect number for personas – it all depends on the products and services you offer and your type of business. When identifying B2B personas, don’t be vague or try to cover too much ground. Try to drill down to the most powerful decision maker or influencer when it comes to making purchases.
Why are buyer personas important to your business?
It is important to know how your customers think and good buyer personas can offer insight to different parts of your business. Products and services can be improved from customer/persona feedback. Your design team and content writers can benefit from getting to know your personas’ personalities, observing how they talk and behave, and what their interests may be, allowing them to craft site design features and content that really speak to your customers’ struggles and help them find solutions.
Even the process of investigating and identifying buyer personas can be of benefit to a business. They might discover that the people they have been targeting through their marketing efforts have absolutely no interest in buying their product or service.
Once you have identified your buyer personas, don’t stop interacting with them. The needs and frustrations you identified for your personas may be relevant today, but not in a year. Staying in touch with personas and recognizing the need for new personas can support the successful evolution of your business. Work it into your marketing plan to review personas at least once a year, if not every 6 months.