It's not as difficult as you might think, but it's not as straightforward as you might think either. Building out your ideal tech buyer persona is an against-the-grain process. It's about discovering precisely who it is that's interested in your product or service, and then turning them into an archetype.
So, what is a buyer persona? It's a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Kind of like that imaginary friend you had when you were five... you know the one who was ecstatic with everything you did and said. The word "ideal" is important, because your buyer persona is what should be driving every marketing and sales effort that your company puts out.
That's why it's so important to be accurate with this build, because your inbound marketing and sales pipeline actually depends on it, whether you focus on it or not. So let's get into the nitty gritty.
How to build your tech buyer persona
Use the buyer persona template
How you structure building your buyer persona is nearly as important as the information that you're going to put into it. That's why it's always a good idea to follow a tried and proven template, especially if you haven't really dived into buyer personas before. The template that I would suggest looks something like this:
1. Research your ideal customer:
What are their demographics?
This section should detail who your ideal customer is in terms of physical description. What's their race, age, marital status, education, et cetera. You'll want to try and be as detailed as possible in this section, especially as you'll be using a lot of this data in the targeting of your company's advertising.
What are their business-graphics?
Here is where you discover things like their job title, the kind of company they work for, their income bracket, and what position they're hoping to be promoted into. All things business related. Like demographics, these details will also aid your ads targeting greatly.
What are their behaviours and preferences?
Hobbies and outside-of-work interests fall into this category, but only form a minor part. Rather, this section should explore how your ideal customers likes to live their life... it's a holistic study of your customers. Do they have a strong family life, or is their concentration mainly focused around work matters? Do they enjoy being out in nature, and what does that say about their personality? Are they outgoing or introverted? This should form the basis of how you communicate with your buyer persona, as you connect with them on a human level.
What are their expectations and objectives?
For B2B companies, these expectations aren't life goals, but business goals. What do they want their business to achieve, and how do they expect to get there? Try to at least discover a primary and secondary objective for your buyer persona (and detail how they are currently planning for this).
What are their challenges?
Now that you've detailed the plan that your buyer persona has for their business goals... what are the pitfalls? Where are they lacking, or failing, or where are they hitting a brick wall? This is generally where your product or service slots in, as a solution to their challenges.
2. Document your buyer persona:
Collate and record your research into an easy-to-understand template
The template that we use looks something like this (note that the demographics/business-graphics section in this example is limited, and should likely be built out further, especially in a tech buyer persona):
3. Optimise your ideal customer:
Sharing your buyer persona with your team and colleagues is an important step in the process. Sometimes, data can be skewed by your own personal preference, and that's why it's important to get feedback from a wide range of minds.
What to look for in tech buyer personas
The digital era has brought about various aspects of today's tech buyers that we need to be careful to look out for. Marketing and sales aren't what they were 50 years ago. Heck, it's not even what it was five years ago!
But, if one thing is certain about the tech industry it's that you're always expected to always be on top of industry activity. If you're not ahead of the game, or at least in line with it, you're behind.
That's why I've done some research into what the key points to remember when investigating your tech buyer persona are. The following 4 take-aways topped that list:
Take ZMOT into account. ZMOT is the zero moment of truth, and it refers to the stage in the buying cycle when the customer researches your product/service, often before you even knows that they exist. These days, your customer often knows more than you, so assume they do. These days, your tech buyer isn't always, but soon will only be, the digital native modern buyer. An education around technology is fast becoming standard amongst clientele... so how will you approach customers who might understand your product or service better than yourself?
Productise. Despite popular belief, tech customers aren't looking for complicated solutions. They're looking for solutions that are simple to apply and implement, despite being complex in nature. Learn how to productise your service or solution for quick marketing understanding.
Tech customers are after the latest news. Stale content, like stale breath, is a big turn-off. Even if you're not publishing ahead of the trend content and case studies, you'll want to be keeping your point-of-sale fresh and unique. The tech buyer wants to see that you're selling the same product or service over a long period (as it helps to build trust in your offering), but they also want to see that you're constantly moving and evolving the way that you offer this product or service.
Which past events motivate future purchases? What technology (product or service) has your buyer persona purchased before? This is an important factor to understand what might motivate their future purchases. Even more interesting, what is the attitude of the buyer's persona company toward the IT industry? Does the business see IT as a liability or an asset? The decision-maker above your buyer persona, if their is one, is often where you'll find these answers.