Your customers are all individuals. They have their own lives, interests, fears, and dreams – no two are the same. While this is a lovely way to look at things, it can make it really hard to target the right people because everyone’s so different. This is particularly true for B2B brands who are targeting job roles and companies rather than everyday consumers.
In fact, many brands fire out generic messages and try to capture everyone with their marketing. But this can be counterproductive; you often end up pleasing no one when you try to please everyone.
Enter B2B buyer personas.
While it’s impossible to create unique and personalized campaigns for every single prospect, you can group people into similar persona types and create content for those instead.
What is a B2B buyer persona?
B2B buyer personas are profiles of customer segments. They highlight key characteristics and information about each segment that will help you create messages that truly resonate.
If you aren’t convinced, here’s some stats to put it into perspective:
- Content created specifically for personas increases customer engagement by 58%
- 93% of companies who exceed their lead and revenue goals segment their database by buyer persona
- Using buyer personas to drive email campaigns improves open rates by 2x and click through rates by 5x
Understanding who your customers are, what they’re interested in, and what they need from you can help level up your content, increase sales and revenue, and improve the performance of your marketing campaigns – what’s not to like?
What should a buyer persona include?
B2B buyer personas are slightly different from B2C buyer personas because you’re targeting a person as part of a company rather than as an individual. While B2C brands might be interested in the magazines their customers read, what they do in their spare time, and what their family role is, B2B brands should be more interested in workplace challenges and goals.
As a general rule, B2B buyer personas should include:
- Demographic information: basic information about a prospect’s age, location, and sex
- Job profile: key facts about a prospect’s job role, including their salary, seniority, and main tasks
- Psychographic information: deep-level information about a prospect’s biggest fears, challenges, dreams, and goals
- Pain points and challenges: information about what a prospect struggles with the most at work or in their business
You can dive into as much detail as you like for each one of these areas.
Psychographic questions to ask when creating your personas include:
- What is my prospect’s main business goal?
- What are their values in business?
- What issues are they most concerned with at work?
- What challenges do they face on a daily basis?
- What are their career or business dreams?
- What does an average week look like at work?
- What platforms do they use to carry out research?
- What motivates them to do well at work?
These questions will help differentiate a mid-level manager who wants to impress their boss by presenting a useful new time-saving tool from a CEO who struggles with an inconvenient micromanaging habit.
Wrike’s Facebook ads are targeting users with a specific pain point – not getting the details they need from work requests.
Why B2B buyer personas are important
The problem with personas is most companies create them without actually speaking to their audience. As a result, they have an assumptive version of their audience that doesn’t always match reality.
When you create solid B2B buyer personas, you’ll notice the difference.
Why? Because you’ll be able to:
- Personalize the customer experience
- Better understand your customers
- Create more successful marketing campaigns
- Guide decisions in making new products and services
- Interact with your customers better
Salesforce’s product range suits a variety of different needs and customer pain points.
What do you do with B2B buyer personas?
Later in the piece, there’s a step-by-step guide to creating a B2B buyer persona, but first of all, let’s look at what you can do with them. It’s no good putting together a comprehensive overview of your customer segments and then filing them away never to be seen again.
Instead, your buyer personas should fuel everything you do, from sales calls and prospecting to creating content and managing your social channels.
1. Map out the sales funnel
Knowing what your prospects want and need from you will help you create a sales funnel that tackles their questions and objections every step of the way. For example, if you find out that one segment of your audience is regularly on LinkedIn rather than Facebook, you can focus on creating LinkedIn ads to catch top-of-the-funnel prospects.
Lighter Capital knows their audience is mostly hanging out on LinkedIn, so they serve lots of ads there.
2. Create content geared towards real-life needs
Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what your prospects want. Instead, use information collected from your buyer personas to create content they actually want and need.
For example, if you discover that one of the biggest struggles your prospects face is managing their time, you can create content around helping them do that.
Podia’s content is geared towards an audience interested in email marketing and empowering course students.
3. Improve marketing campaigns
Marketing campaigns rely on targeting the right people in the right place at the right time. Understanding who your prospects are and where they’re hanging out will improve the visibility of your ads and marketing messages.
On top of this, you’ll be better fixed for writing copy and creating visuals that really resonate with their wants and needs.
Facebook’s ad targeting capabilities let you really hone in on your buyer personas.
4. Enhance lead scoring and sales calls
Your sales calls will run far smoother if you know what questions to ask and what matters the most to your prospects.
In addition, buyer personas can help elevate your lead scoring efforts and vice versa. Scoring can provide validation of your personas, highlighting whether personas are showing up in your funnel, where they’re showing up, and whether they’re turning into qualified leads (and customers!).
Scoring can also help you improve your top-of-the-funnel results. Use FIT scoring to build target segments for paid campaigns where you can run high-performing retargeting ads to lookalike audiences. The more you can match your ad audience to your buyer personas, the more click-throughs you’ll get and the more qualified leads you’ll attract.
Your B2B buyer persona template
Now, it’s time for you to create your B2B buyer personas. Here’s a template of information you can include, but feel free to tweak it to fit your own needs.
- Job role
- Company size
- Main tasks
- Reports to
- Biggest challenges
- Main goal
- Daily struggles
- Preferred platforms
- Tools used
- Business values
How to create a B2B buyer persona
Creating your B2B buyer personas means learning more about your prospects. There are plenty of ways to do this, but it’s crucial that you actually do some research rather than taking a stab in the dark.
Here’s how to get started.
1. Identify your best customers
Use CRM data to identify who your most loyal customers are or who your biggest spenders are. These are most likely the kinds of customers you want to replicate, so understanding what they look like in real life is the first step in the process.
Alternatively, if there’s a segment you haven’t reached yet but want to reach (for example, enterprise companies), research the key characteristics of some of your dream customers.
2. Pinpoint what information you need
Deciding what to include in your buyer personas will inform your sales funnel and content creation efforts, so it’s important you get it right.
Think about what information would be good to know. For example, it might be crucial that you know a prospect’s job title, but not so crucial to know what their fears or values are.
Write down a list of attributes you want to know about your customers that you think will be beneficial.
3. Real-life research
Remember, we’re not in the business of making assumptions. Instead, go out and find prospects in the wild to discover the real answers to your questions.
There are a few ways you can do this – some easier than others.
- Customer surveys: ask your best customers to answer a series of questions about their challenges, goals, and purchase barriers. Collect and store this information in one place, and identify any patterns that emerge
Mastercam offers customers the chance to win something if they respond to their survey.
- Customer interviews: dig deeper by interviewing two or three of your best customers to really understand what makes them tick and what they need help with the most
- Social listening: scour social channels to discover what your target customers are talking about, what content they read and share, and what issues are on their minds right now
- Tap into data: analyze data from your analytics or CRM to get demographic data and behavioral information about prospects
Discover basic demographic data in Google Analytics.
4. Bring your personas to life
At the moment, you just have a list of answers or sentences on a page. It’s time to bring those to life by giving your B2B buyer personas a name and a photo.
You can then picture them in your head (or above your desk) when creating content, writing ad campaigns, and planning sales calls.
5. Repeat two or three times
It’s highly likely that your customer base is made up of lots of different kinds of people. For example, your product might be a good fit for mid-level managers at large enterprise companies as well as CEOs of small businesses.
If this is the case, you’ll need to create more than one B2B buyer persona because it’s highly likely that these two different segments will have differing wants and needs.
Repeat steps 1-4 for each customer segment you want to create until you’ve covered all bases and have a persona for each type of customer you want to target.
B2B buyer personas drive your entire strategy
B2B buyer personas might feel like just another thing you have to do, but they fuel every single part of your strategy. From identifying and qualifying leads to running successful marketing campaigns, and creating happy customers, everything relies on you understanding your audience, their wants, and their needs.
Use your B2B buyer personas to enhance your lead scoring efforts with Breadcrumbs. Get started today.