Do you know the one thing all successful businesses share?
It is this: they have buyer personas.
In other words, they know who their target audience is.
In today’s fast-paced world, businesses need to connect with their target audience much faster than ever before.
If they don’t, they risk losing out on opportunities to increase revenue by engaging with prospects who fit their ideal customer profile.
There are many factors that go into creating effective buyer personas, which ultimately determine how well a company attracts new customers and engages existing ones.
However, there are five key areas that must be considered when developing a persona in order to achieve optimal results.
This guide provides step by step instructions on how to develop effective buyer personas for any B2B industry. By following our tips, you should be able to create highly targeted personas that help you attract your ideal customers while increasing engagement rates and conversion.
Why is creating a B2B buyer persona important?
If you want to know how to build a successful B2B campaign that generates leads and increases conversions, then learn how to create effective buyer personas.
By understanding the needs and wants of your target market, you can improve customer engagement and sales.
This information can also be useful in developing product features or designs that are relevant to this group, as well as in developing marketing strategies and plans. Additionally, by understanding your audience better, you may be more likely to convert leads or customers into loyal fans.
So where to begin?
Developing Your B2B Buyer Personas
Here are four approaches to creating a buyer persona:
- Research-Based Buyer Personas
- Observation-Based Buyer Personas
- Market Research-Based Buyer Personas
- Customer Segmentation-Based Buyer Personas
Let’s explore the options.
Option 1 – Research-Based Buyer Personas
One way to create a buyer persona is to conduct research. There are many different types of research you can do to help you develop a persona. Here are some examples:
Once you’ve collected all of this information, you’ll need to synthesize it to form a cohesive picture of who your ideal client is.
You can use this information to create a list of questions that will help you define your persona. For example, here are some questions you might ask yourself when trying to determine what kind of company you’re targeting:
- What are the biggest pain points my ideal client faces?
- What types of products/services does my ideal client buy?
- How did they find us?
- Do they have any unique requirements?
- What products/services do they currently use?
- Are there any special skills my ideal client has?
- Why should I care about their problems?
- What makes my product/service different from other companies’ offerings?
- Who else would buy our products/services?
- Where are these people located geographically?
- Do they come from similar industries?
- Which industries does my business compete against?
- How much money do they make per year?
As you continue gathering data, you’ll want to make sure you don’t end up with too much information. The key is to identify the common themes or patterns that emerge from your research so you can narrow down your list of questions.
Here are some additional tips to consider when developing personas using research-based methods:
Option 2 – Observation-Based Buyer Personas
Another approach to building a buyer persona involves observing your target market. In other words, you observe the behaviors of real buyers as they interact with your product or service.
This method works well if you already have an idea of what type of company you want to sell to. However, if you’re still unsure of where to start, then observation-based buyer personas are probably a good place to begin.
The first step is to find out what makes your potential clients tick. To do this, you’ll need to conduct interviews with them.
Here are some things to keep in mind when conducting interviews:
Once you’ve collected all your data, you’ll likely notice some similarities between your ideal customers. Based on these similarities, you can create a profile for each group.
Option 3 – Market Research-Based Buyer Personas
Market research-based buyer personas involve collecting data through surveys and focus groups.
Surveys are typically conducted online, while focus groups take place face-to-face. Both methods provide valuable insight into your target market.
- Allow you to collect large amounts of data quickly.
- Are relatively inexpensive.
- Provide rich detail. Focus groups are great for understanding nuances and subtleties.
- Offer a chance to connect with others who share similar interests.
- Can be expensive.
If you decide to use survey results to build a buyer persona, make sure to consider the following points:
- Survey participants may not represent your entire audience.
- Don’t assume that every participant has the same motivations.
- Be careful when interpreting quantitative data.
- Consider using qualitative data to supplement your survey findings.
Option 4 – Customer Segmentation-Based Buyer Personas
Customer segmentation-based buyer personas identify specific customer segments based on demographics, psychographics, lifestyles, attitudes, values, and behaviors.
Segmentation helps you better understand how your products and services will appeal to different types of people. It also allows you to tailor marketing messages to meet the unique needs of various consumer groups.
Segmentation can be done at two levels:
- At the macro level, you can divide your overall market into distinct categories based on demographic factors, such as age, gender, income, and education.
- At the micro level, you can further break down your market into smaller subgroups based on lifestyle characteristics, such as hobbies, activities, and travel preferences.
The first step in creating a customer segmentation-based buyer persona involves identifying key demographic variables. The next step is to determine which of these variables best describes your target market.
Step 1 – Identify Key Demographic Variables
Identifying key demographic variables is an important part of building a buyer persona because it provides the foundation for other steps. In addition to demographic variables, you should include behavioral variables (such as purchase frequency) and attitudinal variables (such as brand loyalty).
- Demographic Variables
- Behavioral Variables
- Purchase Frequency
- Brand Loyalty
- Attitudinal Variables
- Product/Service Satisfaction
- Purchasing Intentions
Step 2 – Determine Which Demographic Variable Best Describes Your Target Market
After you have identified key demographic variables, you need to determine which one best describes your target market. You might find this process easier if you start by considering the most obvious demographic variable. For example, if you’re targeting females over 40 years old, then you would probably start by thinking about age.
However, don’t limit yourself to just one or two demographic variables; think about all three.
Step 3 – Build a Hierarchy of Demographic Variables
Once you’ve determined which demographic variable best describes your target market, you’ll want to create a hierarchy of demographic variables. This way, you can quickly see what additional information each demographic variable provides.
For example, suppose you are targeting men between the ages of 25 and 45 who earn more than $50,000 per year.
Based on this information, you could build a hierarchy like this:
This hierarchy shows that age and gender provide the broadest level of detail, while income and education provide the greatest amount of specificity.
Step 4 – Create a Profile for Each Segment
Now that you know which demographic variables best describe your target audience, you can use them to create profiles for each segment. A profile includes basic information about a particular group of customers.
Profiles help you identify common traits among your target audience and highlight differences between segments.
Next step after your research, develop your buyer personas
Now that we’ve covered some ways to build your buyer persona, it’s time to dive into the process itself.
First, you need to identify what kind of buyer persona you want to build. There are two main options:
- A high-level buyer persona
A high-level buyer personality represents a group of people. It’s a generic description of your ideal customer.
A high-level buyer persona is often used in marketing materials. However, it doesn’t include any specific details about your customer. Instead, it simply describes the characteristics of your ideal customer. Typically, these descriptions are written in very broad terms.
An example of a high-level buyer persona would look something like this:
“We believe that our products will appeal to small business owners.”
“Our customers have multiple employees and run businesses from home.”
“They prefer to work on projects that require creativity and collaboration.”
- A detailed buyer persona
A detailed buyer persona includes much more specific information about your customers. It’s designed to help you understand the unique challenges faced by your particular audience. It also helps you develop targeted messaging that resonates with your target audience.
For example, if you’re selling software, you could write a detailed buyer persona that looks something like this:
Name: John Smith
Job title: Software Developer
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Company size: 1 employee
Income level: $50,000-$100,000 per year
Interests: Reading books, playing sports, spending time with family
Likes: Sports, technology, reading books
Dislikes: Long meetings, long drives, loud noises
Use Personas to Plan Marketing Campaigns
After you’ve created a buyer persona, you can use it to plan marketing campaigns. Personas are especially useful when planning social media campaigns. By knowing who your customers are and what they like, you can reach them in the right way.
For instance, you might post content that appeals to your customers’ interests or concerns. You might even send messages directly to your customers based on their behavior.
You can also use personas to determine how much effort you should put into certain aspects of your campaign. If you know that most of your customers are male, then you probably don’t need to spend as much time targeting women.
If you know that most of the people who visit your website are interested in buying your product, then you probably don’t need to focus so heavily on attracting new visitors. By using personas, you can create more effective campaigns that resonate with your customers.
Develop Messaging That Resonates With Your Target Audience
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you’ll be able to craft messages that resonate with them.
Messages are the words, phrases, images, videos, etc., that you share with your audience. They convey a message to your audience about why they should buy from you.
Messages can be anything from an email subject line to a LinkedIn status update. The key thing to remember is that every message needs to communicate one clear idea.
To do this, you’ll want to identify the benefits that your audience wants most. Once you know those benefits, you can craft messages that emphasize them. Here’s an example of a benefit statement for a manufacturing company:
“Buyers can save money by working with us because we provide high-quality products at low prices.”
This process takes time, but it’s worth it if you’re serious about growing your business.
B2B Examples: Putting Buyer Persona Information to Use
So, now that you know all the steps in creating your buyer persona, let’s take a look at some B2B examples on how the buyer persona is used by companies in their marketing campaign:
Example #1: A Technology Start-up Uses B2B Buyer Persona to Market Their Services
In this case study, the technology start-up uses a buyer persona to help them market their services.
They have a very specific customer profile: someone who owns a small business and is looking for affordable software solutions.
Their buyer persona includes the following characteristics:
- Small Business Owner – Someone who has less than 10 employees.
- Software Solutions Provider – Someone who is looking for a solution that works well for his/her business.
- Affordable – Someone who doesn’t mind paying $100 or less per month for a service.
Based on these characteristics, the technology start-ups created a buyer persona called the “Small Business Solution Provider.”
Now, when they’re developing their messaging, they make sure that they appeal to this type of person.
For example, they might write something like this:
“If you run a small business, you need to use our software to manage your finances.
It’s easy to use, affordable, and helps you track your sales and expenses.”
By using this approach, they hope to attract customers who fit into this category.
Example #2: An IT Company Uses B2B Buyers to Promote Their Products
Another example of a B2B buyer persona comes from an information technology (IT) company. They’ve identified a group of people who are interested in buying their product: IT professionals.
These professionals include both individuals and businesses. So, they’ve developed two different IT buyer personas:
- Individual IT Professional – Someone who needs to buy a new computer system.
- Corporate IT Professional – Someone who manages an entire network of computers for a large corporation.
Once they’ve defined these types of buyers, they then develop a message that appeals to each one of them.
For instance, here’s what they wrote for their individual buyer persona:
“We sell a complete package of hardware and software that allows users to easily install and configure a new computer system.
Our product is designed to be simple and inexpensive so that anyone can afford to upgrade their computer.”
And here’s what they wrote to promote their corporate buyer persona:
“Our products are designed for corporations with complex networks. They offer advanced features such
as remote management, centralized monitoring, and secure data storage.”
Example #3: A Manufacturing Firm Uses B2B Buyer Personas to Market Their Services
A manufacturing firm also uses a B2B buyer to create its marketing messages.
This time, however, it’s not about selling a product; instead, it’s about promoting their services. So, they’ve decided to target a certain type of potential client: someone who runs a manufacturing plant.
In order to do this, they’ve developed a buyer persona based on the job title of the person who will receive their services. The first thing they did was identify the various jobs that exist at a typical manufacturing facility. Then, they organized those jobs into three categories:
- Production Manager
- Quality Control Technician
- Plant Engineer
Next, they looked at how each of these jobs relates to their service. Here’s what they came up with:
- Production Manager – This person is responsible for managing all aspects of production, including scheduling employees, ordering supplies, and ensuring quality control.
- Quality Control Technician – These workers perform routine tests on raw materials or finished goods.
- Plant Engineer – The plant engineer oversees the construction of new facilities or repairs to existing ones.
After developing these buyer personas, they created a message that would appeal to each of them.
For example, here’s what they said about the production manager:
“We provide comprehensive solutions to help you manage your business more effectively.
We’ll work with you to design a solution that meets your specific requirements while keeping costs low.”
And here’s the message they used to market their quality control technician:
“We provide high-quality testing equipment and training programs that allow technicians to quickly detect problems in your factory.
With our help, you can ensure that your products meet industry standards.”
Finally, the company has developed a message that targets the plant engineers:
“With our help, you’ll have access to the latest technology and information about your plants’ performance.
You’ll know when there’s an issue and where it’s located.”
We use our client’s B2B personas when managing their social media campaigns
It’s important to me that we connect with the people who matter to our clients. I believe that this approach creates stronger relationships between our client and their audience.
That’s why we use our client’s B2B personas as the basis for our social media campaign strategies. That means that we design content that appeals to the people we think our client wants to interact with.
Our goal is our client’s goal, which may be to drive qualified traffic from search engines, social networks and other sources to their site or their landing page.
That said, as you create your buyer persona, remember that there are many ways to do it. There are many types of data that you can collect. And there are many ways to use them – including social media.
By following these steps, you can build a strong customer profile.
So whatever your business, whatever your industry, whatever your goal, make sure you collect as much B2B buyer information as possible. Then analyze it. And finally, use this knowledge to guide you forward. From there, you’ll be able to reach new customers, develop stronger relationships, and ultimately grow sales.