Modern B2B marketing is about having a target audience in mind to create personalized marketing tailored to prospect’s needs. Therefore, every single strategy needs to have a target audience, so it can become effective, otherwise, you just shooting in dark.
Your target audience will influence how you create our content marketing, structure your messaging, and the way how to connect with them.
Therefore, having a target audience is not just effective but essential to modern b2b marketing as your prospects expect more personalized content.
So, let me explain to you what is a b2b target audience and how you can create our own target audience for your b2b organization to start generating good quality leads.
What is B2B Target Audience?
B2B Target Audience is an imaginary group of people that you want to target with certain problems or needs which could be solved by your products and services. Also, these people are the ideal customers or close enough to who match all your qualification criteria to become your customers. In other words, the b2b target audience is people who can and who want to become your customers.
Okay, let’s explain a bit more what I mean by b2b target audience being ideal customers or close enough and also about b2b target audience are people who can and want to become your customers.
For you to understand your target audience you need to understand certain aspects of your b2b marketing.
And because I want to talk about B2B marketing you need to understand not just who you selling to, but also the type of marketing as well.
But first, let’s talk about the 4 aspects of what makes an actual b2b target audience. Businesses are using these 4 aspects as a sales qualification process.
In these four aspects, I will explain to you, what I mean by people who want and can become your customers as these two parts of the b2b target audience are extremely important for your b2b marketing.
4 Aspects of Your B2B Target Audience
As I already mentioned to you, these four aspects are important to use by b2b organizations to determine whether the prospect is qualified to become your customers.
This sales process helps lower expenses by determining prospects who are good potential customers and who are not.
But why am I talking about the sales qualification process?
Well, this process helps you to better understand what is b2b target audience is, who they are to your marketing and how to use your b2b target audience.
And later, you will also understand better how to use your b2b target audience to lower marketing costs to acquire customers.
Because your b2b target audience should be the ideal prospects for your company and also your company should ideal for them.
Therefore, understanding the sales qualification process helps you to better understand your b2b target audience and how to determine your b2b target audience.
So, let’s explain how this sales process and how it determines your b2b target audience.
First what you should understand about the b2b target audience are their needs as it is important to them and to your business.
The needs of your target audience should be fulfilled by your products and services to create a match and interest in each other.
Because what you trying to do is to deliver value to your customers with your products and services.
But everybody perceive value differently and that is highly influenced by their needs what they currently looking for.
To give you an example of what I mean by perceiving value differently. Imagine that you are thirsty after the long run so you pop into a local supermarket to get some water, but the worker there tells you, that they do not have any water, and instead he offers you a great value combo snack which is honestly a really good deal.
Would you see the value in this?
Of course, you would not.
And most likely, you would leave the store upset that you want to get water and some prick offering you salted snacks, so insensitive…
But imagine that you would come to the supermarket to get some snacks for your upcoming party. Then you would be excited about this offer, isn’t it?
That’s why b2b target audience needs are so important especially in the complexity and price tag of the b2b deals.
So, if your b2b target audience does not have needs for your products and services, then it is not your target audience and you better create a new one.
How to find out whether your target audience has needs for your products and services?
Well, there are a couple of ways, but the best is to let them come to you and tell you by the content marketing strategies.
2. Decision-Making Power
The decision-making power is the authoritativeness of a person or the group of people being able to sign the deal and give you the money to proceed to start using your products and services.
Another big part for your b2b target audience is the decision-making power as it is important for your business to know whether you waste your time with the person or not.
Let’s be frank, talk to somebody about your products and services who can’t make the decision is just a waste of your time, you better find quickly to ones who are in power to make the decisions to buy from you.
Let’s be more in detail, there are two groups of people you should be focusing on in your b2b target audience.
- Decision Makers
Influencers are having certain say in what to buy and what not to. Usually, these people are subject matter experts who understand the selected products or services and can educate the decision-makers. These can be managers or consultants.
Usually, during the meeting with the organizations, there will be always an influencer, so later he/she can give trusted advice or opinion.
Decision-makers are the ones who can sign the deal and make the purchase decision. They do not need to be real experts, but they still have the knowledge of what the company “needs”.
For you to successfully sell and advertise you need to combine these two groups of people and satisfy both sides in the best-case scenario, as both can be deal-breaker.
Urgency is how quickly do they need to solve their problems.
if the urgency is low, then it can resolve in the long sales process and you would be coming back and forth with your prospect.
This could potentially cost you a lot of money, resources, and opportunities somewhere else, as it is important to focus on people who are having high urgency.
Because people with high urgency are most likely to move quickly through the sales funnel and buy fast without unnecessary delays.
- Low Urgency = Very Slow Sales Process and High Cost per Acquisition
- Medium Urgency = Average Sales Process and Average Cost per Acquisition
- High Urgency = Fast Sales Process and Low Cost per Acquisition
Again, this is important for your marketing and b2b target audience as writing effective ads, scripts and other copies should involve this urgency.
Because if your target audience is with low urgency, then your sales process might be much longer and cost per acquisition be higher.
Therefore, it is important to know about urgency as well when you are creating your b2b target audience.
Last but definitely not least is the budget of your target audience, as this will give you what you are looking for in the end.
As selling somebody who has all 3 aspects, but missing budget is just a complete waste of time.
Trust me, that happens a lot.
Especially in the software industry where you are selling something expensive like ERP system and small or mid companies want the software and they recognize they need it, but just can’t afford it.
Therefore, do not be afraid to show that your products and services are pricy but worthy if so.
Same as Rolls Royce, they took it as a competitive advantage that they are super expensive as it breathes the luxury.
So, if you are expensive, find your advantage within it.
Therefore, this is an important aspect for your b2b target audience as you do not want to target people who can’t just effort to do business with you.
Same as Rolls Royce would never target people who fly in business class but these people could be good for Mercedes.
B2C vs B2B Target Audience
For you to understand the b2b target audience you also need to know the differences between these two main types of audiences.
As both are delivering leads to their business in a different way as each target audience has different preferences and behavior.
Remember b2b target audience is always in the b2c target audience, but the b2c target audience is not always in the b2b target audience.
Why am I saying that? Because every influencer and decision-maker is a consumer as well, but not every consumer is a decision-maker or influencer.
So, do not try to think that targeting consumers is the same as targeting businesses.
But let’s look at the main differences between B2B and B2C Target audience.
Please feel free to share the infographic.
So, this is the main differences between B2B and B2C target audience which apply to any industry.
Of course, each industry has its own differences and it is up to you to find out what makes a special target audience in your industry.
Why is B2B Target Audience Important?
You need a B2B target audience for your marketing because it helps you to focus your marketing resources and effort to attract the best prospects for your business to maximize your ROI and profit from your activities. Target audience is important for your personalization in your marketing and other departments to create highly relevant and personalized content and messaging and improve customer service.
Yes nowadays b2b buyers want to have personalized everything and that is especially important in b2b digital marketing when you are preparing your b2b content and messaging to attract the best prospects.
But without having in mind who is your target audience is hard to create any personalization for your marketing.
It has been predicted by the marketing experts that personalization is going to be the most important strategy in the next couple of years.
And many of the b2b marketers are going to focus on improving the personalization within their department.
And not just marketers but sales and customer services are involved in personalization strategy.
Also, you need b2b target audience to:
- Effectively drive good quality leads to your business
- Lower expenses on by not bringing poor quality leads
- Improve messaging for your advertisement
- Create effective b2b content marketing strategies
- And Increase your ROI from your Marketing
So, do not skip creating your own target audience as your marketing will benefit and it will make your job much easier.
Trust me, if you have in mind the people you want to target, then It is much easier to create marketing assets.
5 Basic Types of B2B Target Audience
Using different types of the B2B target audience will segment your target audience into different categories. Then these categories will include people based on who matches the selected criteria of the type of target audience. This will help you to visualize your target audience and furthermore improve your targeting.
Therefore, before finding your target audience, you need to know what types of b2b target audiences are there, so it will help you to go through the steps to create your own successful target audience.
Also, if you have already some customers, dividing your best customers into different types of target audience helps you to find similarities and target these people who match or are close enough to the type, so you can bring similar leads to your target audience.
Before we start the actual process of finding your b2b target audience let’s look at the 5 basic types of b2b target audience or also called segments of b2b target audience.
1. Company Size
The first is the size of the company you want to target. Of course, sometimes I hear the bigger the better but that is not always true.
I will tell you a little story later on in the section “Learn about Your Company Limitations”
But for now, you need to look at the different types of company size.
There are many types of company size which are used across many industries, as some distinguished by:
- Number of Employees
- Yearly Revenue
- Amount of Branches
- Size of Department
It all comes down to what is important to you, so you need to think about what number would fit the best of your products and services and then segment your customers and later your target audience.
Locations are another type of segment that is important as well, as not every company can cover a global or US and UK market.
Therefore, you need to look at where you can operate and provide your products and services as sometimes you can get a deal, but they are just far away from your business.
Or they are in a different state which you can’t serve due to legal issues or tax issues. Whatever reason, knowing the location that you can cover will save you a lot of headaches and your prospects too.
Again, there are many types of location and depends on your business what you can cover as sometimes it can be:
And other locations. But it is important to know what locations your target audience is so you do not drive leads that you can’t serve due to the location issue.
3. Niche and Markets
As I already mentioned in the section B2B vs B2C target audience one of the differences, is the niche and market targeting in the b2b target audience.
Knowing what markets, you want to penetrate and what niche could be suitable for your products and services helps you to maximize your ROI.
Because as I told you, nowadays b2b buyers want personalized content which includes their niche and market. The closer the better and the higher conversion rate usually you will get.
Therefore, segmenting your target audience into a niche and markets will help you to determine your messaging and other marketing content so you can personalize it even more.
Because each niche and markets have common similar pains and needs which you could solve. Therefore, you should address it and show how you can solve it.
There are many types of b2b niches and markets and determine which niche is suitable for you requires studying and reading the industry news so you know whether it will do well or not.
The last thing you want is to target a certain niche and, in a few months, will disappear due to trend changing or new technology.
Psychographics is based on human psychology and that is where you can segment your target audience based on their needs, behavior and their values.
Segmenting your b2b target audience is very effective for you to write compelling and value-adding content and ads to catch the interest of your prospects.
Because one of the differences in the b2b target audience is that b2b buyers are more prompt to make a rational decision with a lot of research.
Therefore, this type of target audience will help you to focus on the right values of your products and services which are the most important to your target audience.
Demographics is the last type of b2b target audience. This type will segment your target audience depending on certain criteria like language, position, age, etc.
This basic yet very important type helps you to finalize the missing piece in the target audience and get a clear picture of your target audience.
I like to use it as sometimes it really helps me to target the right people for certain campaigns like event organizing.
Also, again it helps you to personalize your marketing to reach people on a more human level and create the touch in your b2b marketing.
5 Easy Steps How to Determine Your B2B Target Audience
Find Benefits of Your Product
The first thing that I like to do is to write down all the benefits and competitive advantages of my products and services.
It gives me a big picture of what I am actually selling and how it helps others.
Because remember, you do not sell product features, but you sell benefits and solutions for your prospect’s pains and needs.
Also, I can see what values it brings to the marketplace and what it could make special from others.
But let’s summarize what you should be focusing on when you search for the value proposition of your products and services. (Value proposition is the reason what makes your company’s products and services special to your audience. It is why your prospect should buy from you and not from your competitors.)
Tips for creating a successful value proposition
– Articulate your specialty.
– Describe your “wow” factors.
– Make it unique and memorable.
– Specify vertical markets and segments.
– Include location if appropriate.
In other words, to find your benefits, you need to find your “wow” factor that people will be forced to buy from you, otherwise, they will be missing a great opportunity. And people do not like to lose something as regret is stronger than gratitude.
Match the Benefits to a Group of People
Once you know what it makes so special about your products and services you can then match these benefits to a group of people who would benefit the most.
Quick example, if you sell pricy cat healthy food, you match it to rich cat owners.
It is important to know the benefits or value proposition of your products and services as it gives you the idea of the people who will benefit the most if they own your products or services.
These groups of people are potential prospects and buyers for your b2b organization.
So, take these benefits and try to figure out what target audience would find the most value out of that.
Another example, if you are selling financial software which benefits are user-friendly interface, affordable for a small company, customizable with most common templates used by accountants.
Then the group of people who will benefit the most is the accountants and finance department in the small and start-up company.
So, always try to find people who would benefit the most and target them.
Find their limitations
Finding limitations of your target audience is another essential part of your b2b marketing as there is always a deal-breaker.
I have already talked about the 4 aspects of the b2b target audience and when you are creating your b2b target audience, you should also consider what could be their limitations.
Of course, it all depends on what products and services you are selling, but every single product brings some limitations to the group of people.
So, anticipating these limitations of your target audience help you craft the message and create marketing content in the way that you can overcome them.
Therefore, once you match the benefits to a certain group of people, then consider what could be the deal-breaker, sometimes are the features you are missing what others have even thou your product is cheaper.
It could be anything, so try to figure out what it could be for your target audience, what is it that could limit them to make the purchase decision.
Learn about your company limitations
Every company has its own limits and you need to learn what are yours, so you won’t cause some serious trouble for your company.
Why am I saying this?
Let me tell you the long story short of a friend of mine.
He had an e-commerce store with clothing and was doing pretty fine with 6 figure income each year. He hired a few people to help him so he could scale. One day, a big commercial store came to him and requested for thousands of pieces of his cloth.
He got excited and ordered them from manufacture with a big upfront cost to make it as fast as possible. Unfortunately, at the very last moment the commercial store pulled out from the deal and he ended up with thousands of pieces and massive debt and closing his e-commerce story because he did not have enough money to keep running the business.
Lesson learned, you should always know your limitations, sometimes the big deals look awesome and you see yourself as a successful man.
But usually, these deals require a lot of upfront investment, and his target audience were consumers with medium income, not massive commerce stories. Therefore, he missed seeing his limitations.
Of course, this is just examples, but knowing what is limit your company will save you a headache and even company sometimes.
It could be just a location, maybe you serve only certain locations or a certain size of company or industry.
Put it All Together and Match to Types of B2B Target Audience
Once you have all the information you need, then you can slowly put it all together and figure out who is your target audience. This should be easy if you put the effort into the previous 4 steps.
Because remember, the deal is to create a b2b target audience which is the closest to the ideal customer as possible.
Then you can create a different type of target audience that works the best for your organization.
Once you have this, you can create also your own qualification process which helps you find out whether the prospect is the ideal prospect and fit your target audience.
Remember, do not go too narrow otherwise you might end up with a very tiny marketplace and barely can drive leads.
You need to find a balance between too narrow and too broad, so you strike the sweet spot, so you drive good quality leads.
Regarding the qualification process, you can use your marketing to predetermine whether the prospects coming to your website are enough qualified, sometimes it takes just a little effort like email marketing and email automation.
Should You Change or Update your B2B Target Audience?
You should consider update or change your b2b target audience again every year because things are changing all the time, especially in this disruptive age. Whenever you are preparing your marketing plan for next year you should also include a new or update version of your target audience as it will help you to stay relevant and target the right prospects.
Some b2b marketers feel like they do not need, but the truth is that marketing and marketplace are changing faster than ever and b2b buyers have different needs.
Therefore, to always stay up to date with your messaging and content, you need to refresh your data, target audience, and other marketing materials so you always target the best possible audience.
Also, check out our Digital Marketing hub page to learn more.
This article was created by Eduard Dziak and may contain affiliate links. The following were used to optimize the article for the best user and search engine experience include:
- SE Ranking for keyword research and on-page SEO optimization
- Surfer SEO for SEO-friendly content creation for users and search engines.
- Jasper AI for grammar correction and information enhancement.
The article is based on the author’s own experience and knowledge, drawn from both their own work and that of their clients, to provide the latest, proven methods.