How to Create B2B Buyer Personas: The 2023 Definitive Guide

Last Updated
January 2023
James Decker
COO and Cofounder
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Creating B2B buyer personas is similar to creating characters in a novel. Each persona has a unique background, experiences, and personality traits that represent your target audience. By defining personas for B2B campaigns, you can gain a better understanding of your business clients and their pain points, desires, and purchasing behaviors. This can lead to improved marketing results and an increase in revenue.

What are B2B buyer personas?

A B2B (Business-to-Business) buyer persona is a fictional representation of a company's ideal customer. It is based on data and research about the company's target audience, including demographics, job titles, goals, challenges, and decision-making processes. B2B buyer personas help companies to understand and segment their target market, tailor their marketing efforts, and create more effective and targeted messaging and offerings. By creating a clear picture of their ideal customer, B2B companies can improve their chances of attracting and retaining clients.

This guide provides an overview of B2B buyer personas, their importance in B2B marketing strategies and examples of persona templates you can use for your business.

4 reasons why incorporating B2B personas into your marketing strategy is so important 

B2B personas can greatly enhance your marketing strategy by giving you a deeper understanding of your target audience. Here are some benefits of using personas in B2B marketing campaigns:

1. Aligned strategy 

B2B personas can align sales and marketing departments in your organization and improve collaboration between team members. With clearly defined personas, sales reps and marketers can identify target clients and find ways to engage these audiences. 

Marketing teams might develop strategies to generate leads that match a buyer persona through email, social media, content marketing, search engines, and other channels. Sales teams might qualify leads that match a buyer persona and then nurture these leads and convert them into paying customers. Working together, both teams can move more target customers through your funnels.

2. Improved targeting

B2B buyer personas help companies to understand their target audience more deeply, allowing them to tailor their messaging and offerings to better meet the needs and interests of their ideal customers. It also helps in pin-pointing and prospecting for the right B2B leads.

3. Increased conversion rates

B2B personas can lead to an increase in conversion rates by enabling you to tailor products and services to specific business clients. By identifying a client's preferences, habits, and demographic details through a well-crafted persona, you can more effectively market your offerings to them.

For instance, research has shown that media company Thomas Reuters experienced a 72% reduction in lead conversion time after using buyer personas. By understanding the needs and challenges of target clients through persona information, the organization was able to streamline their sales process.

4. Increased efficiency

By creating a clear picture of your target audience, you can make better use of your marketing resources and avoid wasting time and money on efforts that are unlikely to generate results. For instance, with buyer personas you're better equipped to create content that truly aligns with your target clients' needs versus wasting resources and time on content that will likely fall flat with your audience.

For example, if your buyer persona has a background in finance and is working for a healthcare software company, create content that addresses finance-related topics that are specific to the healthcare industry. This will improve brand awareness and help establish your brand as an authoritative resource.

Read more: 7 B2B marketing myths to unlearn: how to create human-centered content

4 traits to include in your B2B buyer personas

You don't have to include every trait or personality characteristic in a B2B buyer persona. However, making the profile of your ideal client as realistic as possible can make it easier to market products and services to your desired audience. Here are some traits to include in a buyer persona:

1. Role in the buying process

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of your ideal clients, aligning the job position of your persona with that of your target audience can be useful. For example, if your goal is to target CMOs at Fortune 500 companies, it would be beneficial to create a persona that reflects their role in the buying process, such as being responsible for purchasing marketing technology products for their marketing team, and having a significant budget allocated for marketing expenses.

2. Goals and challenges

When crafting your B2B personas, it's important to consider the driving forces and motivations of your target clients. Understanding what motivates your audience and what they are trying to achieve can help you create messaging and offerings that resonate with them. This can range from wanting to expand their startup to seeking new market opportunities or being passionate about social or environmental impact within their organization. By creating a persona that reflects their goals and challenges, you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly to better connect with your audience.

3. Buying behavior

Understanding how your target audience typically researches, evaluates, and purchases products or services can help you create more streamlined and effective marketing sales processes. This might include information on their preferred channels for research and communication, as well as their budget and time constraints.

4. Company information

Understanding the size and structure of your target audience's company, as well as their industry and competitive landscape, can help you tailor your messaging and offerings to meet their specific needs and challenges. This might include information on the company's revenue, employee size, and technology stack, among other things.

How to create buyer personas

Follow these steps to simplify the process of creating your B2B buyer personas:

Gather data

Collect information about your target audience through various sources, including customer surveys, interviews, website analytics, and existing customer data.

Analyze data

Look for patterns and trends in the data to identify common characteristics and needs among your target audience.

Create personas

Based on the data, create a detailed description of each of your target personas, including their demographics, goals, challenges, decision-making processes, and buying behavior.

Validate personas

Share your personas with sales, customer service, and product teams to get their input and validate your assumptions.

5 data sources you should leverage

Data sources play a critical role in creating accurate and effective B2B buyer personas. By leveraging the below data sources, you can create B2B buyer personas that are accurate, actionable, and effective in helping you reach and engage your target audience.

1. Customer surveys & interviews

Customer surveys and interviews provide direct insights into the goals, challenges, and decision-making processes of your target audience. Speaking directly to your audience is one of the most effective ways to gain insights into your target audience.

  • Challenges: Knowing the challenges your target clients face can help you develop solutions that address their specific pain points.
  • Pain points: Identifying the pain points of your target clients can help you develop messaging that speaks directly to their needs and concerns.
  • Inspirations: Knowing what inspires your target clients can help you align your brand and products with their values and interests.
  • Thoughts about a particular topic: Understanding the views and opinions of your target clients on a particular topic can help you tailor your messaging and solutions to align with their perspective.

2. Website analytics

Analyzing website traffic and behavior can give you insights into who is visiting your site, how they are engaging with your content, and what their interests are. Consider using technology to help you better, faster insights about which segments of your audience is engaging with you and how. Some tools to consider are: 

  • HubSpot - get easy access to website traffic, content engagement to better understand which segments are engaging and which channels they are coming from - this will help you to market more efficiently.
  • Hotjar - provides insights to help you quickly understand how users behave on your site, what they need, and how they feel through an intuitive, visual platform.
  • 6sense - helps teams to eliminate the guesswork and provide the data and visibility needed to truly understand buyer behavior.

3. Sales data

Examining your sales data can help you identify patterns in your customer base, such as which industries and job titles are most likely to purchase your products or services. Talk with your sales team, they are your front line to constant feedback from your target personas.

4. Social media listening

Monitoring social media platforms for mentions of your brand and industry can help you understand what your target audience is saying and what their concerns are.

5. Competitor research

Researching your competitors can help you identify their target personas and gain insights into what is working for them and what isn't. Include industry reports and research to give you a deeper understanding of the context in which your target audience operates and the trends and challenges affecting their industry.

3 B2B buyer personas examples to use as inspiration

So what do B2B personas actually look like? Here are some B2B buyer personas examples from the internet that can inspire your own personas: 

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1. Shawna Cummings, a buyer from a small marketing company

In this example, a project management company has created a buyer persona for its target client. The persona is Shawna Cummings, a buyer from a small marketing company that offers digital marketing services to startups. Shawna's pain points include being unable to focus on her business strategy because of day-to-day tasks. Extended free trial options, affordable subscription plans, and responsive customer support positively influence her purchasing decisions. Shawna is 36, from San Francisco, and has a bachelor's degree. 

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2. 'Marketing Mary,' a marketing manager/director at a medium-sized company

In this example, 'Marketing Mary' is the B2B buyer persona. Mary is a manager or director at a company in the tech/retail/finance space with 25-200 employees. She reports to the CEO and is in charge of a small team of three marketers. Mary's challenges include not having enough time or resources to do her job properly. Her goals are to generate more leads and traffic every month for her company. 

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3. James Choi, head manager at a marketing company

James Choi is the B2B buyer persona in this example. He is the head manager at a marketing company and has a marketing degree in marketing communications. James' goal is to automate marketing and analyze social media activities. He specializes in digital mobile and social services. James reports to his company's vice president and AP digital head. 

Feeling stuck creating B2B buyer personas? Thaynes Marketing is here to help

At Thaynes Marketing, we specialize in building a content marketing engine that factors in your B2B buyer personas. If you're interested in working together contact us to get the conversation started.

Common FAQs about B2B buyer personas 

How many B2B buyer personas should I have?

The number of B2B buyer personas depends on the size and complexity of your business and the target market you are trying to reach. Typically, it is recommended to have at least 3-5 personas to represent the different segments of your target market, but it could be more or less depending on your specific needs. It's also important to note that these personas should be regularly reviewed and updated as your business and target market evolves.

How do I create a B2B buyer persona?

To create a B2B buyer persona, gather data from various sources such as customer interviews, surveys, website analytics, and social media. Analyze the data looking for patterns and commonalities among your target customers to identify key characteristics and create a detailed profile of your ideal customer. Use the information you've gathered to create a detailed persona that includes information such as demographics, job title, pain points, goals, and how they make decisions.

Are B2B buyer personas necessary?

B2B buyer personas are not strictly necessary, but they can be extremely helpful in understanding your target customers and tailoring your marketing and sales efforts to better meet their needs. Personas can help you identify the key decision makers, pain points and goals of your ideal customer and allow you to create more effective campaigns, messaging and sales approaches. Without creating a buyer persona, your marketing and sales efforts may be less targeted and less effective.

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