b2b marketing

By Ankit Gupta

Did you know 57% of individuals did their first-ever buyer persona development initiative within internet B2B marketing in the past two years and 72% of them are expected to do it in 2016 and beyond?

These statistics were unveiled recently by the State of Buyer Personas 2015. The survey also highlighted that 85% of the respondents were employing buyer personas for content marketing and 28% were using them for evaluating challenges of the market having a single focus — that is, to enhance the conversion rate and lead quality.

But, the question is, How effectively can we create personas for B2B marketing? To put first things first, like any other thing, there is no one way of creating personas. Here are some different approaches you can use to create personas. Have a look!

Creating Personas On The Basis Of ‘QUALITATIVE RESEARCH’
Qualitative research is all about acquiring fresh insights in order to give your site a right direction. Basically, it is an open-ended approach that doesn’t prove anything, but uncover certain things, which were unknown.

Step #1: Conduct Customer Surveys
You can hold online or offline surveys with the questions that are open-ended to know the way your customers frame their motivations and desires. Get inside the head of your customers and ensure that the personas are created on what the real people think.
Ask your customers 8-10 questions and make sure that the questions will give you the best understandings on the basis of hindrances to purchasing, mindset, and behavioral drivers. All your focus must be on extracting that “actionable” information that will help you further.

Step #2: Go for One-On-One/Phonic Interviews
Begin interviewing your existing customer base for a kick-start as they have already purchased from you and are engaged with your company. You will come to know about the buying habits of the customers.

And now, move to your current prospects and don’t forget the referrals and third-party networks. Make use of the collected data from the lead generation forms or website analytics and figure out the ones who might be included into your target personas.

Step #3: Filter Your Qualitative Research
Now, when you have everything in your fist, start segmenting! You can begin by dividing the users on the basis of the commonalities that you may find. Look for the intent, then the probable qualms and finally, the manners by which your customers are vulnerable to persuasion.
There is no hard-and-fast rule that you are going to find these many personas. There may be a chance where you can clearly define 2 personas or may be 4, which completely depends upon the research.

A recent survey by Cintell*, named 2016 Benchmark Study On Understanding B2B Buyers shows that 82% of the companies who conducted qualitative research exceeded their revenue goals.

The head of marketing of Faraday Bicycles, Michael Lattig says, “Customer understanding is at the heart of all great marketing. Without the deep understanding and empathy that buyer personas create, you’re really just guessing at what will motivate a potential customer to engage with your brand.”

Creating Personas By ‘INTEREST’
Reports say the firms that have optimized their content encircling the specific interests of the buyers are witnessing more than 10% increase in their open rates plus, the click rates have frequently doubled.

Step #1: Potential Interests – Map Them!
The interests we are targeting to are tied with the business pains. If you are aware of your pain points – its good and if not, work upon them with your sales team and map the pains to interests. Search the keywords by asking yourself- What your persona might type in the Google box?

Else, you can also learn about your personas on Twitter and LinkedIn. Line up for over 8 to 10 of your targeted customers and look out for the outlines transversely their profiles.

Step #2: Pick The Winner and Make It Your Priority
Pick the winner from the different interests you have gathered. To slender your search, opt for Google Trends where you will know the relative search volume for a number of search terms. You can also try inserting a keyword that you think is famous for that “reality check”.
Bear this in mind – if you find high volume interests, ensure that the seekers are connecting with the interest the way you mean.

Step #3: Recognize The Foretellers of Interest
Now that you are aware of what all interests to target, you may wish to get an access to all of the searcher’s history. It would be great if you could foreknow the interests before the time they make use of search engines.

Firstly, recognize those who are not looking out for your class. Secondly, slash the inbound leads in order to know who all certify quick sales. Thirdly, create a house list discarding the ones who are not likely to purchase. Fourthly, map the leads to a cherishing pathway, which may work.

Step #4: Count The Leads and There You Go!
Right from your existing house list, the present day’s website inquiries or simply a CSV, they are undoubtedly helpful in knowing the good prospects and operations that will work. The Pareto rule or the 80–20 rule is perfect for a house list where 80% of opportunities come from the 20% of the names.

You can make use of Excel or you can also load the results into your CRM to seize the data elements into scores. Else, there is no problem if you use marketing automation systems namely, Eloqua, Pardot, Hubspot and others.

The co-founder of Marketo, Jon Miller, converted 4.5% of its active prospects into leads every month simply by managing the existing content as per the topics of interest. With this, the open rates hiked from 22% to 34% and also, the click rates increased from 5.1% to 12.6%.

Angie Schottmuller, the optimization superstar says, “Successful business strategy doesn’t begin with a product; it begins with a customer—a living, breathing person with unique interests, quirks, pain points, and needs.”

Creating Qualitative Personas On The Basis Of ‘QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH’
Quantitative research is superb at informing you “what is happening” or the new insights instantly, for example, the log files of yours tell you that this much percentage of your site visitors didn’t reach the product page. In plain words, it helps you examine the hypothesis you unleashed with qualitative research.

Step #1: Conduct The Qualitative Research And Filter It!
This is just like the research you did for the above-mentioned qualitative approach. Go out and survey the customers or else, conduct interviews. The task is simply to know about what’s going on in the minds of the customers.

And then, filter the qualitative research you are having right there in your hand. Bring out the personas on the basis of commonalities. It is just the same you did for the qualitative research.

Step #2: Examine The Segmentation Via Quantitative Research
Examining the segmentation is what quantitative research is more about. It is the right time to test the segmentation you did making use of a larger sample size. The “telos” is to make sure that the segments are unique so that they are the proof for the stakeholders.

Survey the data or conduct site traffic analyzes to get a solid user behavior data. Use cross-tabs and complex statistical analysis techniques. If you witness changes supporting your strategy to make these parts into separate personas, the segmentation model is prolific!

Step #3: Create Personas for Each Division
With quantitative research, you are more confident as you are having statistical significance for all the realistic personas that you have created. Now, the personas are not just fictional creations, but are the fusions of research results having confirmation backing them up.
Not only quantitative research helps in proving your point, but it actually lessens the chances of you getting wrong. With quantitative research approach, you get a bit more of science and less of the art for your personas.

Watchfinder, which is UK online watch retailer, turned to the Google Analytics and retargeted the users of the site with the customized messages. It witnessed 13% increase in the average order value on the site with 1,300% global ROI after 6 months.


Susan Ganeshan, CMO, Clarabridge states, “CMOs need to know that the buyer persona may be hidden in vast amounts of data that is spread across their organizations, but when you tap into this data, you can not only build personas used by marketing but personas to drive your business success.”

Final Take!
All-in-all, if studied in the right manner, buyer personas help B2B marketers to achieve an understanding of the customers that has been absent for a long time. Make the real touch point link to the numerous silos customers as well as the prospects pass through and there you go. All the best!

Ankit Gupta heads the content marketing team of ExportersIndia.com, One of the leading B2B marketplaces in India. Apart from managing his team, Ankit loves to write and share his views on the latest development in the world of b2b marketing. You can Follow Ankit on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn to get more b2b marketing related updates.