Key step to moving beyond survival mode: Revising B2B buyer personas
Company priorities have shifted in the wake of Covid-19. Revising B2B buyer personas is important to reaching them on the right terms.
The fallout of Covid-19 indefinitely altered the supply chain. Even months after the first shockwave, companies are adjusting to new circumstances that bring new priorities when they look for partnerships and make purchasing decisions.
If your organization went through a first round of marketing plan updates back in March to reflect the new reality, time has come to take a second look at revising B2B buyer personas. But we realize time is of the essence. Few companies have days to spare for the rigor of examining every detail of what makes a target audience tick.
Yet, it pays to get the personas just right. If your messaging is not calibrated to their current needs and pain points, the effort may be largely wasted.
Let’s say you offer an inventory solution and your marketing pitch and channels remain the same pre- and post Covid-19 even as shippers, carriers, and logistics managers say there may be a paradigm shift when it comes to future sourcing and inventory management. The fact is you may be missing an optimal opportunity to position your product in a whole new light that resonates with current buyers and also has the potential to reach an untapped audience.
5 questions that will help you revise B2B buyer personas
So, what is the quick route to revising B2B buyer personas to extract the most important details? It really comes down to nailing the answers to five key questions — while avoiding getting bogged down in trivia that has no bearing on how the persona relates to your product offering or service (leave the search for the perfect persona pic for another time).
1. What are the top three priorities of your buyer persona?
This question relates to the problems or objectives that the buyer dedicates time, budget, and political capital too. Although many end-users of supply chain solutions have been able to step off the rollercoaster ride of the past few months, some will be dealing with bumpy patches for the unforeseeable future while others are adjusting to a brand-new business landscape. A retailer that pre-Covid-19 was focused on speeding up deliveries may now be consumed with dealing with suppliers to secure inventory.
Question to ask yourself: How can you align your product/service with the new priorities of your target audience?
2. How does the buyer identify success?
Take a look at the tangible or intangible metrics and rewards that the buyer uses to measure success. Is the buyer hoping his or her contributions will lead to a promotion? Is the buyer focused on acquiring a certain number of clients, improving internal organization, or generating revenue growth? If an IT-manager before Covid-19 tried to demonstrate cost savings to upper management, focus may now have switched to successfully implementing cross-department workflows.
Question to ask yourself: Can your product/service play a role in helping the buyer achieve the desired success?
3. What are the challenges the buyer is trying to overcome?
The answer to this question has likely changed significantly for your buyers. A shipper that just a few months ago faced a predictable environment may now deal with a shortage of cross-docking facilities in addition to shipping restrictions that change across state lines.
Questions to ask yourself: Does your product or service fit into your buyer’s new reality? How can you alleviate the challenges?
4. What does the buyer’s journey look like?
Again, anticipate considerable adjustments. With the cancellation or postponement of trade shows that many view as one of the most important opportunities to network and connect, your buyers will have to take the search for solutions elsewhere. Since technology and service providers rank content assets as the most effective lead-generating tactic (trade shows come in a close second), it is not a far-fetched guess that buyers will seek out digital channels to research and initiate contact. In the process of revising B2B buyer personas, identify where your target audience is spending their time.
Question to ask yourself: Which channels will be the most effective in reaching potential buyers?
5. What decision criteria does the buyer use?
How will the buyer compare and contrast aspects or your product or service with the alternatives? In light of the pandemic impact, budgetary constraints could play a larger role than usual. The tendency to “make do” with current solutions is also a factor that many marketers will run into. What holds true for your buyers?
Question to ask yourself: Based on the decision criteria, how can you preempt questions that may come up?
With the help of your sales team, market research, and — ideally — interviews with actual buyers as well as prospects who eventually picked a competitor, you can craft relevant, up-to-date B2B buyer personas.
Knowing exactly who your audience is, what their goals and challenges are, where they look for information, and how they make purchasing decisions is the foundation of any marketing strategy. And when circumstances change so drastically as in recent months, revising B2B buyer personas is a crucial step to remain effective and, in the end, grow stronger.