UPDATE: 6 ways to immediately improve your B2B buyer personas

As a smart B2B marketer, you’re probably already rocking a pretty solid buyer persona. You know your ideal customer’s job title, age and educational background. You know where he goes to read up on the latest industry news and what LinkedIn groups he belongs to. You’ve even given him a catchy name, like IT Manager Tim or President Paul.

Sure, that’s a good start, but are those basic stats really providing enough insight to produce truly impactful inbound marketing material?

If you want to take your buyer persona to that next proverbial level, try asking these four powerful questions for better lead generation.

1. What does a “day in the life” look like?

From the moment your buyer gets up to the moment he goes to bed, what does his day look like? Is he in the office by 7 a.m. or does he have to get his kids on the school bus? Is he thrifty and packs lunch or does he enjoy splurging on fancy meals with clients? Is he stuck in meetings all day or down in the trenches working with his staff?

These insights will let you know what he values, what stresses him out and more.

2. What does he consider a win?

A good definition of a “win” goes beyond overused phrases like “improving ROI” or “speeding up delivery time.” Get specific and turn your buyer persona’s “win” into a SMART goal with a rationale.

For example, President Paul wants to grow revenue by 20% by the end of the fiscal year (a SMART goal) so his company can hire 20–30 new staff members and break ground on a new headquarters (the rationale).

Remember, these are still semi-fictional scenarios; if your buyer wants to grow by 35% vs. 20% or just remodel the office, it’s OK…you’re still in the ballpark!

3. What does he want to learn about?

You might be able to identify several topics on which your buyer is already knowledgeable (sales, supply chain, management, etc.), but what does he want to learn about?

For example, maybe IT Manager Tim wants to learn about affordable ways to improve his network security in case of a cyber attack. Once you know this, you should be writing content targeted toward his specific learning goals as well as his stage in the buyer’s journey.

4. What is he looking for in a vendor/product?

Based on the info in your buyer persona, you might assume to know what a prospect wants when working with a vendor or selecting a new product.

But have you asked him outright?

Perhaps you think landing the deal is all about price when really President Paul would say it’s about a good cultural fit and ongoing support. Don’t assume…ask. And then position all of your sales and marketing material to talk about those selling points upfront.

5. What are their biggest challenges?

You're in business because you're solving a problem for your target audience. How does that problem affect their day-to-day life? Go into detail, and focus on the nuances that illustrate how that problem makes them feel— but more importantly on how they react.

Try coming up with real quotes to refer to these challenges. For example, "It’s been difficult getting company-wide adoption of new technologies in the past;" or "I don’t have time to train new employees on a million different databases and platforms."

6. How does he prefer to interact with vendors?

The experience of purchasing your product should align with your persona's expectations. What should their sales experience feel like? Is it consultative? How much time do they expect to spend with a sales person? Do they anticipate an in-person meeting, or would they rather conduct the sales process online or over the phone?

Understanding the best way to connect with each buyer persona will increase your chances of maintaining communication with them.

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Conclusion

Inspired to update your buyer persona yet? We sure hope so! But whether you do a major or minor overhaul after reading this blog post, it’s important to remember that your work is never really done. (Sorry!)

Why? Because what rings true for your ideal customer today will more than likely change over time.

Don’t worry though…keeping your buyer persona up-to-date is as easy as asking questions. Interview new clients you land. Interview the prospects you lost, too. Keep the dialogue going, adjust your buyer persona, then keep rocking that sales and marketing process!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted on February 9, 2017 and has been updated with additional concepts.