How Enterprise-Level B2B Demand Gen Marketers Are Constructing Buyer Personas

annuitas-criteria-used-b2b-enterprise-marketers-develop-buyer-personas-nov2016Almost two-thirds of B2B marketers at enterprise-level organizations (at least $250 million in revenues) utilize buyer personas in the planning of demand generation programs and activities, and another 22% are in the planning stages. That’s according to the 2016 B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Survey [download page] from ANNUITAS, which details an increase in the use of buyer personas in demand generation programs. The analysts note that “organizations are becoming more buyer-centric in their approach to demand generation.”

When developing buyer personas, demand generation marketers are most likely to include job function (68.1%) and job title (65.5%). A majority (55.8%) also look at core buyer pain points, though far fewer (30.1%) are factoring in buying processes, which the report’s authors believe should be the focus of more attention.

Meanwhile, compared to an earlier survey from Cintell, the ANNUITAS study finds lesser interest in demographic information such as age and interests.

Virtually all respondents are using some type of interviews or research to develop their buyer personas. The most common of those are secondary research from analysts and industry publications and sales team recommendations, each used by about 6 in 10 respondents. While slightly fewer than half of organizations regularly involve sales in the development or approval of buyer personas, another third do so at least sometimes.

Other considerations used by a majority of demand generation marketers when developing personas include current customer interviews (54%) and marketing team recommendations (52%), but relatively few interview their prospects (37%), which the analysts consider a “red flag” as these prospects can potentially offer a different window into buyers’ priorities.

Finally, one area of potential improvement relates to buying committees: only 47% regularly take into account multiple buyers being involved in the purchase process when creating buyer personas, although another 31% do so sometimes. Committees are the most complex buying scenario, per SiriusDecisions research, with a timeframe that can last 1-2 quarters or more, a price range typically starting at $500k and reaching into the millions of dollars, and with 5 or more buying centers and 6-10 (or more) colleagues involved.

The full report from ANNUITAS can be downloaded here.

For more on B2B lead generation, see MarketingCharts’ comprehensive B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 120 B2B marketers working in organizations with revenues of $250 million and above, two-thirds of whom are from companies with at least $1B in revenues. The technology/high tech/software industry was the most heavily represented (57.5%).