The personas created by most B2B technology firms the world over, suck. They suck because they contain the wrong information and fail to perform their function as a tool to facilitate the creation of quality, targeted content.
The average B2B tech firm persona is flawed because most of the best practice guidance available isnt based on B2B tech marketing, it's based on business to consumer marketing.
In B2C marketing, knowing the demographics of your buyer is essential. Understanding their class, household size and income (amongst other things) can all be crucial to success, determining where you advertise, how you package and what price you charge.
The B2C bias that exists in the available guidance results in teams of B2B marketers pondering the name, gender, age and marital status of their ideal buyer - no doubt with a nagging feeling that something is amiss.
And something is amiss, because these things don’t matter at all in the B2B context - either in the purchase process or in the content that B2B buyers consume.
When you debate whether your owner persona is called Ollie, Owen or Oscar, you aren't just wasting your time. No. Worse than that you are undermining the value of your personas, ensuring that they never receive full buy-in from your team, let alone the wider organisation.
And what you end up with are almost wholly fictional personas that don’t do the job they are supposed to.
Focus on what really matters
Imagine if instead your could create a B2B persona that everybody agreed was an invaluable marketing tool that really helped content production. One that was an accurate snap shot of what really matters in the B2B buying process and that perfectly captured a valuable buyer type - rather than a useless one called Erin.
To do this you need to focus your personas on what really matters. What really influences your buyer's decision and, by association, the content you produce.
There are five factors that affect every B2B purchase decision:
The organisation - the role of the decision maker, their position within the organisation, the size and turnover of the company
Goals - the ultimate ways in which the decision maker's success is decided
Challenges - the big problems that hinder or prevent the decision maker from achieving their goals
Pain points - the (many) smaller, day-to-day issues that make up the challenges faced
Objections - the concerns or beliefs that oppose any possible course of action
This is the information that should feature in your B2B persona and nothing else. When it does, each blog post of content offer can be quickly and confidently tested against the relevant buyer persona and aligned even more closely to their pain points and challenges.
Content that is aligned to a better B2B persona in this way will naturally create more leads.
Pictures or no pictures?
It's common practice to include a big, colourful picture of a person's face in a buyer persona. But what is the real value of adding a completely arbitrary stock photograph of someone who clearly isn't the buyer? None we think. In fact, faces are a huge distraction that draw the eye, and then the mind, away from the important content.
The benefits of creating better B2B personas
Go to the effort of creating better B2B personas for your tech content marketing and you will actually create something that can be used daily. A document that, rather than getting filed in some deep, forgotten folder, actually gets emailed, printed and stuck to walls. Something that your colleagues come back to time and time again to be reminded how to position their content, what language to use and what keywords to optimise for.
All of this results in more inbound leads. B2B personas that really work, help create inbound marketing that really works too.