Marketing x Min read

How to create a buyer persona for your B2B sales and marketing activities

Summary

A buyer persona is a must-have to get your message to the right person at the right time. Learn how to create your own in five steps.

When it comes to sales and marketing, you undoubtedly want to reach as many people as possible. However, spray marketing rarely works. It pays to focus on a specific audience. So who are these people you’re hoping to reach? This is where a buyer’s persona can come in handy.

What is a buyer persona?

Your buyer’s persona walks into a bar. Who is this person? Did they show up at 8 PM or midnight? Do they check their phone continuously throughout the night or truly disconnect after office hours? Did they come with colleagues or walk in alone?

A buyer’s persona is a fictional character that describes your ideal customer in detail. This description goes beyond “John, 34-year-old, Data Specialist”. Instead, your buyer’s persona needs to be an in-depth profile that allows you to understand and empathise with your customers.

How can you come up with such a vivid picture of your customers? By going beyond demographical information. Instead, walk a mile in their shoes and learn what motivates these people, what frustrates them and what daily habits might they have. This knowledge empowers you to develop a well-rounded image of your customer that sales and marketing can further build on.

Why do you need a buyer’s persona?

A buyer’s persona forces you to think big picture. Who are you trying to reach? If you don’t know who your customer is and what challenges you can help them overcome, you won’t be able to influence the buying process.

However, if you know this person’s growth goals, challenges and fears, your marketing teams can create the perfect content that will resonate and connect with the reader on an emotional level. This information will also partially dictate which channels you push content on and when.

Addressing the right person with the right message at the right time pays off. In fact, using a clear persona can lift sales leads by 124%.

A clear buyer persona also allows you to be more proactive by responding to trends and changes in the market more quickly. For example, is your clientele quick to embrace new digital platforms such as ClubHouse or becoming more climate-conscious? Spot opportunities as they arise and have a head start on your competitors.

How to create a buyer persona

Now that we agree that a buyer persona is a must, it’s go time! Here’s how to create a buyer persona in five steps.

Step 1: Look at your current customers

Creating a buyer persona is not a guessing game. Instead, this profile is based on your current customer base. So take a deep dive into your existing clients. Look for similarities and differences. Group people together when possible. For example, you could group together “C-level executives” or, more specifically, “data nerds under the age of 35”.

Step 2: See which target group brings in the most results

It can feel counter-intuitive to focus on a specific group of people rather than everyone that could possibly be interested in your product. What if you lose sales by focusing on too narrow of a niche? We’re here to break that misconception. Because by knowing very clearly who you want to target, the right people will gravitate towards you more quickly as they will have a strong need for your offering.

So once you’ve identified clusters of similar customers, look at which group generates the highest profit margin. For example, suppose you’ve identified eight different target groups, but only five of those clusters bring in most of your revenue and align with your company mission and offering. Then focus your efforts and energy on those five target groups by creating a buyer’s persona for each of them and cut ties with the rest.

Step 3: Gather information to create customer profile(s)

With this information in hand, you can now create detailed profiles about each target audience group. Start by writing down all the relevant information you already have on your current customer group. Consider the following elements:

  • Demographics – Age, gender, location, family situation, income bracket etc.
  • Organisation – What kind of company does this person work in, and what’s their role?
  • Day to day life – Describe what an average day looks like for them, who would they interact with frequently within their organisation and what decisions they need to make.
  • Communication – Which channels does this person use regularly? How do they prefer to receive information? Which communication style resonates best?
  • Goals and ambitions – What goal does this person want to achieve by using your product? Don’t just think about the flat results (for example, “this person wants a new phone”), but also the overarching life goals that go with it (‘being connected to my loved ones’).
  • Challenges and frustrations – What prevents this person from achieving their goals? What worries keep them up at night?

Step 4: Get the nitty-gritty details

Most likely, you will not be able to answer all of the above questions in one go. And that’s okay.

To fill in the gaps, you’re going to have to chat with multiple people and departments. Start by talking with your sales and customer service team to understand common questions, concerns and frustrations. Reach out to managers and top-level executives within your organisation to understand the roots of the company and the need they are hoping to fill via their solution.

If you’re still missing information, talk to your customers directly. From surveys to one-on-one interviews, it shows that your company is invested in improving the customer experience while giving you first-hand insights.

Step 5: Bring your buyer persona to life

Armed with this knowledge, put it all together into a nice visual overview. Group similar information together, give this person a name and add a photo of this person to bring the profile to life. This helps your team think of this buyer as a real person and not just a business strategy.

I have a buyer persona, now what?

Once this overview is complete, don’t close that file and forget it exists. Make this persona a core element of all sales and marketing meetings. It will enable you to develop lead generation strategies, content, campaigns and conversations that resonate. Ultimately, boosting your bottom line.

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