Increasing sales through understanding B2B buyer personas

Written by Becky Armstrong

Sep 22 2014

Ever reached out to a customer and been greeted with... absolutely no response at all?

It’s an all-too common result, stemming from the truth that really, no one wants to buy your product or service. Or at least - they think they don’t.

Why You Need To Understand Buyer Psychology

To be successful, marketers working in the B2B sector need to be clever. You know you need to understand your personas and solve pain points to target effectively. You know your services must reach customers in the right way; positioned to solve their every need. But do you really understand how to use audience motivations to gain the upper hand? It’s all a matter of understanding psychology.

Typically by delving into the deep, dark inner workings of the consumer mind and tapping into basic emotions and needs, we can establish the motivations behind buyer behaviour. But B2B marketing is an entirely different game to B2C. You’re not working purely with personal wants and emotional responses. You need to be resolving issues relating to a B2B buyer persona’s working environment and industry, not their expected personal life.

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Using Precision Targeting to Reach Personas

“The company that understands the most about the true buying motivations of its customers can dominate in its industry”

via Marketinomics

So who's needs are you best positioned to resolve? Who is your true target audience?

“The company that understands the most about the true buying motivations of its customers can dominate in its industry”

Target audiences will vary greatly between industries, as will the psychological motivators you can use to appeal. For example in a B2B environment, job title may be a key factor to use to determine ideal need resolution. You don’t want to try to sell a product to someone who does not have the authority to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or is unaware of company issues that your product could resolve.

As you can imagine theres a lot initial ground work to be done in order to establish a complete picture of ideal target customers - your personas.

The Psychological ‘Push’ Buttons Your Marketing Plan Needs

Below are four types of psychological triggers that explain the reasoning behind customer decisions to invest in your service - or not.

To be successful, the foundation of your B2B inbound marketing plan should address and build on each of these four triggers.

Once you have established your personas, consider each of these triggers in relation to their perspective. If you can check off each of these in every communication that you provide, you’ll unconsciously promise satisfaction - the prime purchase motivator and creator of desire.

(1) Needs

Needs are basic motivations that we must fulfil, such as hunger. Your B2B marketing plan needs to be more creative than this however; you need to locate and highlight the persona needs that your product resolves. Usually, your audience will need a way to make their lives easier. Whether this is through timesaving, better organisation or reduced costs etc is up to you and your product - just be sure you’re fulfilling a need.

(2) Wants

Wants are things that people would like, but that aren’t necessary. Products that fulfil an emotional impulse tend to win out here - easy for B2C, but for B2B, positioning your services as something wanted can be difficult. B2B target audiences are restricted by organisational budget and regulation, so target the people in control with well-tailored offers.

(3) Desires

Desires are different to wants, and more like powerful daydreams. They are the things we hope for - in a B2B environment this is likely to be professional success, promotion, expansion etc. Desires are seldom met initially, however they can be powerful motivators, especially if you’re seen to provide the start of a route towards achieving that desire.

(4) Fears

Fears are things we don’t want to happen. Fears act as mediators, and can be used to drive us towards making wise decisions against negative possibilities. If you’re offering security against fears and a way around a problem you may find success.

Aim to Evoke an Emotional Response

In summary; if you can acknowledge these psychological motivators in communications rather than solely drawing on product features or benefits, you will convey the promise of satisfaction, problem resolution and enhanced working for B2B audiences.

A large percentage of consumer decisions are based unconsciously; on split second feeling, need and emotion. If you apply this emotion-based structure to every element of your business strategy - not just inbound marketing - you can achieve additional success. Considering the unconsidered in brand image, advertising, promotion strategy, design and copy will help consumers to appreciate and see how you can meet their needs, wants and desires, or help them to avoid their fears.

For more information on how to develop your buyer personas themselves, see our persona cheat-sheet!

Featured image source: Death to the Stock Photo






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