As a B2B marketer, there’s a good chance you are a part of a large team, which is one piece of a much larger organization. While your team may have all types of strategies in place to carry out marketing messages, without B2B buyer personas, you could be missing the mark when it comes to getting your efforts consumed by target audiences.
B2B buyer personas are fictional representations of your target audience members, which help to better align campaigns all along the buying journey. When executed effectively, they can lead to better alignment even outside of the marketing department, and as a result, a boost in customer engagement and sales.
While all of the above may sound great in theory, the truth is, there is an art to creating effective B2B buyer personas. In this post, we will cover the following key steps:
- Identify the Need for B2B Buyer Personas
- Outline Your B2B Buyer Persona Template
- Gather the Data
- Populate Your Buyer Persona Template
- Match Buyer Personas to Your Sales Funnel
Let’s get to it!
Step 1: Identify the Need for B2B Buyer Personas
In the marketing and sales worlds, things move fast. Very fast. In fact, we can be moving so fast and getting so much done at once that we can lose sight of who all of the efforts are geared towards. In sports, it’s fairly common to hear a coach or teammate say, “keep your eye on the ball!” Well, the same is true in marketing and sales – we always have to keep our eyes on the ball, which in business, means producing sales and marketing collateral that hits the exact buyers we want to interact with.
If your organization is producing great material but not seeing an uptick in customer loyalty or a boost in sales, you could benefit from B2B buyer persona development. By deeply understanding your buyers and creating personas, your sales and marketing teams will have more consistent messaging and will most certainly achieve goals at a higher clip.
Step 2: Outline Your B2B Buyer Persona Template
After your team has identified the need and agreed to take action, it’s time to start outlining the elements that should be included in your B2B buyer persona template. As you embark on this process, consider including the following points:
- Target Market: Outline your ideal company profile. Think about annual spend, industries, size, etc. This will serve as the foundation to house your individual personas.
- Demographics: Identify the target job title, age range, experience, and decision-making power of your target personas.
- Key Motivators: Determine what this individual’s goals are within the organization. Are they focused on increasing ad sales? Technology advancements? Increasing ROI? This will help to ensure you are gearing efforts to the proper pain points on an individual basis.
- A Day in the Life: Describe what a normal day looks like for the target buyer. What do they do on a day-to-day basis? How do they go about researching? What goals do they strive to achieve daily, weekly, monthly, yearly?
- Goals: Identify why this individual might be performing research. Are they looking to answer a very specific need? Are they looking to purchase an all-encompassing service or solution for their organization? Are they simply looking to expand their own knowledge or looking to share with others?
- Challenges/Solutions: For each persona, create specific pain points they would want to be answered and ensure you have products or solutions that you can offer to help them overcome said challenges.
Step 3: Gather the Data
Now that you have your template in place, the next step in the B2B buyer persona process is gathering all of the data and populating the fields. Here are some commonly-used resources for gathering buyer data:
- Online Research: Thanks to social media outlets like LinkedIn, we are able to go online and start painting a pretty clear picture of what makes our buyers tick. LinkedIn will allow you to see details about your target companies or industries. You can even take a look at the current employees at the target organizations’’ profiles to see their experience and interests.
- Talk to Sales: Most organizations could benefit from improved marketing and sales alignment. As marketers, the sales team can be a critical resource for understanding the leads coming in – and better yet, what characteristics are shared among the most qualified leads. Schedule time to talk with sales or simply have them share the data they have on file.
- Analyze the Data you Have: If you have web analytics in place such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you can see which pages on your website are the most popular and what words or phrases are driving visitors from search engines. Use this data to inform your persona development.
- Talk to Customers Directly: Last, but certainly not least, it’s imperative that you set up time to talk to your most loyal customers directly. This can be done through phone interviews, focus groups, surveys, and more. These conversations will uncover critical information and will likely make the customer feel even more appreciated by your organization.
Step 4: Populate Your Buyer Persona Template
With all of this data in hand, it’s now time to start building out your personas. It’s a good idea to create multiple personas that are different but of equal value. As you assemble the personas, be sure to consider the design. Since you will likely have a lot of data and content to include, it’s important to make it digestible, especially as it’s shared across the organization. Think about building in imagery, bullet points, and make it fun! The best personas are those that truly resonate across the organization – give each persona a name and bring them to life.
Step 5: Match Buyer Personas to Your Sales Funnel
After your buyer personas are complete, you should encourage your organization to put them into action. This means matching them to various stages of the buyer’s journey. Ideally, you should have a persona for those at the top of the funnel, end of the funnel, and the stages that exist between.
This will help to ensure you are producing marketing and sales materials that hit each stage and you are not neglecting any one type of prospect. You may see yourselves producing too much top of the funnel content and not enough geared towards encouraging a sale, or vice versa. This process will help overcome such challenges.
Driving engagement and sales through digital channels can be challenging due to the sheer noise that exists. B2B buyer personas are a critical step towards a more effective marketing and sales campaign. Hopefully you found this post useful as you embark on your buyer persona development journey.
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