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  • Writer's picturePankaj Agrawal

Buyer Personas Matter

Updated: Mar 2

A study by Demandbase shows that over 31% B2B buyers believe that the length of their purchase cycle has increased significantly, compared to a year ago. The same study also found that in 79% of B2B purchases, anywhere between one to six people are involved and that buyers are spending more time on research using multiple sources to find the suppliers and partners they deal with. This has made the B2B sales process more difficult than it used to be but you could also look at this as an opportunity if you're leveraging the right tools and systems to get across to them. The Buyer Persona is a good place to start the journey because everything else is tailored around that!

Buyer personas in B2B business

What is a buyer persona?

A B2B buyer persona represents your ideal client decision-maker. It is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer - who finds your product valuable and is likely to buy from you. So it sets you to start thinking, how well you know your customer - where they live, what they read, watch, eat, do in their leisure time, the language they speak, the slang, the places where they hang out, the movies or TV shows they enjoy!! Their fears, motivations, aspirations, goals! Obviously nobody knows all this about their clients but do you know anything at all? If not, maybe it's a good idea to start observing, talking & finding. The goal of creating a buyer persona is to get into the head of your target customer so you know exactly how to sell to them.

Sample of a buyer persona

For example, assume XYZ Limited supplies wholesale textiles to businesses in the clothing industry. Here’s what their buyer persona will look like:

Name: Syed Suleiman

Location: United Kingdom

Overview: He's 45 years of age, has 2 kids and loves to spend free time catching up with family on Facebook and Instagram. Uses Twitter and LinkedIn for professional connections.

Goals: Wants to find a way to reduce input costs for his luxury fashion brand, preferably by finding a supplier that can provide quality textiles at competitive costs.

Challenges and pain point: Local suppliers are locked around an industry-preferred price range that stretches margins. International suppliers may be a good bet but he’s worried about import duties, documentation and logistics.

Success factor: Prepared to buy from an international supplier if he has good assurances on price and quality.

You may be wondering why we're talking about creating detailed profiles of individuals when you’re selling to businesses. It’s simple really. Businesses are made up of people. The business doesn't buy from us, the people do. You cannot connect with or convince the business but you can do so with people. A well-researched buyer persona helps you know this individual or individuals better so you know how to influence their buying decision.

You may have more than one buyer persona, depending on the type and complexity of your target market. Some sellers have such a wide market that they need 10 or more buyer personas, while others only need to create two or three buyer personas. It doesn’t really matter how many you have. The important thing is knowing you have covered all the types of buyer personas your business wants or is likely to sell to.

What are the types of buyer personas?

In general, there are no specific types of buyer personas. Instead, each business identifies the types of customers they want to sell to in their own way, and create detailed descriptions of these customers. Certain businesses like to also create negative buyer personas and micro buyer personas. A negative buyer persona is a representation of customers you don’t want to sell to. This may be because selling to that market is not a financially sound decision, or because you’re unlikely to make much headway with such buyers. For whatever reason you create them, negative personas can help you better refine your idea of who your ideal customer is.

A micro buyer persona works like an extension of an initial persona. Micro personas allow businesses to provide more depth as they identify different-type customers falling under the initial persona. For example, assume your initial buyer persona, Mitchell, is someone who likes to find products online. You can then segment this description into micro personas based on the specific online channels where these customers like to shop.

Why should sellers create B2B buyer personas?

Although creating buyer personas is a valuable step for any seller, you arguably stand to benefit more from doing this as a B2B seller. This is because B2B buyers are unique in how they interact with products and suppliers.

Sales Funnel in B2B

B2B buyers typically spend more time in your sales pipeline before they finally convert. There is usually a team of people who are responsible for identifying procurement needs, prospecting for suitable suppliers, and determining if the opportunity is acceptable. In addition, there will also usually be a separate decision-maker who has the final say on whether the purchase goes ahead or not. All of this means that selling to B2B buyers takes more time and involves more effort than with other buyers.

To be certain that this investment of time and effort is not wasted, you want to ensure that you are speaking to leads who are likely to make a purchase in the first place. Creating buyer personas helps direct your sales and marketing efforts so that you can attract leads such as these. Therefore the more time you spend on understanding your ideal market, the target customers and their needs, expectations, desires, hobbies, stated and unarticulated goals, the better you will be able to define your buyer persona and the more your chances of success in a B2B sales and marketing effort.

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