In a recent post, we highlighted how crucial content marketing is for B2B tech firms. But to create the best possible content that will resonate with prospective buyers, you first need to define your buyer personas.
Buyer personas are integral to everything you create as a content marketer. They represent your ideal customers. Without them, you’re creating content blind.
To get the most accurate and rich insight for your buyer persona profiles, you need to truly understand your target buyers’ point of view. Interviewing your target buyers - your customers and prospects - is the best way to do this.
But what questions do you need to ask to get the level of detail you need? To help, we’ve compiled a list of questions B2B tech firms should ask their customers and prospects when developing buyer personas.
- What is your age and gender?
- What is your marital status?
- Do you have children?
- What is your income range?
- What is your educational background?
The answers to these questions will provide useful context for understanding the type of person your buyer persona is, and what motivates them.
For instance, a millennial at the start of their career, and a seasoned tech buyer with many years' experience, will have different fears and aspirations. This can impact on the content, and even tone, they respond best to.
- In which industry does your company work?
- What is the size of your company?
Knowledge about your persona’s company like industry, size and number of employees is key. This will help you understand their goals and the pressures they face. For instance, an IT Manager in an SME will face very different pressures to a CTO in a large enterprise with thousands of employees.
Job role and responsibilities
- What is your job role? What are you responsible for?
What does their current job role entail? It’s also useful to build a picture of how long they have been in their role, and how they got to this point in their career.
- Whom do you report to? Who reports to you?
Understanding where they fit within the wider business will provide crucial context for understanding the pressures and challenges they face, and for how purchase decisions are made.
- What does a typical day look like?
You want to build a picture of their everyday work life. Ask them to describe their whole day, and let them speak without interruption so they describe the details most noteworthy to them. This will signal to you what they consider most significant.
Challenges and pain points
- What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
The aim of any content you create is to help your target audience understand, or find a solution for their pain. So, what are their pains? What do they find stressful? What worries them? Knowing the challenges and fears of your target buyers can guide you as to their motivations when it comes to business decisions.
- What is the least favourite part of your job?
Knowing what your prospective buyers dislike about their job equips you with a deeper insight into their pain, which you can use to engage them through your content. It also provides guidance on the type of content you should create. For example, you could produce a blog or eBook discussing viable solutions for making this part of their job easier.
- What online sources do you use for information about your job / when researching new products?
Here you want to explore all the online resources they use; industry bodies, blogs, online trade journals, and social networks. And, why these? Do they pay attention to a particular blog because they trust the company? Or because their content is easy to digest, or speaks in a certain tone?
- What type of online content do you prefer?
This is your opportunity to ask your customers and prospects anything you like. So why not ask them outright what content they would like to see? Research by kissmetrics shows that B2B tech buyers are most influenced by whitepapers. But does this apply to buyers in your specific space? And what else do they want? If you know they are interested in podcasts or video content for example, you'll know to incorporate these in your content library.
- What offline sources do you use?
Do they belong to any social, professional or networking groups, or attend industry events and conferences? If you know they always go to the Misco Expo every year, you could write a blog post on tips for getting the most from the event.
- When buying new tech products or services, who is involved in decision-making?
In B2B buying, there will often be more than one person involved in the purchasing decision. In fact, studies have shown that tech buying committees often consist of at least four people, and that business leaders are becoming increasingly more involved. The number of people and levels involved has implications for how you direct your content. For instance, you may want to consider a blog titled ‘How to convince your C-suite to invest in X solution.’
- What factors are important when choosing a new tech product or service?
Identifying the aspects or features critical to your buyer means you can create content demonstrating that your solution has these capabilities. If you know particular security elements are essential, you can write a blog post on this topic. If a strong track record in their industry is important, you can produce case studies. Or if smooth implementation is key, produce a whitepaper on the technical detail of how your solution was successfully implemented within an organisation in your space.
- What are your most common objections when buying a new tech product or service?
Tech buying can be complicated. There is so much to consider; from security and privacy issues, the implications of implementing a new system, and managing change within the organisation. Cost is often a big concern. And what impact will a new solution have on current employees? All these considerations may mean your buyer chooses not to invest in your product or service. It's therefore important to know the specific barriers of your prospective buyers, so you can create content that breaks them down.
In a fast-paced tech industry, buyers are regularly seeking content to stay up to date with trends and new technologies. You need to make sure they find and engage with your content. Asking these buyer persona questions in interviews with your customers and prospects will help you capture the details you need to create insightful buyer personas. So you can produce relevant, interesting, and engaging content for your tech buyers.