Create Your B2B Buyer Persona | Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide
The buyer personas are the foundation of all marketing activities, value messages and marketing content. You simply cannot connect to your customers without a strong understanding of their needs and concerns. So, to address their pain points and offer a solution in words they understand, you have to conduct thorough research and prepare your buyer persona profiles.
To help you do that, we’ve come up with a summary of the most important customer details you should collect. We’ve been building it over the last three years while working on 20+ B2B projects. All so you can create your buyer persona profiles in a structured and detailed way.
[TEMPLATE] Create your own B2B buyer persona
Use the most detailed buyer persona template made for B2B and start understanding your customers better today
How to create your B2B buyer persona
To create your B2B buyer persona follow these steps:
- Conduct research: Review your systems, do some online research, talk to your sales team and interview your customers.
- Analyze the results: Search for patterns and identify your personas.
- Create your buyer persona: Fill out the customer details we compiled for you.
1. Conduct research
Before you fill in the buyer persona profile, you’ll have to do research. Here’s what we suggest you do.
Review the current data you have
To review the current data you have, you can use your CRM, project management tools, or any other system that has customer data. Analyze the current and past customers. You’ll probably notice some similarities and detect patterns. You’ll get a better idea of the company size and the industry they work in. You’ll also gather some data about the contact person.
Do online research
Your target audience uses online channels for various reasons. Giving you the opportunity to track this behavior and gain a lot of insight as a result. So what you can do is analyze the search terms they use in Google, find out what they ask in forums, discover their discussions in social media groups or on other communication channels, etc.
Talk to your sales team
The next step is to talk to your sales team. They are in direct contact with your customers and should have plenty of useful information. We suggest you prepare a questionnaire so that you have some structure for the interview. Write down exactly what you want to find out. This way, you’ll successfully lead the conversation and obtain maximum value.
Interview your customers
The most important research, from our experience, is the interviews with clients. The information they can give you themselves is priceless. We find that a lot of clients like to talk and will happily have that interview. Especially if they are satisfied with your service. However, bear in mind that they’re busy people, so prepare the interview to be as brief as possible while making sure you'll gather all the info you need.
2. Analyze the results
While researching you’ll probably detect different types of customers. That’s OK because it usually isn’t straightforward and we often serve more than one type of customer. This means that during the analysis of your results, you’ll have to search for patterns and define your segments. For each of those segments, you can create a buyer persona. Also, you can create personas for each person involved in the buying process (user, decision-maker, influencer).
3. Create your buyer persona
When you are done with the research and analysis, you can move forward with the creation of the buyer persona profiles. To help you with this, we’ve compiled a summary of the most important customer details you should write down. They are explained in the next section. So, during your research and analysis, try to fill in as many details as possible. You might not find all details relevant, but they're a great basis for your final buyer persona document. You may even have to write a few new details on your own, based on your individual needs.
The ultimate list of customer details to map your B2B buyer persona
We grouped these customer details into seven categories for a better overview.
- Company & role details
- Personal characteristics
- Professional goals and motivators
- Professional information sources and content
- Pain points and problems
- Value messaging
1. Company & role details
This category includes details about the company and the role of your buyer persona. This is just the tip of the iceberg, which is why I call it the warm-up section. A good deal of this data you can discover online with a simple search. Especially for the company info and basic role details.
You might also collect some of these details through contact forms, so make sure to check your CRM. For everything else that’s missing, ask your customers during your interview or through an online survey.
↑ This category holds information on the type of companies that belong to your target audience. So basically this is the company profile you're targeting. Here you should write down some general specifics such as company size, industry, type, location, etc.
↑ As part of the organization details, we also included the role specifics. In this section, you should describe your buyer persona's position and responsibilities at the company. Write down their job title, the department they work in, if they’re part of a team, who they report to or supervise, etc.
Furthermore, you have to figure out which role they have in the buying committee. In B2B, usually, there are more people involved in the buying decision process. First of all, there are the users, which are going to use the product/service or be directly connected to it. Then we have the decision maker who decides on the purchase. And finally, we have the influencers who, as their name suggests, have the power to influence the buying decision.
2. Personal characteristics
In this category, we’ve listed other demographic and psychographic data. I’ve been using it mostly when forming the tone of communication and the brand voice.
I almost never select a specific age for my persona. Instead, I choose an age group. This way you’ll be able to better understand your persona by looking at the characteristics their age group has.
As for education, you can write down your buyer persona’s level of education. Or you can go even further and write down the school names or degree titles if it’s relevant to you.
Personality traits, attitude, manners
Is your persona analytical, creative, skeptical, open-minded, open to change? Are there any particular traits, attitudes or manners that are specific to your persona?
What are your persona’s personal values and do they relate to yours and the way your business operates?
Channels used for personal purposes
We will cover the channels and information sources used for professional purposes in one of the next sections. And while the purpose may overlap, it’s important to differentiate which channels are used specifically or for the most part for personal reasons. When using these sources for private reasons, they might not be in the right state of mind for professional content. Thus, trying to reach them on these channels might not be a good idea. However, this is not set in stone, which is why you should always test different approaches and learn from the data you collect.
3. Professional goals and motivators
We are slowly moving on to the data that needs more thorough research and analysis. At this point, we are interested in finding as much information as possible about our persona’s professional priorities, goals, skills, competencies and motivators.
Job priorities are basically the most important tasks your persona executes on a regular basis. So writing them down will give you a better idea of where your product fits in their routine.
Briefly explained professional goals represent what your persona wants to achieve in their career. They refer to professional development and growth as well as advancing in their career. A few examples of such goals are achieving a work-life balance, landing a promotion, and learning a new skill.
Company goals generally represent a company's larger purpose. They are broad outcomes the company aims to achieve. But why are they important for our persona profile? Let’s see through an example.
So let’s say your product is for instance sustainable. And one of the company goals of your target audience is to decrease the depletion of natural resources. In this case, it’s important to show that your product is in line with their goals and can even help achieve them. This could basically be an additional selling point for your product. So showing you can support their company goals opens up new possibilities for adding value to your customers.
These goals in some cases can overlap with the company goals. However, the difference between these two types is that work-related goals are usually tied to the individual workplace or department. Meaning that these goals are related to your persona’s job and work responsibilities.
A work-related goal for an HR manager can be, for instance, improving the onboarding process for new employees. While the CIO and CDO might be working towards reaching their goal of digital transformation.
KPIs - Job success measurement
In other words, job success measurement is how your persona shows results to their managers. The KPIs are in fact correlated to the work-related goals. They are the metrics that show the effectiveness of achieving those goals.
A KPI for a Customer Support Manager could be the customer satisfaction score. For a Marketing Manager, it can be the cost per acquisition.
Try to find out what motivates them in their workplace. The motivators can range from rewards, bonuses, and recognition to creative freedom and meaningful work.
Skills are the specific learned abilities that your persona needs to perform their job well. Knowing how to work in a CRM tool, programming, or speaking a foreign language are just a few examples of skills your persona might have.
Competencies, on the other hand, refer to your persona’s knowledge and behaviors that make them successful at their job. A competency can be taking initiative or paying attention to detail.
4. Professional information sources and content
The best way to reach out to or be seen by your customers is in the places they hang out professionally. This includes live events as well as online events and channels. But you also want to find out what kinds of professional topics they are interested in to create content as well as messages they resonate with.
Offline information sources for professional purposes
Try to find out where your customers hang out offline. Are they going to exhibitions, seminars, networking events, conferences? Do they read journals and magazines? Which ones?
Online information sources for professional purposes
Try to detect channels and events they use for work-related purposes or their professional development. Ask the following questions. Which information sources do they use when they're searching for answers? Where do they go when they search for inspiration? Do they use social media channels to stay informed about new trends and updates from the industry?
Possible information sources can be Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Twitter Spaces, online conferences, blogs, Slack channels, etc.
Brands and influencers
Check if there are any industry influencers and brands your customers follow. This will help you better understand the kind of content they want to consume. But it might also be an opportunity for a future collab with those brands and influencers. If your customers are in their audience, you can leverage their relationship to increase awareness and promote your offer.
Content format preferences
Deliver value in a form they love. To do so, determine if they prefer podcasts, videos, blog posts, social media posts, whitepapers, webinars, etc.
Find out which topics interest them, what they like to learn about or need for their job. This is such a good question to generate new ideas for your next blog or social media post, video or any other content asset.
Another thing to ask your customers is which keywords they use to search for information. This is how you’ll identify which questions they ask and which words they use to describe the problem. Also, you’ll get an idea of the keywords you can target with your content.
Your persona probably uses different online tools or software when executing their day-to-day tasks. These could be different CRM tools, ERP software, accounting programs, video or photo editing software, etc.
It’s good to know if your persona’s preferred method of communication is email or phone calls, online meetings, live meetings, etc.
5. Pain points & problems
We are moving on to the problem specification, where you’ll outline the pain points your persona is facing as well as describe the alternative solutions.
Every one of us has our own fears. Your persona has them as well. From a professional perspective, mistakes can be one of these fears. For instance, making the wrong decision or overspending. On the other hand, a lot of people are afraid of failing. So not delivering results is also a common fear professionals have.
What frustrates your persona at work? Is it vendors that don’t provide support after implementation or organizing meeting slots when everybody has different preferences? Find out exactly what bothers them, so that you can address these particular issues and make your persona feel seen.
Improving processes, decreasing the usage of materials or increasing productivity. The biggest challenges your persona is facing can be different.
Define the problem you’re solving.
How they describe the problem
Ask your persona to describe the problem in their own words. Focus on the terminology they use and what aspects of the problem they're focusing on. It’s interesting how their answers might differ from yours. So make sure to incorporate their words in your communication and make sure they understand your message.
How are they solving the problem at the moment? What’s the current solution they are using or are they not using any solution?
Problems with available solutions
What are the flaws, limitations or other issues of your competitor's solution? What do they lack? Is there something that can be improved?
Problems if no solution is available or they don’t want to take action
Sometimes your “competitor” will be the status quo. Meaning that not taking any action to solve the problem is a valid alternative to your product. In addition, you might also find yourself in a situation when there’s no other product on the market that solves the exact same problem. In both cases, you’ll need to describe the problems they’ll be facing if they don’t seek a solution.
Here you’ll write down how you can help solve their problem. You’ll also describe how your product can benefit them and how it stands out from other solutions. Also, it’s good to consider if there are any possible objections to your offer and what are the key attributes your customers search for in vendors.
This is the solution you are offering them.
Value you bring them
Think about how they’re going to benefit from your product. In what aspects can the product help them? What is the outcome of using your product?
What’s making your product stand out? How is it different from the competitors? Think about what’s unique about your product.
Objections to your service/product
Customers almost always have some sort of objections to the offer. And that’s completely OK. However, that doesn’t mean that you should accept them. Instead, write down as many objections as possible or at least the most common ones. Then get ready to respond by preparing arguments that will discredit each one of them. Give your persona a sense of trust and strengthen your product’s image.
Key qualities in vendors
B2B customers rely on emotions when making purchasing decisions. Even if it doesn’t seem so and some still think that B2B purchasing is based solely on logic. They do focus on emotional responses such as trust, confidence, concern, and suspicion. And a lot of times they have certain expectations of the vendors they work with. So find out which qualities matter to your persona the most.
7. Value messaging
We’ve come to the last section of the persona profile, which is the value messaging. Review all the previous learnings of your persona and formulate the messages you want to communicate to them. Think about which values are essential for your persona to make sure they resonate with the messages.
Creating your buyer persona profile is a process that takes a lot of time and effort. But it doesn't have to be boring. Interviewing them can also be an excellent opportunity to connect with them. You'll have the chance to openly talk about their interests, goals, pain points and more. So think of this as a way of nurturing your relationship.
- How to create your B2B buyer persona
- 1. Conduct research
- 2. Analyze the results
- 3. Create your buyer persona
- The ultimate list of customer details to map your B2B buyer persona
- 1. Company & role details
- 2. Personal characteristics
- 3. Professional goals and motivators
- 4. Professional information sources and content
- 5. Pain points & problems
- 6. Solution
- 7. Value messaging