According to a survey conducted by ITSMA, currently 44% of marketers are using personas in B2B. We believe that in the next 12 months this number will climb to 73%. This trend is quite logical and profitable when personas are developed with method and rigor.
Personas are a result of refinement of “profiles” developed in B2B, using certain marketing research methods, which are still used in the development of personas to this day.
The evolution of a profile to a persona is made possible, among other things, by the exploitation of digital data from several sources. The IT tools that allow us to process data are more efficient and specialized. They’ve enabled us to become more specific.
Why create personas in B2B?
The reason is simple: to understand and truly address the expectations, goals, needs and objections of your buyers, their role in their company’s buying process, the interactions that they have with other stakeholders (influencers, users, policy makers, etc.), factors that influence them, as well what keeps them from buying your product, service or solution.
Why be so rigorous and detailed?
An effective persona gives you the answers you need to influence the buying decision in your favor at every stage of the customer’s buying cycle.
Also, an effective persona is studied within a set of activities and interactions known as the ‘Customer Journey’. In other words, the person you are targeting isn’t alone on the road to deciding to buy or not to buy your product or service.
They are working within a shopping environment that has its own rules, processes and control systems that cannot be ignored in a competitive environment. Moreover, your potential buyers are highly educated when they begin to interact with their suppliers.
60% of the purchase process is already done*
when a potential buyer encounters you and your competitors.
Your customers have therefore already come a long way without your help. You must make sure that they find what they are looking for at the beginning of the process. This also goes for those who will influence him along the way.
The risks related to the purchase
The importance of having personas is closely related to the risk levels of purchasing and using your products, services or solutions. Frankly speaking, not all products require this type of tool and planning.
It’s therefore understandable that developing a persona for 3D drawing software for an architectural firm makes more sense than creating a persona for the architect’s pencils.
The levels of risk perceived by your personas are part of the elements that you must quickly integrate into your knowledge of them. The higher the risk, the more decision makers you’ll have to positively influence, therefore, the more educated they are and the longer and more complex the purchasing cycle will be.
48% are more likely to make a purchase**
if they were solicited with a well-adapted marketing message that took their risks into consideration.
The more research done on your persona, the more your marketing will help reduce this perception of risk among your prospects.
Characteristics of good personas in B2B
A good persona is above all, a representative persona. If you decide to create a buyer persona, you need to ensure its characteristics were considered in different contexts. For example, are these personas at your customers? At your ex-customers? Or your prospects?
At Exo B2B, we organize them this way:
- “identity” dimension
Contains the general and relevant characteristics of the persona profiles. Data on age, academic background or career path taken may be noted.
- “identification of a primary need” dimension
This dimension must define the reason why your persona considered you in the first place. It must answer the “why?”
- “sought-after value” dimension
This dimension goes beyond the notion of need and includes the values or benefits sought in the purchase.
- The “Product relevance” dimension
Less factual than the preceding ones, this dimension must explain the relationship, the story between the persona and the product such as the trigger.
To identify the relevant elements to put forward in a persona, you must first step back and think about the solution or product in an overall context. Just like a detective, you need to gather facts from the different departments within the company and investigate these elements, which will be integrated with different dimensions.
A guarantee of efficiency
Finally, remember that creating personas will undoubtedly increase efficiency. They are the building blocks of your content strategy, sales pitches and promotional tools.
This just an overview of the subject. If personas are important you, we can offer customized training.
*CEB-Gartner study 2015 page 3
**According to an ITSMA study