In order to optimise the performance of any marketing campaign, it is essential to know your target audience. This means going further than demographics to get a real sense of who your buyer is and what drives them. This can be done by building buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a research-based profile that depicts a target customer. Buyer personas describe who your ideal customers are, what their days are like, the challenges they face, and how they make decisions.
The buyer persona will outline certain features of the target audience, such as their demographics, behaviours, lifestyle, motivations, and challenges. In a B2B context, buyer personas should represent the buyers who are making the ultimate purchasing decision for a company, as well as influencers who have a say in this decision. As such, in many cases, B2B businesses will have more than one buyer persona to target.
Steps to Creating a Buyer Persona in B2B
The following are the steps to take to build detailed buyer personas that will help accelerate your marketing campaigns.
Step 1: Identify Buyer Attributes
The first step to creating an effective buyer persona is to research the customers that you want to target. When conducting this research, it’s important to try to get a deeper understanding of your audience in terms of their lifestyle, motivations, challenges, and goals.
There are certain categories that should be included in creating a B2B buyer persona profile:
- Demographics: How old are they? Where is their company based? How big is their company? What industry do they operate in?
- Career: What is their position? How long have they been working in the industry? How long have they been working for their current company? What is their buying power, and how do they make buying decisions?
- Lifestyle: What are the primary duties and responsibilities of their role? Where do they look for information and networking opportunities?
- Motivations, Goals & Objectives: What drives their buying decisions? What goals do they have for their role and the business as a whole?
- Pain Points & Challenges: What work-related problems do they have that they are looking to solve? Are there particular challenges that they face in meeting their goals and objectives?
- Objections: What barriers will you have to overcome to reach a sale? Have they had frustrations with related products or services?
Step 2: Research Ideal Buyers on LinkedIn
Once you know who your ideal buyers are, it’s time to start researching. LinkedIn is a great tool for online B2B buyer persona research, as it provides an in-depth snapshot of a variety of companies, industries, and individuals. LinkedIn can be used to look up specific employee profiles and gain insight into them. It can be used to discover how long they’ve been in the business or the industry, their education and qualifications, their interests, any specific projects they have been working on, and more.
LinkedIn also gives businesses the opportunity to share articles, connect with others and communicate with other professionals in forums. Forums can also be used to pay attention to what people are saying, which can give your business direction as to their opinions, motivations and challenges.
Step 3: Research Actual Customers
Buyer personas are based on actual customers, so getting in touch with these people is important. You should approach your ideal customers one-on-one, asking questions through focus groups, surveys, and interviews. As they work so closely with current buyers, customer-facing employees and sales teams are often a great place to start for getting in touch with these people.In order to plan interview questions, consider the attributes that you want to include in your buyer personas. Try to ensure the interviews are professional and try not to make them too long, as you are speaking to business buyers who are likely to be time-poor.
Step 4: Use Other Sources of Information
In addition to interviews, there are a number of digital tools that can be used for data analysis. Google Analytics can provide a wealth of information, from keyword insights to audience information and data on how they interact with the website. In addition to Analytics, other digital marketing platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn have data available that provides valuable insights into user behaviour online.
Step 5: Create the Buyer Personas
Once the research stage is complete, you can start building your buyer personas. In analysing all of the data you have collected, you will start to see patterns of different buyer personalities. These should be segmented by defined characteristics to create 4-6 buyer personas for your marketing and sales team to work from. For B2B businesses, in particular, it is likely that personas will be segmented by their job title – this may help the marketing team get a better idea of each persona when it comes to creating the campaign.
Each buyer persona should be delivered in a visually appealing format, putting a face to the person you are targeting. It should also articulate key points in a format that is easy to digest for your teams. Further information can be stored in a separate document for those that are interested in diving deeper into the persona.
Step 6: Adapt Your Marketing Strategies for Your Buyer Personas
Now that the buyer personas have been created, they can be applied to marketing strategies. These personas should inform all marketing campaigns, and in particular, should inform content marketing strategies so that content is created based on each persona, and which part of the buying funnel that that persona is at. In addition, your personas may inform the channels that the campaigns are running on and the format that it is delivered in.
Buyer personas can help your marketing team create messages and content that not only gets the attention of your audience but also converts them into buyers. For more information on creating buyer personas for your business, or for wider B2B marketing help, get in touch with The Lead Agency. We’re experts B2B marketing, offering a range of services including B2B branding, lead generation, and B2B marketing strategy.