How to define your B2B Buyer Persona?
Everyone knows the importance of defining your B2B Buyer Persona in sales and marketing. As we have seen in a previous article on the Ideal Customer Profile, without clear guidelines on which companies to target and which decision-makers to contact, sales teams are left to their own devices and do not achieve the expected performance.
When your ICP allows you to describe precisely the type of business you are targeting, the B2B Buyer Persona is a detailed analysis of the people involved in the buying process. The BP allows you to better understand who your customers are and how they behave, so that you can adapt your sales pitch and actions.
What is a B2B Buyer Persona?
The B2B Buyer Persona is a target buyer profile. It includes a detailed description of a potential buyer’s psychological traits, work experience, and social habits. A well-defined BP contains a mixture of demographic, firmographic and psychographic information about the buyers’ role in their company, and their goals and motivations.
Be careful not to confuse Buyer Persona and Ideal Customer Profile! When dealing with B2B sales, your Ideal Customer Profile represents the type of company you are targeting, whereas the Buyer Persona refers to the decision maker(s) in charge of the buying process.
Enriched with personal and company data, the B2B Buyer Persona is a roadmap for reaching your potential buyers and converting them into customers. It is also based on a comprehensive analysis of your current customers, discussions with sales teams and an audit of your pipeline to gather generalised characteristics from your current and past customers.
Why create a B2B Buyer Persona?
In B2C sales, the Buyer Persona is your ideal customer, the one who buys and uses your products, the one you target through all your marketing and sales operations. But in B2B sales, you market your products or services to companies, so we can ask ourselves whether the B2B Buyer Persona is really useful.
Even if you sell your product to a company, at the end of the sales process is a human! And yes, even in B2B sales, it is a person who signs the deals. That’s why we often talk about human-to-human business. The B2B Buyer Persona is used to define buyer profiles, so in our case it is used to specify the profiles of the decision-makers in your target companies.
In order to implement effective sales activities, it is essential to know and understand your final target. Indeed, the same solution is not sold in the same way depending on whether you are addressing the CEO of a company, their sales manager or their HR manager. It is therefore important to know and understand each of your targets.
How to build your B2B Buyer Persona ?
We recommend that you build your Buyer Persona in three categories: the buyer’s personality, the buyer’s work environment and the buyer’s buying behaviour. To guide you in the construction of your BP, we will look at these three categories below and list the elements to include for a reliable and comprehensive B2B Buyer Persona.
The first category of your B2B Buyer Persona is personality, which should include everything you need to know about your buyer’s identity, such as job type, background, knowledge or sources of information.
Name and job title :
The first step of the Buyer Persona is to name it. This allows you to personalise them with a clear identity. The job title, on the other hand, is perhaps the most important element of the BP in B2B, and should be that of the decision-maker in charge of purchasing your solution.
You can include in this category all demographics that may be important for selling your services: gender, nationality, etc. Age or age group (millenial, gen Z, etc.), for example, is important because it can impact the sources of information and the decision-making process of your persona.
Psychological traits :
For B2B sales, you don’t need to go very far in the psychological analysis of your persona. You can include in this category typical traits of the job in question, which do not have a direct impact on prospecting but may help sales people to understand prospects better.
Professional background :
In this category, you can list past training, years in the job, professional skills and shortcomings of your persona. This information will allow you to adapt your sales pitch to the level of knowledge of your potential buyers.
Sources of information :
Here you can note all the sources of information that your persona uses to learn new things related to their work, this can be: social media, websites, magazines, events, etc. This information can be used by the sales team to adapt the pitch!
Knowledge of your services :
For this category, we recommend using a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is total ignorance and 10 is expert knowledge. Working in this way will allow you to segment the way you sell your services according to the level of knowledge of the prospect in front of you.
The work environment
The second category of your B2B Buyer Persona is the work environment. This category should include information about the company in which your persona works. We advise you to refer to your Ideal Customer Profile to fill it in.
The company :
This is where your ICP comes in! This category should outline the description of the company that you have drawn up earlier, including the specifics of the sector. The industry, company size and function are the most important information that will help you understand the challenges and goals of your potential buyers, as well as who the decision makers and influencers are.
The team :
Here you can gather all the interesting information about the team. Strengths and weaknesses, challenges encountered, who in the team will benefit from your products or services, etc.
The job :
In this part, you can note all the characteristics of the role you are going to target: work environment (seasonality, working hours, etc.), needs, specificities, etc.
The goals :
This category is important, as it will allow you to define the arguments you can use to differentiate yourself by responding exactly to your prospects’ performance issues. We suggest that you list the main key performance indicators of your persona, and highlight any that your solution can improve. This work will allow the sales team to focus on the right objectives when dealing with prospects: retention rather than conversion, increased productivity, reduced turnover, etc.
The pain points :
Pain points are essential in prospecting as they will form the basis of your value proposition. As we’ve said many times in videos, emotion is the basis for change. It is by knowing the details of your buyers’ frustration that you can bring emotion into your cold calls, get them to change and prove to them that they need your solution. To fill this category, you can ask yourself the following questions: What do my prospects fear most? What frustrates them? How can my solution address this problem?
The technology :
If your solution requires a certain technology, or if it is a relevant topic for your company, we advise you to mention it in your B2B Buyer Persona.
The third and final category of your B2B Buyer Persona is purchasing behaviour. This category is very important because it contains all the elements that will influence the decisions of your persona during the sales process.
The obstacles :
In this category you can collect all the problems that your potential buyer will encounter during the buying process. This could be budget, lack of knowledge, difficulty in using the product or service, reluctance of management, etc. It is also important not to forget the potential organisational barriers that may slow down or prevent the process. Knowing all of these barriers will allow your sales teams to target contact points with decision making and purchasing authority and to set reasonable expectations for the timeframe of the solution.
The objections :
In sales prospecting, this category is extremely important to allow you to anticipate any objections from your future prospects. This will help you provide convincing answers and clear arguments to overcome them. It is also worth noting that some objections are made to achieve a specific goal such as lowering the price of your solution. To address them, you can identify in your B2B Buyer Persona the elements that make your buyers reluctant to buy, so that you can prepare your sales teams in advance.
The decision process :
We recommend writing a summary of a typical day in the life of your Buyer Persona. This will allow you to humanise your persona and will help your sales team better understand your prospects on a human level. In order to be better prepared, it is also interesting to determine the number of people involved in the buying process and their roles (decision-makers, influencers, etc.).
The decision criteria :
To complete this category, we recommend that you ask your current customers what criteria influenced their decision to choose your solution.
How many B2B Buyer Persona are needed?
Now that you know how to build your Buyer Persona, you should create as many as you have buyer profiles. But be careful not to fall into the trap of a B2C approach, you probably need fewer BPs than you imagine!
Although the description of the personality of your buyers is interesting to understand the buyer, as we saw earlier, in B2B sales, the importance of this data should be put into perspective. If your buyer is an HR manager, you will tend to focus your sales pitch on CSR or QWL issues. However, if this HR manager has to convince his financial director before buying your solution, it is more important to prepare a sales pitch focusing on costs and performance that he could use to approach his decision-maker.
The number of B2B Buyer Persona’s you need to prepare is therefore not fixed and can vary between solutions and companies. Here are some factors that may influence the number of BPs you will need to create:
The decision makers :
Not all members of the buying team you are targeting are decision-makers, there are also influencers (who provide expertise), approvers (who sign the contract), users, etc. Don’t worry, you don’t need to create Buyer Persona’s for all these roles, but you will need to determine which of them are the most critical to the successful completion of the sale.
KPIs, challenges and goals :
These elements are very important for your B2B Buyer Persona as they are what you will build your sales message around. Each position in the company has different KPIs, challenges, needs and goals. Even if your solution remains the same, it can help meet different objectives, so this is an important element to consider when creating your different Personas.
When your B2B Buyer Persona is complete, you can start implementing it in your sales processes. The Ideal Customer Profile will be used in lead gen, and then your BP will be used throughout the sales tunnel.
The B2B Buyer Persona is an extremely useful tool for setting up your sales prospecting operations. However, it is important to keep your BP up to date to ensure its relevancy.
In fact, as your company gains new customers and launches new products or services, many nuances will be added to your B2B Buyer Persona. You may even discover that some of the profiles initially included in your BP are not worth your prospecting efforts! (processes that take too long, poor targeting, etc.)
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