by Jayne Burch
Does it seem like your website's slacking off, and your marketing just isn’t working the way you want (or that your boss is demanding?) If this sounds familiar, consider developing B2B buyer personas for your company. Chances are, your marketing isn't targeted enough.
Most marketers will agree that targeted campaigns are more effective. Many marketers will even say they know who their target market is. But, they tend to describe their target market as a group or segment of the population they assume will has an interest in their offerings.
Targeting a group or demographic misses the fact that it's individual people who buy - real people who buy for individual, mostly emotional reasons.
For B2B companies, designing buyer personas is the way out of mediocre lead generation and sales.
What's a B2B Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona goes beyond broad demographics to describe emotional needs and wants, interests and motivations. It's a detailed description of a person who is your ideal customer.
Buyer personas are based on research and real-life information about your existing customers. A strong persona helps you to personalize communications and make them more engaging. Buyer personas will guide everything from the content you create, to what you say in your email, to how the sales team approaches the sales process. Ultimately, you want your customers to feel like you really get them when they read your website, blogs or speak with sales.
Why B2B Buyer Personas?
So what’s the point of personas? Simply put, more leads and customers.
“According to “Understanding B2B Buyers a 2016 Benchmark Study, companies that consistently met or exceeded their targets for “marketing qualified” leads did so by developing, maintaining and incorporating personas into their daily routines.”
In B2B, personas help you build real insight into your target audience, understand their business needs, the content they value and the channels they prefer.
Building your content around your personas will help build a steady flow of quality inbound leads.
With B2B there are often multiple stakeholders involved in purchasing decisions. Knowing what motivates each stakeholder’s purchasing decision is essential for building a successful inbound marketing campaign. Marketing to the wrong person could mean your content isn't getting in front of the eyes of the people who might actually buy what you're selling.
The real question is, why don’t more businesses develop and use strong personas in their marketing and sales processes? The main reason is it takes time, effort and the corporate will to change routines and beliefs.
Like a strategic plan, personas are more useful when they are incorporated in all aspects of marketing, sales and customer service. Using personas ultimately becomes part of the culture and how marketing and sales work together. For some companies it’s a challenge to make the shift, but totally worth the effort.
When it comes to supporting your B2B marketing efforts, buyer personas help to:
- Better target and promote your content
- Speak the "language" of your most likely customers in your marketing materials
- Gain better-quality leads
- Tailor sales pitches
- Inform product development
How to Design a Strong Buyer Persona for B2B Marketing and Sales
Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers, prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience.
Here are some practical methods for gathering the information you need to develop personas:.
1. Determine who is actually in charge of making the purchasing decisions in your industry.
In B2B, there are most likely many people involved in making the decision to buy your product or service. The CEO might be the one pulling out his credit card, but he is probably not the one who did the initial research.
2. Interview an actual person.
Interview customers either in person or over the phone to discover what they like about your product or service.
3. Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.
4. When creating forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture important persona information.
For example, if all your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms. You could also gather information on what forms of social media your leads use by asking a question about social media accounts.
5. Take into consideration your sales team's feedback on the leads they are interacting with most.
What types of sales cycles does your sales team work with? What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?
6. Do research using available databases and analytics.
- Google Analytics data
- Social media data, (especially Twitter)
7. Give your personas a face and a name. (e.g. Purchasing Paula)
Write your persona down. Find a stock photograph that is a good match for the persona you’ve developed (not an actually client photo.)
8. Write a story about a day in the life of your persona. Take into consideration everything you know about your persona.
The strongest personas are developed with multiple perspectives from multiple points of contact in your organization – marketing, sales and customer service. Consider enlisting help from colleagues.
Please do us a little favor and share this article with others, for there’s a good chance that it will help them with their lead generation.
To help you get started using personas and content marketing, DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE "7 Tips for Creating Irresistible Content and Offers". You will learn how to create content that drives traffic and generates leads.
Entrepreneur | CEO | Lead Generation Systems Expert | Inbound Marketing Expert Through Marketing Monsoon she has helped hundreds of business owners to develop automated marketing systems with their website. Ms. Burch has a background in organizational development and leadership development in large healthcare organizations. She is a Graduate Master Business Coach.