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  • Writer's pictureDiane Pierson

My B2B Buyer Persona Epiphany

Today's B2B Buyer personas aren't useful. This isn't news, but the reason is staggeringly obvious - B2B buyer personas don't talk about BUYING.

User personas are usually on-topic, sharing insights on problems users have and what solved looks like, in addition to the typical demographic info. Unfortunately, buyer personas often look like user-persona knockoffs with a couple "competitors considered" and an "influencer" or "decider" designation tacked on.

B2B buyer persona should describe how they buy to innovate on purpose

B2B Buyer Personas Should Focus on Buying Challenges

Pull up your buyer personas and take a look. How much of the content addresses their unique role and needs during the buying process? Probably not much. But now that you've thought about it - why else would you build a buyer persona? Kind of cringy that we're just getting here, but now that we are . . .

What to Include in a B2B Buyer Persona

With this new perspective, here are some questions to answer in your new and improved buyer persona:

  • What are this buyer's buying criteria? Especially in B2B buying decisions, there may be buyers who don't care about the product, don't know why users want it and don't care about either. This buyer persona must provide insights about their unique buying goals and what they'll value in your product - which could be very different than what users prioritize.

  • Where does this buyer fit in the buying journey? In complex buying decisions, "influencer" and "decider," as blanket statements, aren't actionable because buyers come and go throughout the buying journey. An early-stage decider may disappear during contract negotiations. To fix this issue, couple terms like "influencer" with a buying phase: when does this persona appear? When do they influence versus decide?

  • What decision are they making? Early on, the buying decision isn't which product to choose but whether to solve this problem at all. If your buyer is the one who will work to get budget for ANY solution, you need to help them justify that action before getting them to buy from you, specifically.

  • Where will they get information? Legal counsel and CTOs won't read user-focused marketing and won't open your emails. But they DO want pertinent information so they can make their part of the buying decision. Be sure you create specific messaging for them and deliver it in the venues and marketing assets they engage with and trust.

B2B buyer personas should help us move prospects through the funnel and close more deals faster. Make sure your buyer personas are accomplishing that in order to innovate on purpose.

About the Author

Diane Pierson is the Founder and Chief Market Strategist of Innovate on Purpose, a consultancy enabling successful product commercialization for B2B tech companies. Order her book, How to Innovate on Purpose or contact Diane at


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