Creating Buyer Personas — Questions to Ask Your Ideal B2B Customer
Putting together effective and accurate buyer personas is critical first step in any inbound marketing campaign that I put together for clients. For your marketing to be effective you need to know who you are trying to connect with.
Behaviorally targeted ads are twice as effective as ads without behavior targeting, and customer personas play a huge role in finding effective points of personalization within your marketing messages.
As a business owner or marketing professional, you probably have a good idea who your ideal customers are. Buyer personas help you to define these archetypes and focus your marketing materials toward those specific personas.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and data that you have on hand. Creating buyer personas helps you to connect on a deeper level with your ideal customers and better understand their concerns.
The information included in a buyer persona depends on your market and product, as well as what data you deem to be relevant to each persona. Typically, buyer personas will include things like demographics, behavior pattern information, motivations, and goals.
One of the biggest benefits of crafting buyer personas is the personalization that you can inject into your marketing. According to HubSpot, personalization makes websites easier for visitors to use.
When we put together a buyer persona for our clients at RiseFuel, there are a few main questions that we ask about each persona.
These questions help us to get an idea of what each persona looks like and helps us to develop a more streamlined approach to our marketing for these individuals.
What Are Your Customers Personal Demographics?
Demographic information is the foundation of any buyer persona that you put together. This information is typically pretty easy to obtain and starts to paint a clear picture about your ideal customers.
Demographic information plays a key role in how you craft your marketing messaging, so it is important to take your time and collect as much demographic information as you can for each persona that you put together.
As you put together information about your ideal customer, try to be as specific as possible. Saying that they went to “Georgia University” is better than saying that they are a “college graduate.”
The more specific you can be for each persona, the more personalized your marketing materials will be. If you have to, split your personas up into separate personas making each as specific as you can.
In What Industries Do Your Customers Work? Who Do They Serve?
In B2B marketing, there are few customer traits that are more important to have nailed down than the industries the customers that you serve work in. You have to know that your product or service is able to help them serve their own customers or solve a problem that they are experiencing.
Your buyer personas should consider the industries that your client’s business serves as well. Creating buyer personas for customer archetypes that serve specific industries will often require completely different campaigns than other personas.
This is all important for positioning your own solutions for those specific customers.
By defining the industries that you serve and the industries that your customers serve, you can begin to learn more about those industries and improve how you communicate about your own product and company.
What is the Size of Their Company?
It’s not just the industry that matters. What is the size of the companies for each of your personas? There is a big difference in the way that you market to a scrappy startup, compared to a large corporate entity.
Defining your customer personas is all about honing in on how you speak to the stakeholders that will eventually make the call on your product or solution.
Additionally, you may want to dive into the size of the departments that they work in, as that can play a role in their decision making process when investing in a new solution.
What Job Titles Do They Hold? Who Do They Typically Report To?
When you work with a person in another company, what job title do they typically hold? CEO? Vice President of Marketing?
Knowing their job title is extremely important for knowing how to structure your marketing messaging. There is a big difference between speaking to someone that is an individual contributor within their company and a person that manages a complete team.
For B2B companies, its critical to know what roles your customers hold. If you target people at a director level, you’ll be required to have a better understanding of their company and industry to speak to them in a way that comes across earnestly.
Additionally, you want to know who they report to as well. Who are the stakeholders that may have a say or impact their final decision to work with your company?
Eventually, you may want to include these people in your buyer personas as well if you continually run into them throughout the sales process.
What Are Their Biggest Challenges
You are in B2B marketing because you have a product that solves a problem for your target audience. Understanding that problem inside and out is absolutely critical for improving your messaging and speaking to their biggest concerns.
Dive into the details and understand those challenges in full. The challenges that one customer faces will be present in many of the customers under that persona.
Dig through your interactions with customers to get an idea of how your customers have talked about the problems that they encounter.
Use the quotes from your conversations with them to inform your buyer personas and marketing.
Looking at how your customers talk about their problems can be eye-opening and help you to see these challenges from a different perspective.
How Is Their Success Measured?
How do your customers measure their success? If they are the President of Marketing at their company, they likely have several KPIs that they use to measure their success.
Structuring your marketing messaging around how you can help them to improve these KPIs can help you to speak directly to them in a way that makes it clear how your product can be a benefit to their company and them personally.
For B2B companies, your ability to make your customers successful in their endeavors is your business super power.
If your product can do that, you can make that fact apparent throughout the sales process, you put yourself in a good position to secure sales.
However, you have to know what their goals are and how they measure success to appropriately position your product to be that solution.
Creating Buyer Personas Provides Foundation for Inbound Marketing
You can’t have an effective marketing campaign without a deep understanding of who you are marketing to. The concerns of a marketing manager are much different from those of a CEO or founder.
Understanding who your ideal customer is, the kinds of challenges that they are facing, and what their biggest concerns are can help you to deal with objections and craft content that genuinely helps them to accomplish their goals.
Creating buyer personas is the first step in this process and one that will serve your marketing efforts for years to come.