To establish a sketch, a typical profile of your prospects or customers in B2B we mostly resort to the Persona or Buyer persona technique in English. Persona is a Latin term that means “character” and has come back into French via English. If in French we adopt the Gallicism “personas” in the plural, in Anglo-Saxon countries, we use the Latin “personae” instead. The B2B persona allows you to define who your target buyers are. It is a standard in B2B marketing, which does not mean that it does not have its limits or that it is not criticized.
Defining the persona in B2B
For each B2B persona, it is important to determine:
- The person’s job title
- His gender
- The type of company in which is works
- His industry
- His main problem
- His decision-making authority
- His interests
- His level of education
The creation of personas allows to build usage scenarios for a given offer. Personas are most often used as part of an inbound marketing strategy. They allow you to create content that is best suited to the type of person you are targeting.
The limitations of theoretical approaches to Persona in B2B
You have to be careful not to fall into the caricature of certain personas that are too theoretical and do not correspond to any real buyer. We must be particularly careful not to create personas that would resemble a BtoC approach where we use a lot of demographic data. For example, in BtoB, you can decide to give an age range to a persona but this characteristic remains secondary to the others.
At the bottom of the market, personas can work well, but once decisions are made in a collegial way, they are no longer relevant. You need to use very professional use cases that tell you what the problem is, what the solution is, how it was implemented and how much it paid.
Trends and innovations
When personas in BtoB are not possible, for the reasons mentioned above collegial decisions at the top of the market, and complex processes. It is preferable to start with use cases. To create a use case, we start by interviewing the customer. We then produce a file (or an article) relating what has been done for this customer. This use case can either be nominative or the customer accepts that we quote his name. As well as anonymous (the name of the customer does not appear).
Here’s a use case done for a Visionary Marketing client in the cloud computing industry.
The benefits of a use case are multiple: the reader identifies with the feedback he reads the sector of activity and the size of the company are close. It is for you a great proof by example that legitimizes your seriousness and your skills.
Finally, the fact of realizing use cases is a great opportunity to know your customers better.
By interviewing them, you will discover unsuspected facets of their personality and their needs/expectations.
Tools and Methods
There are several techniques to define personas in BtoB: qualitative surveys, quantitative surveys, and market research. (link to the sheet on surveys/questionnaires)
Qualitative surveys make it possible to conduct face-to-face interviews. This will be very informative regarding knowledge and understanding of buyer behaviour.
Once the first drafts of the personas have been completed, a quantitative survey will validate certain hypotheses and finalize the personas.
Links on the Persona in B2B