The larger the company, the more decision-makers. B2B buyer personas make it easier for you to make targeted connections with the relevant persons. To achieve this, you develop fictional customer profiles – resulting in real success.
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Better quality of contacts: Buyer personas vs target group
The key to every business success is optimal customer communication. To guarantee this, the target group must first be defined. It lets you identify potential groups of buyers, to free yourself from the entire market and address your specific customers with tailored promotions.
The target group method is particularly tried-and-tested in the B2C area, where reach is most important. However, this strategy does not work as well in B2B communication. That’s because here it is not about the number of contacts, but the quality of contacts. The problem: the number of business customers is highly limited and competitive. Which is why it’s important to minimise scatter loss and speak to the right person as far as possible. And to do this better than the competition.
A target group limits the number of potential customers. But for focused B2B marketing, the selection is too big. The solution: buyer personas. They are the valuable core of a target group.
Buyer personas and their benefits for B2B
In short: buyer persons are personality portfolios of fictional, ideal and typical customers. Their “identities” contain numerous characteristics and attributes. This means they have a much more concrete image than a target group. The target group is not made redundant by buyer persons in B2B communication; instead, it is complemented in a purposeful way.
The more detailed and realistic the buyer personas, the easier it is to address them.
The idea behind this is to create credible individuals and to address them. The more detailed and realistic the buyer personas, the easier it is to achieve this. B2B marketing profits in the following ways:
- Both customer acquisition and customer loyalty win in effectiveness.
- The users’ behaviour and the user experience are anticipated more precisely or can be steered with more control.
- The specific challenges in B2B communication can be identified and faced more concretely.
- The customer communication is more personal, thus creating a closer business partner.
- The wishes of the clientele are more tangible and can therefore be met more accurately.
All of this aims to fulfil one purpose: to strengthen customers’ trust in the ability and competence of a company. Buyer persons support this aim in the B2B segment, both in making connections and in ensuring long-term trade relations.
Six special buyer personas for B2B
Buyer personas for B2B should preferably be decision-makers. But several managers and employees are often involved in a purchasing process too. Especially in big companies. Each stakeholder plays a different role. Generally speaking, there are six kinds of players:
- Initiator: He is the one who gives the impulse for a need. The initiator has a certain problem and is looking for a solution.
- Influencer: She has a say in making decisions which affect her area. This can be data officers or work councils.
- Decision-maker: His name is at the bottom of the contract. Due to the high degree of responsibility, she is often in the upper management level.
- Buyer: Good value for money is important to her as a buyer.
- User: If he is not satisfied with the product, he can reject it and the business deal busts.
- Gatekeeper: She is decisive in determining if it ever comes to a tender and, in the end, to a purchasing decision.
Each person involved looks at the situation from a different perspective and thus acts according to their own interest. This means the individual content topics must be in line with these perspectives.
Step by step: with seven questions and answers for buyer personas
Invented customers, made-up personality profiles – can this function in real-life everyday business? Yes, if solid marketing work with a strategy is behind it all. Depending on the purpose, they can be based, for instance, on information about the corporate landscape in a certain region, the preferred way that management uses media, surveys in the desired industries – or on all sources together.
The data gained can be used to determine the buyer personas. The answers to the following seven questions can help you:
1. What is the industry?
The target persons do not tick the same in all industries. Which is why it’s important to determine the differences. An example for varying buyer personas: the people working in fintech start-ups usually have a completely different character than civil servants. It depends on finding the right tone of voice for each – such as a casual one or factual, dry one.
2. Who takes the decisions?
Here is where the structure of the B2B partner is in focus. In small, family or owner-managed enterprises, there are fewer levels to go through than in corporations. As a result, the decision-making competence lies sometimes in fewer and sometimes in more hands.
3. What is the buying process like?
Orders are often placed today on the Internet. But in what way? Via email, via industry-specific marketplaces or social media channels which bring together the person placing the order with the supplier? On top of this are stakeholders who continue to do business in writing or on the phone. The B2B communication must naturally cater to all the relevant types.
Orders are often placed today on the Internet. But in what way? Via email, via industry-specific marketplaces or social media channels?
4. What is the decision-making process like?
Some persons responsible for taking decisions prefer to work alone and fast; others take more time and bounce off the idea with colleagues before giving their “go”. The more hesitant the potential contact person, the more advisable it is to provide information and communicate benefits.
5. What does the buyer persona do in their job and free time?
This question focuses on personal goals, amongst others. These can be the desire for a higher salary, more influence, an office or home move, or a harmonious work‒life balance.
6. Which channels does the customer use to find more information?
The Internet plays a leading role here too. Online magazines and videos, as well as social media networks, are some of the preferred sources. Here is where targeted content can be placed which reaches the users both in their professional and their private environments.
7. What does the buyer persona look like?
To ensure the buyer persona seems real, it needs an own identity. With a (licence-free) photo, the fictional character receives a “real” face. What could the target person look like and what would her/his name be? What is their title or job description? This is determined based on the previous answers. Name, gender, age, education, working experience, current position, marital status (single, married, children), home address and home status (tenant, home owner), hobbies, free-time activities – all these round out the buyer persona in B2B communication.