HOW TO BUILD B2B BUYER PERSONAS
In B2B markets, there could be anywhere between 1-6 stakeholders involved in a buying decision. In addition to this complexity, a B2B research study found that nearly 50% of buyers are now spending more time researching multiple alternatives online. So achieving B2B sales is getting tougher as each day passes!
To succeed in this tough environment, we need to strive to work smarter not harder and that work starts with the profiling of your B2B buyer personas. Begin by determining who your ideal customer types are. Often this is involves working out which channels are most important to the business. From here you can start building out your ideal B2B buyer personas.
Watch our webinar on how to create a buyer persona
Is a Buyer Persona the same as your target market?
The answer is no, your target market is a simple representation of the basic demographic information around your buyer. Whereas a Buyer Persona is a far more detailed deep dive into your buyer’s lives and is ultimately a semi-fictional character who represents your customer’s goals, feelings, idiosyncrasies and much more.
You most probably will have a multitude of different buyer personas for your prospects and customers. For example, they may have only slightly different job functions, goals, needs and challenges, however this understanding will lead to greater personalisation of your offer and creation of relevant and targeted content for a better chance of winning.
Buyer Personas are used to help inform all of your sales and marketing decisions and are vital in any form of inbound sales and marketing plan. They are useful for anyone in your team that is creating sales and marketing activities such as sales email templates and documents to marketing communications like copy, design or advertising.
This ultra-detailed view of the customer buyers is easy to talk about, but how do you actually create them?
Practical ways to build B2B buyer personas
We recommend to start by using our free buyer persona templates for this very purpose.
However, the process needs to being with research. The strongest buyer personas are backed by market research and insights sourced directly from your consumers through the following sources:
Utilise sales team customer insights
No one is technically closer to your customers than your sales team members.
Use a sales and marketing workshop or tailored interviews to draw out information and the key insights about the different buyer personas. This collaboration at the beginning of the process of building your B2B buyer persona will ensure tight alignment and a great start for designing the questionnaire guide for customer interviews.
Engage in exploratory, fireside chats with prospects, ‘best’ and ‘bad’ customers
It’s quality over quantity when it comes to qualitative research with customers and prospects. Again, quantity of respondents is not critical here – after 3-5 interviews you should be able to identify common themes.
Begin by setting up an environment where customers don’t feel threatened (particularly those ‘bad’ customers). Then use your best exploratory interviewing techniques to drive deep understanding around their goals, role, challenges, where they go to research, your competitive set and their perceptions around your business offering.
Utilise 3rd party and syndicated quantitative data
Syndicated quantitative data can help to build a story around your B2B buyer personas. Roy Morgan's Helix personas are a great source of this information.
Another great tip to use is to visiting forums such as LinkedIn, Reddit or Facebook groups that you think your buyers may be interested in and view the comments to see what they are talking about. For example, focus on product reviews. Use this information to identify pain and gain points for your customers. For ideas and a list of product review sites visit this HubSpot blog.
If you have any trouble gathering or sorting through your research, reach out to us for a chat.
Once you have your research sorted, you can create your buyer persona by organising their information in the following way.
Start off by giving them a name. Use something you will remember, like Mal the MD.
Step 1: Who
Using the research information and insights you have collected document items such as background, demographics and identifiers such as communication preferences and behaviour patterns.
Step 2: What
Now it’s time to document your persona’s goals, motivations, challenges and what our role can be in helping to achieve their goals?
Step 3: Why
Preparing real quotes from real consumers and common objections is a great way to prepare sales team members for likely conversation scenarios.
Step 4: How
It’s one thing being prepared but going a step further by preparing how messaging should be conducted and how you should describe your solution to your persona is the next level in preparation. Closely understanding the elevator pitch will increase the chances of success.
Here is a simple example of a buyer persona for the building and construction industry entitled Mal the MD:
The Managing Director is typically a male aged 35-50 who started in construction management 20 years ago and has been at his current company for 10 years where he has climbed the ranks. He has a calm demeanor and is smart and professional. Married and with 2 kids aged 8 & 10, his goal is to keep his family happy and financially stable and at work to have smooth running projects and a growing business. He is constantly challenged by available financial resources and tight time frames. He requires reliable people and technology that are good quality and easy to manage.
Personas are your first step towards personalising your marketing to the multiple stakeholders you need to influence when it comes to the buying decision. Once you have completed your personas you can bring them to life through info graphics and display them around your office, present to your team, or assist with agency briefings.
For the buyer persona templates and a detailed guide to building your own personas, download our eBook How To Create Buyer Personas.