Building A B2B Buyer Persona For Your Tech Startup

Buyer Persona

Know your customers inside-out with this simple guide 

I don’t have the time to build a buyer persona for my B2B company. I am just starting out, so I should just focus on getting customers now.

This is a common reason (excuse) cited by founders or the marketing lead of tech companies for not building a B2B buyer persona

We see this even more so in B2B companies, where some marketing teams argue that they are marketing to companies and not consumers

When in reality, we should see it as H2H (Human marketing to another Human) 

Ok, time to confess that I did not come up with this H2H concept- it was taken from a recent webinar I attended 😉

But even so, this emphasizes the importance of building a buyer persona for marketing success. Once you know who you are marketing to better than they know themselves, all that is left is to execute on your plan

Before we get into how to create a buyer persona, let us define what a buyer persona is. More specifically, what you will include in a template

After creating a buyer persona, these are the main points you should have covered regarding your ideal customer 

  • Demographics: Age group, gender and location 
  • Job title of the buyer
  • What are the KPI and roles and responsibilities of this person
  • What are the main pain points this person faces in his job
  • Where does he gain industry knowledge/insights from
  • Is this person a decision-maker or is his superior the one who decides
  • Will he be the one using your product 

Looks complicated? Don’t worry as we will cover each step of creating a buyer persona in this article

Hint: It is not rocket science

Let’s get into it! 

Start From The Data Of Your B2B Customers 

If you already have a website and a few customers, reviewing the data you have will provide you with valuable information

When reviewing your customers, which customer is easy to work with? Which customer is likely to refer you to another company and what is it about your offering that offers the most value to them?

Start from the profile of the company before looking at the job title of the person you usually liaise with 

This will give you a good idea of what kind of customer is likely to be converted when marketing to them

Analyze your website traffic by using tools such as Google Analytics and in particular, look for data with regards to

  1. The demographics of your visitors
  2. The channels they take to visit your website (direct, organic, referral or through social media)
  3. What are their affinity categories (interests)
  4. What search terms does your website visitors use before visiting your website?

Looking at your existing data will give you a good idea of the kind of company that is likely to buy your product. Furthermore, this will help you in your audience selection when buying digital ads in the future

The next step will be to identify the profile of the decision-makers in these companies

Identifying the decision makers

When it comes to B2B marketing, there is more than one decision-maker involved in the sales process.

This means that you need to market to different people who are likely to have different KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to meet

Note that the keyword here is people- always remember this point when doing B2B marketing  

Who do you usually present a demo to? Is it the head of marketing, head of technology, or the CEO of the company? 

After identifying the job titles of the decision-makers, look for profiles with these job titles on LinkedIn. Look at the achievements these profiles have highlighted and the KPIs that are laid out in the job ads for these roles

What your buyer persona should look like at this stage

This will give you a clearer idea of what kind of results potential customers are looking for. It also makes communicating the benefits of your solution a lot easier

From Buyer Persona To Interviewing Real Leads  

You now have a decent idea of your potential customer’s profile on paper. However, that is not enough information for effective marketing! While building a B2B buyer persona is a good start, the information is only on paper. You still need to meet them in real life.

Now is the time to get to know your potential customers in real-life. This is usually the difference between B2B startups that succeed and those that fail 

There are a few ways to reach out to the right people to interview 

  • Connect with people that have the job titles you researched previously and ask to interview them
  • Ask family and friends to introduce to you the relevant people
  • Reach out to associations or clubs in your industry

While you will need to build relationships with others for an introduction, it is well worth the effort 

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Ideally, you will want to interview people who belong to different types of organizations in terms of size and product offering 

Here are a few questions you may want to ask during the interview

  • What are the main challenges you face in your day to day work?
  • What are your KPIs? Possible to share a figure (e.g. annual sales target, keeping costs below a certain figure etc)
  • Where do you go to get information for your industry? 
  • Which industry thought leaders and publications do you follow?
  • What is considered useful content for you?
  • Which industry conferences are considered “must attend” for anyone in the industry?
  • Is the solution you offer something they will be willing to pay out of their own pocket? If no, why not?
  • Who do they report to in their company? Is this person the key decision-maker?
  • After explaining your product, what are the key benefits your interviewee can see?
  • Does your interviewee know about your competitors, and what is their impression of your competitors?

When asking these questions, it is important to refrain from explaining your product and company too much 

While it can be tempting to “sell” your product, your main aim is to get an unbiased view of what your potential customers REALLY think

Using/Iterating Personas For Your Tech Product

OK, doing everything that I just listed in this article will not give you a complete understanding of your customers just yet. 

However, if you find the sales team constantly finding it hard to close the leads provided by you or worse still, not being able to find leads, then it is time to work on building a buyer’s persona 

The next step will be to work on your content marketing to establish your brand as the top player in your category and most importantly, generate quality inbound leads

What other B2B best marketing practices do you find useful for tech companies? Comment below!

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