Nowadays people do not want to be chased by the company to buy their products and services like it used to be 50 years ago and that’s why b2b personas have been created. This shotgun approach for finding new clients is dead and today we need to come in a different way how to find our customers. The way which is more friendly brings a better experience for prospects and bring them a solution for their pains and needs. Yes, inbound marketing becomes a very effective and popular approach between marketers because it brings better results for the company and no more wasting money on people who are not interested.
Of course, for you to be able to effectively apply inbound marketing you need to know who your customers/personas are. How well you describe your b2b personas like for example their age, position, location, company industry, and other aspects will determine your marketing success. Because that will lead your market targeting. So, if you describe it incorrectly, that will cause the effect of bringing the wrong prospects to your sales and not closing them.
What is B2B Target Audience?
Before you start describing your b2b personas you need to find out what is your target audience to be able to describe each of the people within your b2b target audience. This is widely used in marketing to eliminate people who do not belong in this category.
Eliminate because they most likely won’t or cannot buy for any reason.
It is a prequalification process for your prospects where you use a targeted message, so your readers and consumers know whether the product fits them or not.
So, in b2b marketing, the target audience is a group of people who are having something similar which you see meaningful and important to you and your company. This could mean that anybody who is a finance manager in the manufacturing industry in the UK is in your target audience for example.
B2B target audience is determined based on the solution you are promoting, which means each company have a different target audience and each product has a different target audience too. It all comes down to the features and benefits of the product.
Let me give you an example.
Milk and Lactose-free Milk
Milk’s target audience is people who like to drink milk and see the benefits of drinking milk.
The lactose-free milk target audience is people lactose intolerant but still wants to drink milk.
Or anybody who believes that lactose is bad for a body and that is why they chose to drink lactose-free milk.
As you can see, I have described 1 target audience within milk and 2 target audiences within lactose-free milk.
When you are describing your target audience, think from the perspective of what benefits your product and services brings to your customers. If you do not know it, then ask your senior colleagues, they will tell you.
Remember, describing your target audience is based on the product and service features and benefits and what group of people would benefit if they have it and why they would benefit.
What are B2B Personas?
Once you have described your b2b target audience, the group of people who would find your offering as a value then you can go deeper and describe each of the people within the group. Usually, I write around 5 examples of buyer personas for each of my products and services.
This gives you a pretty good picture of what messages to write once you go through this exercise, as you will be able to imagine a picture of each individual.
These individuals can be your current customers or totally created personas, but still, they need to fit within your target audience, don’t drift away from it. Remember, your target audience determines your marketing campaign success.
So, a B2B buyer persona is a person who is having certain aspects which are valuable to you and your company and that fits your target audience
I will give you an example where I will give you my exact strategies on how to actually describe the b2b buyer personas.
But now I hope you understand who buyer persona and what role they are playing in b2b marketing.
How to Find Your B2B Target Audience in 4 Easy Steps
Once you understand what is b2b target audience and persona, let me show you my way how to determine your target audience for each of your product. Yes, it is important to create for each of your products as they are different and provide different benefits to your target audience.
So, make sure, that this will be done for each of your products and not generally, otherwise it would end up like the shotgun approach with minimum results and big marketing spending and wasting.
Before you start, I want you to know that any of my ways of how to create a marketing plan, writing target audience is simple and I never spend too much time on it, as all of those are just assumptions and that it never works exactly the same way.
All my work just gives direction for me to stay on the road, but be enough fluid that if I encounter obstacles, I can go around it.
Also, the predicted data and the actual data are always different, and you will see it once you actually hit the market with your b2b marketing campaign and start generating and analyzing the data.
So, let’s move to my 4 easy steps on how to find your b2b target audience.
1. Analyze Your Products and Services
2. Look at Your Current Customers
3. Describe Demographics and Interest of Decision Makers
4. Compile the Data
STEP 1: Analyze Your Products and Services
I already touch upon analyzing the products and services and how important is to create a target audience and buyer persona for each of your offerings, otherwise, you would miss your market due to not precise targeting.
Start with your best seller and look at the benefits it brings to your customers. Also, what pains and needs it to solve.
Try to find as much information as you can about the product, sometimes even the smallest things can be a winner or loser so make sure you get everything, and later you can filter out what is important and what’s not.
Nex thing, make sure you include your value differentiators from your competitors. What makes your product and service unique and stands out from a crowd.
Whatever will come to your mind, just write it down, and later you can discuss, as I already said, try to get as much information as you can, it never hurts.
STEP 2: Look at Your Current Customers
Your current customers are the best source of information you have got, so make sure you will ask them for their input about your products and services.
Also, not just about your products and services, but what triggered them to start searching for your solutions, what were the pains that lead them to become your customers, and what was their buying process.
More than that look at who was researching about it and who made the decision. Because all of this is valuable information you need to have to create an effective target audience.
Who are the usual decision-makers that will sign the deal? This will give you hints and help your salespeople too with finding the decision-maker.
So make sure you share your results with other parts of the team.
STEP 3: Describe Demographics and Interest of Decision Makers
Once you have an idea from your customers who could be the prior decision-makers for your solution. Look at their similarities, like age, location, position, hobbies, and anything you can think that could connect them.
Of course, not everybody is the same, but there is always a connection between them. For example, most of my decision-makers love golf, so I have included golf as a hobby in my online targeting and it worked so well.
As I said, sometimes even the smallest changes can make a huge difference. So, do not judge before you try!
Therefore look at each of them with interest and try to find as much information about them and later you can play around. (Not too much playing, otherwise you wasted who marketing budget) but you must try.
STEP 4: Compile the Data
Awesome, now you have everything to create a perfect b2b personas so you can start aiming at your prospects like a sniper and not anymore with the shotgun approach with the hope you will hit.
Take the information about your products and services, from your customers and decision-makers and try to find as many similarities and connections.
Think like your customer and look at the benefits of the products and how would you feel if you have these kinds of pains and somebody would offer your solution.
The key is to try to think like a customer, leave behind that your marketer, and put yourself in shoes of your prospect, try to be as transparent as possible.
This exercise will help you find the best match for your benefits and pains. The similarities between your customers and prospects, the processes, etc.
How to Describe B2B Personas from your Target Audience
I guess you already have an idea what could be your b2b buyer persona and you could somehow describe them or at least visualize them.
Now, you just need to put them on paper, which is the easiest part actually.
Once you went through this step by step process you can already describe your b2b persona, but I also would like to give you a framework from HubSpot.com
[Buyer Persona 1] is years old. S/he works in [job title or industry name] for a living and spends his/her free time [describe the lifestyle, family size, etc.]. Ultimately, [Buyer Persona 1] wants [personal or professional challenge(s) that your business will try to solve].
This is extremely easy to fill up and it doesn’t need to be a super long document where you describe everything about your buyer persona. Even though I asked you to do that, but that was more for you to visualize it and not miss any important parts, and now is the filtration process where you include only the important parts related to your offerings.
Remember, when you want to describe your buyer persona make sure you include enough information to not be too broad and end up with shotgun approach but also not too narrow as there might not be enough prospects.
There needs to be the perfect balance between too much targeting and too little. Use the one from HubSpot and you will be in a good way
Also, do not try the extremely long one description for your buyer persona, as it takes too much time and you do not even know if you are right. It is better to first create a prototype and update it accordingly once you have some data.