How to boost B2B lead generation with buyer personas
B2B lead generation should always start with your buyer personas. Find out more about how to create them and use them in your lead generation strategy.
Published: 02 Nov 2020
5 minutes read
What is the key to B2B lead generation success? Placing yourselves in the shoes of your buyers. However, this isn’t always as simple as it appears at face value.
When a B2B prospect is going through the buyer’s journey, several factors affect their purchasing decisions. How can this business benefit us? How can they solve our problems? What are the risks involved? Do we have the budget for this service? By thinking about these questions, it is clear to see that in the complex B2B sales cycle, your product or service isn’t going to appeal to every business or every person within a company. This is why buyer personas are essential in a B2B lead generation strategy. By implementing buyer personas, you can effectively relate to customers on a human level.
Why you need buyer personas
Creating targeted and relevant content for your niche audience can be challenging. In fact, 66% of B2B marketers struggle to craft content that engages relevant prospects and is appropriate to each of the stages within the buyer’s journey.
For example, a company that sells cloud collaboration software and online workspaces may have created a persona called ‘Director Donald’. Director Donald is the director of a successful marketing agency that has grown considerably in size over the past few years. Director Donald is the founder and owner of the marketing agency. He has grown the business from a small team of three people to a team of up to 50, based in multiple offices across the UK.
Donald’s main priority is ensuring that their service provides quality, creativity and efficiency. With an influx of new clients and projects, Donald’s team sometimes struggle to meet deadlines. As the company continues to grow in size, it is becoming more difficult to delegate tasks between the design, copywriting and PR teams. He has recruited freelancers to pick up the extra workload, but he still has difficulty in reining in his team and managing projects.
By having this detailed persona in place, you can effectively create educational content that firstly helps Director Donald define his problem, while presenting your service as a solution. Furthermore, you will be better informed on what content types appeal to these personas. Donald for example, will be more interested in the financial and top-line impact of your service i.e. the expected ROI and impact on team productivity. He also needs to be confident that your service can be easily implement and used by all his team members, regardless of their experience and skill level. Therefore, content backed up by stats and hard evidence will resonate better with this persona.
Without knowledge of your persona’s business function and the problems they are facing, it becomes very difficult to offer any significant value that resonates with prospects on a personal level.
Bringing your personas to life
In order to create personas that are a true representation of your real-life customers and prospects, the importance of research cannot be overlooked.
To begin, HubSpot recommends that businesses answer as many of these questions as possible, by interviewing a customer or pretending you are the customer:
- What is your role/job title?
- How is your job measured?
- What is a typical day like?
- What skills are required?
- What knowledge and tools do you use?
- Who do you report to? Who reports to you?
- What are you responsible for?
- What does it mean to be successful in your role?
- What are your biggest challenges and how do you overcome them?
- What industry do you work in/ what is the size of your company (revenue and employees?)
- How do you learn about new information for your job/ which publications do you read?
- What associations and social media networks do you belong to?
- Age, family, education?
- How do you prefer to interact with vendors (email, phone or in person?)
- Do you use the internet to perform research? How do you search for information? What websites do you use?
You can answer these questions by analysing data collection forms, interviewing current customers and clients, organising a survey and asking your sales team for feedback to help you gain a greater insight into who your target personas are.
Putting personas into practice
Personas are not simply a one-time exercise that can be quickly forgotten about. They need to be at the heart of every marketing activity you perform and every piece of content you create.
Content needs to be adapted to each stage of the buyer’s journey. Director Donald will go through the following stages before he is ready to buy: awareness, consideration and decision.
In the awareness stage, Donald will have identified symptoms of a problem and has gone online for clarity. In this instance, Donald’s team is struggling to meet deadlines. During this stage of the buyer’s journey, a blog titled ‘5 reasons why your marketing team isn’t productive’ would resonate with Donald. After reading this blog post, Donald will have clearly identified the problem causing his symptoms. In this instance, it would be a lack of team collaboration, which is preventing his team from delegating and managing work between different departments effectively.
Once Donald has identified his problem, he will be in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. During the consideration stage, Donald will be comparing solutions to improve collaboration among his team. In this stage, content should be comparative, while highlighting why cloud collaboration is better than alternative solutions.
By the time Donald has reached the decision stage, he will have settled on cloud collaboration as his solution for encouraging team collaboration and will be comparing potential service providers. During this final step in lead generation, it is appropriate to be promotional. Case studies, customer feedback and free trials should be implemented, highlighting how your company offers unique value and expertise over competing providers.
Personas in HubSpot
In many instances, a business will have multiple personas. When you have several different personas who have different pains and different job functions, organising and measuring the success of persona-specific content and activity becomes considerably more complex.
Thankfully, HubSpot helps to make this a simpler process. Once a prospect becomes a contact by filling in a form, you can create persona specific workflows.
You can achieve this by creating a list from contacts who meet certain requirements for a persona, e.g. specific sector, business size, job title and so on (read HubSpot’s step by step tutorial here.)
Once you have a persona list, you can create segmented workflow emails, supplying personas with relevant content that nurtures them into becoming customers.
Having persona-specific workflows in place can also help you to identify how successful your personas are. For example, if a particular persona’s related workflows are experiencing a low conversion rate, you will be able to realise that the marketing activity you are supplying this persona isn’t resonating with them, or the persona itself needs reevaluating.
Now that you've nailed your buyer personas, find out how you can implement them into a wider B2B website lead generation project here.
This blog was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated where possible for accuracy and comprehensiveness in October 2020.