A Marketing Strategy Without Buyer Personas Will Simply Not Succeed In Today’s B2B Landscape
Hubspot has defined a buyer persona as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers”. Buyer personas take into account the demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals of your current customers as well as real data and current market research. As a general rule of thumb, the more detailed your buyer personas are–the better.
“Buyer personas provide tremendous structure and insight for your company. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your resources, guide product development, and allow for alignment across your organization. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.”
Do those sound like the goals of your business? We’ve explained everything you need to know about creating and benefiting from buyer personas throughout this blog.
Create A Buyer Persona Of Your Own
Creating buyer personas calls on a number of tactics both internal and external, from research and surveys to data collection, analysis and more. But what you’re left with in the end is something of immense value.
Before you start, there are two things you should know:
- Depending on your specific business, it may be necessary to create multiple personas. Each will represent a different type of customer.
- In addition to your “ideal” buyer persona(s), you should also build out a “negative persona”, or a representation of who you don’t want as a customer. Believe it or not, these can be just as valuable.
Below we’ve listed a few methods for gathering the information you need to develop your persona.
- Dive into your current database of contacts to uncover possible trends. For example:
- How do your leads find you?
- How many “touches” are required before a lead turns into a customer?
- Interview customers, prospects, referrals, even third-party networks of interviewees to discover:
- More about their personal life (Challenges, motivators, lifestyle, household income, family dynamics, age, marital status…)
- More about their professional life (Challenges, role, career path, skills, goals…)
- What types of media do they consume? (Newspapers, magazines, social media, TV channels…)
- What influences them? (Friends, family, social influencers, reviews…)
- How your product or service was able to (or could) help them (in their personal or professional life)
- What do they look for in a product or service? (Price, quality, status…)
- Take steps to ensure a better response rate like:
- Offer an incentive that gives people a reason to participate in your interview
- Clearly communicate that you’re not trying to get them to buy anything (especially important when you’re dealing with non-customers)
- Make it easy to participate with flexible times and clear instructions
Once you’ve gathered a sufficient amount of information, you can begin structuring your buyer persona.
Steps to structure your buyer persona
For this blog’s purpose we’ll structure a B2B buyer persona.
1. Name your persona
While this may seem silly, it’s actually an important step as it allows you to “humanize” your persona. The name and visual representation you select will help you start thinking about this persona like a real person.
2. Identify your persona’s demographic traits
…like age or education level. Ideally, this will help you better position your marketing messaging to ensure it resonates.
3. What about their business?
Factors like the industry and company size of your persona help you understand how many “hats” this person might be wearing on a daily basis or how competitive their market it.
4. And their career
A focus on the nature of your buyer persona’s career with regards to their job title, career path, success measurements, seniority level and more can be used to create solutions that cater specifically to them.
5. What professional goals, challenges, and day-to-day responsibilities are they faced with?
This information will tell you and your team what you can do to help them overcome obstacles and simplify their workflow.
6. How do they work?
What tools do they use or need to do their job? Think accounting or bookkeeping systems, content management systems, project management, email, etc. And, how do they prefer to communicate with other businesses or vendors? Phone, text, email, social media, face-to-face? This will help you see commonalities in your own product or service. It also provides insight into their operating system which is useful when positioning your marketing messaging and selecting which benefits to highlight.
7. What are their consumption habits?
If you’re going to do your job and market/sell to your buyer persona, you need to understand how and where they consume information. In an effort to meet them where they are, you can use these insights to determine where your business should have an active presence. This could be which social networks they belong to, which conferences or trade shows they attend, or where they learn about their industry.
Sure, the process is extensive and requires some heavy lifting from your team but it’s worth the benefits. Even more, your job is never done. As you come to understand your customers better, your personas will evolve even more for the better!
The Benefits. How Buyer Personas Should Help Guide The Direction Of Everything You Do
Generally speaking, buyer personas help ensure that all activities involved in acquiring and serving your customs are tailored to your targeted buyer’s needs.
Buyer personas inform marketing and sales strategies
Many companies have struggled in recent years to understand changing buying behaviors. When researched adequately, buyer personas can illuminate who your buyers are including their buying habits, challenges, preferences, goals, and more. With well-defined buyer personas you can confidently structure a marketing and sales strategy that will drive real results. For example, when concepting a content marketing strategy–understanding your buyers is critical to creating content that resonates with them.
Buyer personas help establish a common language internally
Alignment between sales, marketing, and customer service teams is a struggle many companies are faced with. This is especially important when it comes to each team’s understanding of the “buyers” as they typically differ in one way or another. This can cause a whole host of problems internally. The solution? Buyer personas. A buyer persona establishes a standard thus allowing all teams to focus their efforts where they’re needed.
Buyer personas lead to informed decision making
Many companies today would describe their strategy for making decisions related to marketing and sales as “a shot in the dark” or even a “guessing game”. But it doesn’t have to be that way. While buyer personas are backed by qualitative research there is also a need for quantitative data to support your buyer personas. Take product development, for example, buyer personas will help guide decisions on what products to develop (or modifications to make) according to what the buyers actually need.
While these are important benefits, the list goes on and on.
Partner With Incentive Insights To Create Buyer Personas Supported By Real Data
At Incentive Insights, we know that the data we capture is only valuable if you’re able to understand it. We believe strongly in offering quality data and insights you can use. Data that informs you about your customers. This includes:
- Demographic data
- Geographic data
- Psychographic data
- Behavioral data
- And more….
The way we present your data leaves you with a clear picture of who your customers are and how to effectively reach them with your marketing and sales efforts.
When it comes to determining which channels will allow you to best reach your customers, download our free guide to the Unique Marketing Channels Your Business Can Implement in 2019. Not only can rebates and warranties be used to capture real customer data, they can also be used as a promotional tool to entice consumers to purchase your products.