Every industry has focus groups, both the business-to-consumer world (B2C) and the business-to-business organizations (B2B). But how do you get a clear understanding of your target audience and their unique search and decision-making behavior? In this blog, we’ll welcome you to the B2B world with its unique buying process. You’ll discover how to map out your target audience’s needs with the help of personas and how to customize your platform to these personas with MBTI.
In this blog, we’ll answer the following questions:
- Which stakeholders play a crucial role in the B2B sales process?
- How to map out these stakeholders?
- How to get a clear understanding of their unique decision-making behaviour?
- How can you customize your platform in a way that suits the individual needs of your visitors and let them convert faster?
To get a clear understanding of your target audience, we need to start at the beginning.
You, as a B2B organization, focus on multiple industries in one or several predefined countries. Next, you need to get an understanding of the buying process in every sector. This is a crucial step in the B2B since this process is getting more and more complex, involving multiple stakeholders (sometimes even more than 11!), each with their own role. Essentially, you need to know who is involved: who are the decision-makers? And who are the influencers?
To turn this information into a clear overview, you can use the Decision-Making Unit (DMU) of Philip Kotler. This model shows all the individuals and groups within an organization involved in the decision-making process for the buying of new products or services.
Each role is one that searches, influences, or makes decisions. Within B2B, you primarily work with resellers, engineers, and end-users. After identifying who fulfills which role, you can elaborate these into personas. Well-developed personas (which you’ll learn more about in the following steps) make sure you offer relevant content to each role in every step of the sales process. That’s how you make sure you’re the right choice!
When you’re working in the B2B manufacturing industry, your DMU will look somewhat like this:
To get a clear overview of all the stakeholders and their roles, you can use personas. Personas have been used since 1998 to get to know the various users of a product. A persona helps to bring clarity to each unique user and makes it easier to empathize with the individual needs of every user1.
Throughout the years, multiple industries started using personas. Since then, the persona was not solely focused on the user anymore. Instead, it was used as a "tailor-made semi-fictive person you can use to map out your entire target audience or a segment of it".
While creating a persona, you collect information such as age, gender, motives, desires, and goals. By gathering as much useful information as possible, you can better understand and determine their unique behaviour.
Models for creating a persona.
To create a persona for your target audience, we use multiple models. These models help us divide target audiences into focus groups, which we can translate into personas.
One of these models is the ‘persona checklist’. Based on a list of data such as demographics, geographics, and behavior, we can create a persona. At Sterc, we focus on the following personas:
- Buyer Persona: A detailed profile of the ideal customer.
- User Persona: A detailed profile of the ideal user.
- Candidate Persona: A detailed profile of the ideal applicant.
When you work in retail, for example, the persona of a region manager might look like this:
When working at a marketing agency and you’re looking for a new customer support team member, this candidate persona may look somewhat similar to this:
Do you want to create your own personas? Visit https://www.hubspot.com/make-my-persona. This free tool of HubSpot offers the possibility to learn even more about personas and create your own persona.
The persona and the DMU model form a solid foundation for understanding your target audience. Still, we notice that these models aren’t sufficient enough for the B2B. We’ve discovered that most personas miss essential information to interpret specific behavior. That’s why we add characteristics and a personality to our personas. This way, we can explain why users behave the way they do and stimulate desired behaviors. One of the models we use for this is the MBTI model. This model gives us the possibility to divide people into 16 different personality types.
The foundation of the MBTI model is laid by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Further development was in the hands of Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. According to these founders, you can determine a personality type based on four basic preferences. Each preference consists of two possibilities. To determine your preferences or those of your personas, you need to answer the following questions:
When you’ve decided between the two possible choices, you can use the bold letters to form a letter combination. This letter combination is your personality type. There are 16 possible combinations that each represent a personality type.
INTJ - INTP - ENTP - ENTJ
ISTP - ISFP - ESTP - ESFP
INFJ - INFP - ENFP - ENFJ
ISTJ - ISFJ - ESTJ - ESFJ
With the help of these personality types, you now know why your focus groups have certain preferences. This brings life into your persona and forms a truly tailor-made semi-fictive person. In other words, a substantiated reflection of your customer. And when you understand the basic needs, you can help your customers even better.
Do you want to discover which personality type you are? Fill in the MBTI questionnaire on https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test.
After defining our focus groups and adding a personality type with the MBTI model, we can now customize your website to suit your personas. Below, we’ll walk you through three steps that will help you create a website tailored to your target audience.
Step 1 — Keirsey Temperament Sorter
In the first step, we use the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS). David Keirsey created this model to understand himself and others better. To do this, he made personality types based on the theories of Hippocrates and Plato. Next, Keirsey used four temperaments divided into two roles and two role variants. This creates 16 personality types in total, similar to the ones of the MBTI model. So when you’ve walked through the MBTI questionnaire and know which personality type your persona is, you can see which temperament belongs to this.
Each temperament can be explained based on four ways we act and communicate:
Abstract vs. Concrete
Do you often walk with your head in the clouds? Then you are ‘Abstract’. Abstract people are often introspective people who are more focused on the why. When you’re observant and focused on concrete things such as food and housing, you are a ‘Concrete’ person.
Cooperative vs. Pragmatic
Are you focused on keeping everyone happy, then you are ‘Cooperative’. When you act effortlessly in a way that something works, you are ‘Pragmatic’.
Instructive vs. Informative
Do you communicate more instructing, your role is ‘Instructive’. Do you communicate informatively? Then you are ‘Informative’.
Expressive vs. Reserved
When you act before observing, you are ‘Expressive’. Do you observe first, and act based on your observation, you are ‘Reserved’.
Step 2 — The Four Buyer Modalities
Because you now know which temperament fits which personality type, this step is a lot easier. That’s because you can connect the temperaments to the Four Buyer Modalities of Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg. These brothers state four different types of people: Competitive, Spontaneous, Methodical, and Humanistic.
In which group you and your persona belong is dependent on the speed at which you make decisions and if these decisions are based on emotion or logic. This model is popular because of its simplicity. Anyone can define themselves in one of four possibilities.
In the end, it’s not only the ease that makes this model so popular. The main reason is that website without personalization aren’t of this time anymore. 83% of all internet users don’t return to a website that doesn’t meet their expectations2. The question most people - and your customers too! - are having is ‘What’s in it for me?’. The four modalities of the Eisenberg brothers help you answer this question. How? That’s what you will find out in the following, and final, step.
Step 3 — The translation
Understanding theory is nice and all, but of course, you want to use it to your advantage. We already know the personality type, temperament, and decision preference of each persona. Now, we can translate this to your digital platform.
The previous step showed us how your personas make decisions. Below, we explain what each decision-making type means and how to use this in your digital platform.
The competitive visitor is analytic and intuitive. In contrast to the spontaneous and humanistic visitor, the competitive visitor decides based on ratio. That's why this type of visitor can make connections rather quickly. They only need a few handles and fill-in the blanks themselves. The intuitive part of this visitor ensures that they don't need long texts. Instead, you can help them by showing an expert's opinion, pictures, and a list of benefits.
In contrast to the competitive visitor, the spontaneous visitor makes decisions based on emotion, just like the humanistic visitor. The big difference between the humanistic and the spontaneous is that the spontaneous visitor is easily distracted and quickly makes decisions. You can help this visitor by showing how you give them support, positive reviews, and a short ordering process.
Just like the competitive visitor, the methodical visitor makes decisions based on facts. The methodicals are the exact opposite of the spontaneous ones and will hardly ever make bad buying decisions. They search extensively for information, and you can help them decide with lists of specifications, comparisons, and showing guarantees.
The humanistic visitor is one who values relations and trust. This visitor views pages in detail and makes slow decisions because of it. Their behavior is nothing like the competitive visitor. That's why they're looking for a website with much in-depth information, a FAQ page, and quality labels.
Finally, after a long read, you've read all there's to know about optimizing your website to meet your persona's needs. We think that optimizing your website doesn't have to be complicated. It would be a shame when you've spent a lot of time and money, and your digital platform doesn't perform the way you want it to. That's why we pay attention to models such as the MBTI-model, The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and the Four Buyer Modalities. These models help you understand your target audience's preferences, so you can respond to how they make decisions.