Building B2B Customer Personas to Gain Deeper Insight Into Target Buyers

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Every day there's more information available to marketers about consumers, including their transaction histories, social media comments, mobile and website behaviors, etc. But there's far less data available about B2B buyers, including information about their preferences and interests, making it challenging for B2B sales and marketing teams to understand their clients' interests and needs in what is typically a more complex and extended sales cycle.
Customer Engagement

Every day there's more information available to marketers about consumers, including their transaction histories, social media comments, mobile and website behaviors, etc. But there's far less data available about B2B buyers, including information about their preferences and interests, making it challenging for B2B sales and marketing teams to understand their clients' interests and needs in what is typically a more complex and extended sales cycle.To help it to better understand its customers and customer segments, HCSS began developing customer personas using software from Cintell. HCSS is a Sugar Land, TX company that makes software for the construction industry. The company's clients build infrastructure - bridges and roads, dams, airports, etc. Clients use HCSS's software to handle various facets of construction, from project management to equipment maintenance to safety management.

Cintell's SmartPersonas software helps clients like HCSS to develop rich, digital models of customer segments to better understand their buying habits, motivations, preferences, and more.

HCSS has used information gleaned from its five customer personas in a number of ways. One of the top benefits that HCSS has gained is a greater awareness about the type of information that its clients are interested in that it can apply to content on its website to help make the content more relevant and engaging. This includes administering the terminology that its clients use on its website.

For instance, all of the benefits to HCSS's safety management software have been re-worded in the customer's voice, says Dan Briscoe, vice president of marketing at HCSS.
"We used to be very heavily focused in marketing on promoting our products and we've been blown away by the work our customers are doing," says Briscoe. "Now, we spend a third to half of our time focusing on the big infrastructure projects our customers are doing and making them the heroes in our content."

For example, one HCSS client, W.W. Clyde & Co., is featured on the company's website for the work it's doing in helping to reconfigure the I-15 interchange in Cedar City, UT for improved traffic flow while improving safety.

"These companies are rebuilding the infrastructure of America and a lot of people aren't aware of this," notes Briscoe.

Although Briscoe and his team haven't attempted to measure the business impact from its use of buyer personas, they have seen an increase in traffic to the company's website and a rise in new leads. The use of customer personas, says Briscoe, "has led us to change how we do marketing by placing the customer at the center of our efforts."

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EXPERT OPINION