Knowing Your B2B Customer

As an industrial manufacturer, how much have you invested in building a buyer persona? As customers come to expect improved, customer-centric buying experiences, an accurate and robust buyer persona becomes increasingly important. However, only 44 percent of B2B marketers are currently utilizing buyer personas, which means that investing in this process can be a clear differentiator.

According to BrightTALK, utilizing buyer personas in email campaigns results in twice as many opens and five times as many click-throughs. It also makes websites two to five times easier to navigate for targeted users. Optimizing your website is critical to increasing revenue and capturing new audiences since 56 percent of industrial professionals do not even contact a vendor until they evaluate their options by comparing supplier site content.

Developing a buyer persona for B2B segments is not the same as developing personas for B2C. For starters, B2C buyers often purchase largely on an emotional draw and personal need. This means that directed content can be much more friendly and familiar. The demographics of the buyer are critical, and content is better targeted to individual needs over broader benefits.

In the case of Thomson Reuter, buyer personas contributed to a 175 percent increase in revenue attributed to marketing, a 10 percent increase in leads sent to sales, and a 72 percent reduction in lead conversion time. – DemandGen

Company-Level Buyer Personas

Developing B2B buyer personas is a two-part process. The first step is to create a persona at the company level. When creating this profile, consider the following:

  • Industry
  • Annual revenue
  • Size
  • Location
  • Company values

Understanding the types of companies you will target creates better overall fits. Initially, you may see a drop in inbound leads. However, the quality of the leads you receive will be substantially better. This means that your sales team will spend their time chasing down high-value, high close-rate leads instead of wasting efforts on those that are the wrong fit.

For many industrial manufacturers, developing a separate persona for distributors is also helpful. Treating distributors as true customers, instead of easy sales, can have a dramatic impact on future sales. Distributors that are viewed as partners are more likely to bring manufacturers into product discussions with end customers. This results in increased end-customer satisfaction and decreases product returns and refunds.

Buyers are 48 percent more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues. – ITSMA

Human-Level Buyer Personas

Developing buyer personas at the human-level allows sales and marketing teams to understand the individuals who will influence buying decisions throughout the sales process. Human-level buyer personas should be created for both distributors and end customers. When creating a human-level buyer persona, consider the following:

  • Role
  • Title
  • Length of service
  • Responsibilities
  • Goals
  • Hot buttons
  • Motivations
  • How can you help them avoid a pain point?

According to Gorilla76, there are three predominant types of human-level B2B buyer personas:

  1. The Information Gatherer
  2. The Spec Seeker
  3. The Decision Maker

Each of these roles has a position in the decision-making process. The Information Gatherer is often directed by the Decision Maker to find possible solutions and present a list of options to both the Spec Seeker and the Decision Maker. In this role, the Information Gatherer values detailed content directed at self-learners.

The Spec Seeker generally has a better understanding of the company’s technical requirements and evaluates the details of the Information Gatherer’s options. Finally, the Decision Maker evaluates each of the presented options and may conduct additional research before making the final decision.

Each role has distinct needs which makes providing the right content at the right time critical to success. When industrial companies fail to understand their buyers on a human-level, they miss out on developing deeper relationships and creating true partnerships.

46 percent of industrial professionals visit 10 or more work-related websites averaging six to eight hours weekly – GlobalSpec

Do We Really Need a B2B Buyer Persona?

Understanding the fears and challenges of your customer allows your sales teams to work more efficiently and effectively.Buyer Insights Benchmark found that 71 percent of companies who exceed revenue and lead goals have documented personas versus 37 percent who simply meet goals and 26 percent who miss them. In addition to improving sales team efforts, perfected B2B buyer personas drive improved content creation, website optimization, targeted email campaigns, and product development.

Investing in the development of robust, accurate, multi-level buyer personas can have a dramatic impact on marketing efforts and revenues. When necessary, seek the help of subject matter experts to kick-start your marketing efforts and develop your personas. Getting this aspect correct is critical to building future successful campaigns.

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