Using personal characteristics and professional interests of a typical buyer is one strategy for developing B2B buyer personas.
Another common, and often more effective approach, is to create personas based on the prospect’s stage within the buying journey.
A detailed personal profile is still valuable in generating sales leads, but you should take account of the distinct needs of your buyers throughout their journey.
Last month we talked about The Power of Buyer Personas in our post Answering Your Buyers Questions With Content Marketing, the following is a look at the benefits of a stage-based persona, and how companies develop marketing strategies that align with a particular stage in the buyer’s journey.
Your company may have its own labels and number of stages in a typical buying path. However, the three general stages often considered in stage-based persona development are awareness, consideration and decision.
These phases align closely with the somewhat antiquated AIDA marketing acronym — Attention, Interest, Decision and Action.
The goal of developing personas based on journey stage is to formulate marketing strategies that hit people at the right moment. Someone just starting to search for information is in a different place than someone who is nearing a purchase decision, for instance.
Content marketing, in particular, is often centred on connecting people at the right time with the right message.
With that in mind, you should also be tailoring your message. For example, segmenting your ideal customer into sub-categories so that it includes the following headings:
- Industry Specific
- Company Type
- Personal Information
If you align your content with your personas and then map that to where your buyers are in their journey, it enables you to engage with them in a much more effective and personalised manner.
Understanding the Buying Cycle
Your B2B buyer personas will obviously differ from those of competitors and companies in other industries. However, it is good to have a general familiarity with the motives and interests of prospects that dictate how they behave at each stage.
Here is a basic depiction of the awareness-consideration-decision evolution:
Awareness: At this stage, the prospect has just begun to search for information related to a critical business issue. Promotional strategies aimed at people matching this persona quality include basic problem definition, general solution-based information and branding. Companies with innovative or high-tech solutions must first communicate the potential for a business to improve itself based on access to the new product.
Consideration: Buyers at this stage have gotten more serious about finding a solution. They have learned about how to generally address the business issue, and now want to evaluate provider or brand options. Marketing aimed at this buyer type is more solution-based and highlights brand benefits.
Decision: Buyers at the decision stage are preparing to take action on a purchase. In some cases, a case study, testimonial or demonstration is necessary to nudge a hesitant buyer off the fence. Some prospects need to hear salespeople differentiate their solution from competitors, and need to know how the company will assure a quality experience.
Whether you merge personal profiles and buyer stages or focus specifically on stage-based personas, it is critical in B2B to know the buying cycle stage of a targeted buyer.
The more you understand the motives, preferences and particular needs of a prospect at a certain stage, the greater your ability to communicate on-time and in the right way.
Essentially, know who you are targeting, when you are targeting them in their buying cycle, and what you are targeting them with.
Contact us to discuss how our content syndication services can help you to achieve your company’s B2B marketing objectives.