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  • Bryan Socransky

Buyer Personas for B2B Products and Services



So many problems in B2B marketing and sales happen because there is not a clear understanding of ideal buyer personas and target markets.

Here is how to create and use buyer personas;

Step 1 – Understand your target market company profile (location, sales, number of employees etc..) and buyer demographics (job title, age, etc..).

Who is going to buy your product? This should not be aspirational. Not who you hope will buy your product but who has the potential pain, budget and need for your product. Develop a clear buyer persona so you know what your buyer looks like and who is not a potential buyer. This will help you be laser focused on the realm of the possible.

I have seen so much time and money wasted on pursuing vertical markets or accounts that are not winnable.

Note – you should also list out who is not an ideal buyer. This might be companies with more than 5,000 employees. Or it could be a company that is already using a specific competitive product. Be clear about what a non-winnable target market or buyer persona looks like. No effort or spend of marketing dollars on non-winnable markets or buyers.

Step 2 – The next step is to look at the personality of the ideal buyer personas. Use personality indicators to help you identify the personality of your buyer persona. Myers Briggs and DiSC are two that are popular.

For example, target buyers that are risk tolerant if you are selling something innovative and new . Do not overlook the personality of your buyers.

How do you know the personality profile of your buyer? Profile the key decision makers inside your customers and looking for common characteristics. You can gleam a lot from their social profiles. On their LinkedIN profile you can see what groups they belong to and what causes they support. This is telling. Look at their Facebook posts. See what they Tweet about.

When you get good as this it should drive your marketing decisions. Allocate marketing spend on buyers that match your ideal personality fit. It could also influence sales forecasting. Should you forecast a deal at 75% probability if a key decision maker does not match your ideal personality type? All other things being equal.

Step 3 - Finally, you need to develop content for each personality type. Most companies usually skip this step and that is where things go wrong. Without this, you will use generic messaging and content that for all personality types. This one size fits all approach leads to sub-optimal results. Steps 1 and 2 tells you WHO to target. Step 3 tells you HOW to target them.

If you are using DiSC, then you would need four different groupings of content for each personality profile (DISC). Unless of course there is a personality profile that is not an ideal buyer for your product. In that case, you would call it out in Step 1. For example, “don’t sell to a type C personality. They ask too many questions and are too focused on quantitate results.”

If D,I and S personality types are all plausible for your buyer personas then you need to tailor your approach and content for each personality. If you are trying to market to a personality D with the same messaging and content as a type I your success rate will be lower. In fact, you should be using opposite approaches. For the type I personality you want to appeal to their emotions as much as possible. For the type D personality, you want to talk about big picture and focus on results. Emotions should not come into play at all. So, using the same messaging and content for a type D and type I personality is wrong.

You can get a lot more sophisticated than what I have outlined here. Gartner for example, suggests using five modalities to develop personas. It is important to apply segmentation to your buyer personas based on personality. Once you start doing that you will see much better conversion rates in your marketing efforts.