Buyer personas are egregiously overlooked in just about every aspect of digital marketing. We get it, your busy. But you shouldn’t be too busy to take a closer look at who you’re marketing to. After all, if you don’t how who you’re marketing to, how on earth could you know what to say? (Seriously, if you have a magic bullet that can get us out of all this research, please share.) It would be a shame to put time and effort into a marketing campaign, only to have all that hard work fall on deaf ears.
Generating buyer personas is never easy, but developing and targeting the right audience is at least a little more cut-and-dry for B2C companies. They’re marketing directly to the end-user and, chances are, they already know them pretty well. But for our fellow B2B marketers out there, it can be a little more convoluted.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Before we dive into the B2B weeds, let’s start with the basics. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your customer that is based on actual research (not just what you think you know) into things like:
Business and personal goals
Pain points and challenges
Your customer journey (and their place in it)
With all this information in hand, you can segment your lists like a pro, craft uber-targeted messaging, and begin building trust – which is key to any sales process. Looking for a little advice on what to do and what not to do when creating buyer personas? We’ve got you covered.
So What If You’re Selling to a Business, Not Person?
You’re not. Even when selling to businesses, people are still ultimately making the decision. That’s part of what makes B2B targeting a little tricky. The decision-makers will be balancing their own personal emotions and opinions of you with the needs of their customers and organization. (Hint: this means you cannot ignore their personal behaviors, pain points, and goals.)
B2B purchases are often higher risk, so the key is to address the objections that come along with that while building trust. And here’s where things get even trickier. Who do you need to build trust with?
Don’t Forget These Buyer Personas
There are myriad people to consider when selling a product or service to a business. Ignore one and you may never get in the door, but if your messaging and focus is too broad, it won’t resonate with anyone. Be prepared with messaging designed specifically for each level within your target organization:
Boots On the Ground
Marketing and sales teams are quick to target leadership, but the importance of earning the trust of the end-user of your product or service cannot be understated. These folks are going to be the ones actually implementing the solution you’re selling, so you want them on your team. This group likely presented the problem you’re trying to solve to their bosses, but they may also have concerns that your solution could threaten their job security. Provide technical information about the uses and benefits of your solution, let them know you understand their challenges, and show them how you can help them be the hero of this story.
Managers & Directors
This crew cares about finding solutions that make their teams more efficient and effective, while also sticking to the budget. Whether the decision is ultimately theirs to make will differ by organization, but even if it isn’t it will likely be incumbent upon them to persuade the powers that be. Focus your messaging on setting yourself apart from the competition – lead with your value proposition and provide proof in the form of testimonials, success stories, and case studies.
The C Suite
Don’t waste your time on building awareness with this group. Get to the point quickly, succinctly, and provide them with all the information they need to make a decision.