B2B Buyer Personas: Find Your Target Audience and Stop Selling to Everyone
Want to be successful in your sales game? The first rule is: know your customer. The second one? Design killer B2B buyer persona profiles.
Ok, now think for a moment. What do you know about your buyer personas and the differences between them? If the first thought that pops into your mind is a blurry profile of a 35-year-old married folk who reads industry whitepapers and searches for stuff online, well, you just covered 90 percent of your LinkedIn network.
If you want to get your sales on the right track, you need more details than that. (And not just demographics, company size, or business goals.) But worry not, this article will help you figure out the whole B2B buyer persona topic.
What Is a B2B Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas also play a huge role in B2B marketing. They help marketing teams shape social media strategy and optimize marketing campaigns.
The best way to create a B2B buyer persona is to do a qualitative study. Interview your current customers, and don’t forget to catch up with churned customers and those that considered your product at some point.
You’re looking for in-depth knowledge of your B2B buyer persona’s motivations, problems, and buying process. Based on your persona profiles, you should work hand in hand with marketing folks to align messaging that resonates with every buyer persona individually.
As the topic of an ideal buyer in sales and marketing isn’t a new concept, there are some myths that we should bust for you.
Myths About Buyer Persona Profiles
There are a couple of things you need to know. The first one is, there is quite a big difference between buyer personas in B2B and B2C.
In B2B, buyer personas are more focused on the job title, company, and details about the decision-making process. With a longer sales cycle that involves medium or high-consideration products, you can’t address both small and enterprise businesses equally. Every buyer’s personas, although holding the same job title, will widely differ in terms of needs and pain points.
In B2C, a persona is the only decision-maker focused on individual preferences and motivations that are fulfilled in a short sales cycle. The profiles are much simpler, as buyers engage in low-consideration product purchases.
Another thing—remember that buyer personas are rather a point-of-entry to a company, not the end user of your product. Be careful when pitching to your target customer. How you’ll frame the usefulness of the thing you sell depends on who you talk to.
Oh, and there is one more important nuance—the difference between B2B buyer persona and ideal customer profile (ICP). While both serve to get to know your customers better, ICP focuses on the ideal business to target while B2B buyer persona covers individual profiles and their behaviors, preferences, and motivations. Grab a free ICP kit below:
4 Reasons Your Sales Team Needs a Strong B2B Buyer Persona
As we’re now on the same page with all the nuances and definitions, it’s time to talk about why your sales team will be better off when having data-informed, information-packed profiles of your B2B buyers.
1. Better Prioritization in Your Sales Team
Thanks to buyer personas, your sales team can focus their efforts on the leads that fit the profiles and, thus, are more likely to sign off the contract. A strong CRM will help here—Smart Views in Close may help you bucket top-priority leads based on filters like demographics data, creation date, etc. Then, just reach out to leads that fit the patterns of your target audience either via call, SMS, or email.
2. More High-Quality Leads
You know the deal—the board always wants you to bring quality leads, and they don’t compromise lead volumes at all. So the better insights your sales team has when it comes to buyer’s priority and expectations, the better you can sort the wheat from the chaff. Of course, there will be times when you close a lucrative contract for a lead that seemed rather low quality—but this should be an exception rather than a rule.
3. More Efficient Collaboration with Marketing Team
The buyer persona profiles can really save all the sales-marketing quibbles. If both teams are aligned over the product’s value proposition, funnel strategy, lead qualification process, buying patterns, and target audience business needs, you should get better leads from marketing in the long run.
Also, try analyzing your sales calls and spot anything that seems like a pattern in buying behavior you never saw before. We’re sure the marketing team will be glad to get this info, too.
4. Better Messaging and Shorter Sales Cycles
Remember those sales calls where your messaging didn't land well, and everything turned out awkward? That shouldn’t be the case when having strong B2B buyer persona profiles.
Using the customer's exact words will give them what they’re already familiar with. This will help you nail messaging that’s unique to every persona you target. Oh, and your sales cycles should get shorter.
6 Tips to Create a More Effective B2B Buyer Persona
Ready to build your own B2B buyer persona? It’s time to dig into the customer journey, learn about the people involved, and seriously boost your sales and marketing efforts.
1. Include Crucial information About Who Your Lead Is
Your B2B buyer persona has to include basic information such as job role and demographic information, like the type of company (small business, medium company, enterprise).
But what’s key here is the details about the pain points and challenges of people in this segment. In B2B sales, you always start with a pain point that needs a solution. Move past generic statements like: “Mike wants to save time” or “Jane wants to see the company's growth.”
Your buyer personas should be detailed and contain data from surveys, interviews, and even focus groups. This will guarantee that your profiles are relevant to your sales team.
2. Research Their Goals and Needs
As a salesperson, make a habit of asking prospects about their goals, needs, and tools they use. It will help you keep your buyer persona profile updated and learn how the market evolves based on buyers’ needs.
Try asking the following:
- Which solution did you use in the past, and how did it serve your goals and needs?
- What other solutions appeared in your search but haven’t addressed your needs?
- Which features made you decide to check our solution, and what goals do you want to achieve?
- What operational or personal goals do you want to fulfill with this solution?
Potential customers’ answers will give you loads of good insights into what they want to achieve and if what you sell can address their goals and needs at all. It should also guide you on how to sell to them and at what point. You’ll also be able to quickly spot who’s not the right prospect out there.
3. Outline Pain Points
Pain points are directly tied to the persona working for a specific company. The pain points of a product manager in a small SaaS company will be different from a marketer who works in the same organization. Your job is to learn about every buyer individually.
Try asking the following questions:
- What are the biggest pain points in your current role?
- What triggered you to consider our solution?
- What happened in your professional life that you decided to think about a solution to the [pain point mentioned earlier]?
In B2B, it all starts with the buyer spotting an issue that needs a solution. As a salesperson, you should connect the dots for them so they can move from being aware of the problem to being aware of what solution will help. It’s your role to guide them through the buyer’s journey.
4. Find Their Preferred Channels
Not every buyer persona will be happy to get in touch in the same way. Some want to jump on a call, while others will be OK with a simple text message. Asking your prospects which channels they spend the most time on and how they want to be reached nurtures respect and increases your chances of closing the deal.
A CRM that offers multiple ways to get in touch with a buyer will help you stick to tried and true channels. You can also automate some of your work or set an email sequence when they’re not ready to buy.
5. Map Their Feelings
While not many B2B buyer personas typically have emotional profiles, it’s a nice way to figure out how to empathize with your buyers. Ask your target buyers how they feel in specific situations or what emotions are triggered when they face a problem.
By understanding their emotional reaction, you can learn whether what you sell will make a difference in their professional life, or if you’re knocking on the wrong door. Knowing buyers’ emotions will also help you build long-term relationships with them.
6. Include Verbatim Quotes from Your Customer Persona
You already know that both your and the marketing team are using quite a lot of jargon. And this doesn’t sound like your customers… at all. It’s because you’re too close to what you sell.
By talking to buyers, you’ll uncover insights that sound simple and thus genuine. You’ll learn a lot about how your solution can change their lives.
Put verbatim quotes into your personas so your sales team gets used to how buyers speak. This will get you closer to those people, and ultimately it will help you close more deals.
B2B Buyer Persona Template (With Example)
Ok, let’s get practical in this section. We’ll show you how to prepare your B2B buyer persona template and give you an example so you know what should land there.
First off, get our free B2B buyer persona template:
B2B Buyer Persona Example: Product Manager in a Small SaaS Company
Ready to see what this looks like in practice? Here’s a real-world example of a B2B buyer persona:
Ready to Create a B2B Buyer Persona and Increase Sales?
Use the template above to get the draft of your own B2B buyer personas. Having strong buyer persona profiles will help your sales reps stay confident and better manage their pipeline.
And the last thing, at some point, you’ll have to refresh buyer persona profiles. Give your team a heads-up today so they keep every detail about high-value prospects in your CRM. When the update time comes, everyone on your team knows what to do.