Do you use buyer personas in your marketing? Many B2B marketers depend heavily on personas to boost sales. In fact, 63% of businesses use buyer personas.
Used judiciously, they're a great tool. They can help you learn more about your target audience and better understand how to reach it.
But buying personas aren't silver bullets. They won't help you slow weakening sales all by themselves. So while they’re a vital start to understanding your customers, they shouldn’t be your only port of call.
To get the most from personas, you must build effective profiles that help you understand who your customers are and how to reach them.
Below are seven tips on how to create effective B2B buyer personas:
As B2B influencer Aaron Agius says, “Unfortunately, buyer personas have one major weakness: they’re completely made up.” While this statement is true, it doesn’t make them useless. It just means you have to keep them in perspective when employing them.
Use the following tips to create on-target buyer personas.
- Begin with the background
The first step in forming a B2B buyer persona is to start with the basics. In the world of B2B you’re selling to a company not a customer. So you need to think about B2B companies in terms of the business owner or the company's key executives, not the business itself. You can't develop a buyer persona on a business.
So review your customer database and figure out who you’ve sold to in the past. Then get some basic information on them. Are they young entrepreneurs with a college degree? Are they middle-aged executives who used to work for a big corporation?
Use this basic information to form the foundation of your buyer persona.
- Research the company's background
Once you get this basic information, match it to the company's information. What sort of company are they likely to run and what are they going to want from your B2B product or service?
You need to answer these questions if you’re going to understand the company as well as its senior executives. Repeat the step above but on the other companies in your customer database.
- What's their price point?
Your price point is important because it helps determine who your customers are. If you happen to be selling a solution for $10,000, chances are a small business owner pass on buying it.
Your price point helps segment which businesses are likely to be interested in your B2B offering.
The reason why you’re thinking about the end user and not the business itself is because this will determine what the business can afford. Often, who they sell to determines what they’re willing to pay for a solution.
- Learn their challenges and goals
B2B marketing is about solving problems. Two people can buy the same B2B service and want totally different things from it. So assuming that all your customers have the same problems will sabotage your B2B buyer personas before they get started.
As B2B influencer Marcia Riefer Johnston says, “What if, instead of creating personas from our imaginations, we found out everything we could about the flesh-and-blood people we want to sell to and keep happy?”
So talk to as many different customers as possible. Find out what problems they have and what different end goals they have. Keep that information in mind when building your personas.
- Determine their pain points
You also want to learn what customers do daily? Map out their day-to-day lives as best you can. It will help you understand where their major pain points are.
Figure out where they’re losing time and where they could make improvements. This effort can uncover issues that customers didn't know they had.
- List their aspirations
Solving a problem is one thing. To create effective B2B buyer personas, you also need to know about the aspirations of your customers.
Offering to help them achieve one of those in the long-term is a powerful selling point that you can use to your advantage when selling to them.
- Why wouldn’t they buy?
Now it’s time to use some of your experience in B2B firms again. Go back to the people who didn’t buy from your B2B company and discover why they decided against buying.
You want to determine specifically what prevented a sale. These are the barriers to selling you must overcome.
This information can not only help you to figure out weaknesses in your business, but also highlight weaknesses in your targeting approach. Address these weaknesses in your buying persona.
Conclusion – Buyer Personas Must Be Fluid
B2B buying personas aren't set in stone. They have to be fluid. Your customers are changing all the time as the industry evolves. So plan to update them as time passes.
At that point, you'll need to determine what they want from you and where they’re going in the future. B2B marketers need to develop an intimate knowledge of their industries to create effective buy personas that help boost sales dramatically.
What do you think is the key to forming a buyer persona in the world of B2B?