A proven way to determine what you want is to visualize success. Many consumer marketers use buyer personas to do just that - create an ideal customer or client to focus their efforts on.
But these companies are working to catch individual consumers making decisions on their own, not as part of a group. As a B2B marketer, you’ll can reap the rewards of this practice, but the initial setup is a touch more complicated.
Creating a B2B buyer persona is by no means impossible, but several extra factors must be taken into consideration. We’ve created this step-by-step guide below to help you deal with those considerations:
Examine Existing Customers
A great way to get started is to look at the customers you already have to see what they have in common, beginning with the most loyal. Ask these questions to find their commonalities:
- Is there a common or usual industry that we appeal to in particular?
- Where are these companies located?
- What are the demographics of the decision-maker?
- Was the decision-maker the first to be contacted, or were there several levels of command?
- What position have we had the most success with?
The more commonalities you uncover, the better. This step is best completed by surveying contacts directly, or speaking with your sales reps about individual traits and quirks.
For the sake of this article, let’s say that you find that your current customer base has a significant number of accounts that fit this description. Our main contact is the business development manager
The majority of these managers are:
- Under 40 years old
- Have a bachelor's degree
- Travel frequently
- Are sports fans, though no team holds majority
- Appreciate coffee gift cards
- Watch Westworld
- Most businesses our company services bring in between $10 and $15 million annually
- The majority of our client brands create consumer software solutions
- Our customer base is split between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin, TX.
This information is vital for segmenting your target audience and helping you pinpoint your marketing messages.
Determine Your Ideal Customer
Consider this like making a realistic wish list where you take what you know you’ve already got and brainstorm what you want that’s a level or two above that.
For example, if you’ve been attracting millennial business development managers in medium sized businesses in Texas and California, build on that.
Are these small business from a specific regions of Texas and California? if they tend to be in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin,TX, you can assume that these millennials appreciate startup culture and life.
If, on the other hand, they’re in Houston and San Diego, it’s more likely that they’re corporate minded. Once you’ve built up your image of your current audience, step up one level.
Reach for the C-Suite of slightly larger (by revenue) companies, and explore areas with a similar culture. At this point your end result may be:
- Our ideal contacts are CMOs with marketing firms bringing in over $15M annually
- They live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Beach, San Jose, and Berkeley, CA as well as Austin, San Antonio and Houston.
Imagine Their Typical Day
This step is essential to having a useful buyer persona, as it will dictate how you approach them once they’ve been found. Consider:
- What social networks do they use?
- Where do they get their news and industry information?
- How busy is their day?
- Do they prefer email or phone communication?
- What departments do they work with most frequently?
The best way to find these data points is through research. Survey your current customer base and find studies that indicate leanings. This step is time-consuming. So give your team some time to complete it.
Find Out What Stresses Them Out
The final step is also critical, but can be done by analyzing the positions they hold. Determine not only what makes their days easier but also what the main barriers to purchase are. Then tailor your sales efforts to this information.
To generate it, ask the following questions:
- What problem does our product or service solve for you?
- How frustrated are you before you make a purchase?
- Who else needs to approve the deal before you purchase?
- What pricing would most likely work for them?
- What price is out of their range?
- How can we help you make the case to buy to other decision-makers?
Answering those questions fleshes out a Buyer Persona. Remember to give yourself time and resources to complete this task. Once you’re through, you’ll be much more equipped to tackle lead gen and sales activities.
And don't forget to update your buyer persona periodically. Things change over time, and you need to stay abreast of those changes for your buyer persona to pay off.
Last Word—Know When To Ask For Help
It’s no secret: Creating buyer personas take a significant amount of time and effort researching, as well as contacting clients and ensuring that you stay within reasonable bounds. As with everything in life, it’s okay to know when to ask for help.
The team at LeadCrunch would be happy to not only help you build your buyer persona, but also generate new leads, so that your team can get back to doing what your team does best—help your customers.