When you get right down to it, B2B marketing is a bit of a misnomer. Your marketing isn’t really targeting a business, because a business isn’t a thing that can recognize and respond to marketing because they don’t have brains (yet…).

Instead, you’re targeting the people who can influence or decide the purchasing within the businesses, but then B2PWCIODPWB marketing isn’t quite as catchy. Your marketing should be tailored towards these people, and first things first, you’ve got to work out who they are.

This is a bit more complicated than it sounds. Ultimately it’s the person in charge of an organization's budget who makes the final decision, but marketing every single product and solution around variations on “THIS PRODUCT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY” or “THIS PRODUCT WILL HELP YOU MAKE MORE MONEY” isn’t necessarily the best route for B2B marketing (although it can’t hurt to have those considerations as an aspect of your marketing strategy).

There are usually several people involved in the decision process at a company and it pays to work out who those people are and develop marketing around them, in a multi-pronged approach.

In this article, we’re going to identify the different types of people in the B2B marketing decision process, along with the types of marketing they’ll respond best to.

Persona 1: The influential team member

These are the people who will actually be using the products/services your brand supplies. Down in the trenches, the frontline, the tip of the spear, the - sorry, we were getting a little militaristic for a second there, but you get the idea.

However this doesn’t mean you should be aiming for everyone in the business. You can refine your targeting, particularly if you’re running a targeted social media or email campaign, to produce a better ROI (return on investment). You’ll want to be aiming for people who have been at the company in question for a certain amount of time, or at a “mid-level” position.

These people are likely to have a reasonable number of projects under their belts and an understanding of their day-to-day role and how it can be improved, while having the respect within the company that people will listen to their advice. If they say something can make their work better, people listen to them.

They’ll often be part of a network, both personal and professional, of people in similar positions, making word of mouth advocacy important. The grass is always greener for people at this level, if they hear about something that’s made their peers’ working lives easier, they’ll want the same.

What type of marketing?

Your marketing will be driven heavily by empathy. It’s best to start from a position of understanding: identify the practical problems they face and show how you’re the solution.

You might want to inject some fun into it if it’s the appropriate product: everyone wants to enjoy their job more, and if they’re going to be using your products/solutions everyday, they’ll be more likely to become advocates for it if they enjoy it.

Persona 2: The team leader

While the team member is focused on their individual work process, the team leader is focused on how their team works together to produce results. They’ll likely have experience doing the day-to-day work and may occasionally “get their hands dirty” when the situation calls for it. However, their main duty is managing others to succeed.

Identifying these people can be a little trickier, as it can vary by the size and culture of a company. Managerial positions are the most obvious, but in start-ups and small businesses, you’ll often see department heads and even c-suite executives stepping into this role.

They’ll often be looking to manage and refine their teams as a way of showing their superiors they’re ready for furthering their career. Part of that will be identifying products and solutions which will allow their team to produce excellent work.

What type of marketing?

Your marketing will be based on how your product or solution will complete projects more efficiently. It will focus on how it allows for greater cohesion between team members and produce results. Ease of implementation could be a valuable thing to focus on, as team leaders will be looking for minimal disruption and training for both existing and future team members.

Persona 3: The department head

There are a few notable differences between the team leader and the department head. While the team leader is focussed on the workings of their individual teams, the department head will have a greater responsibility to see how everything in the organization fits together.

They’ll be looking at long-term goals and the implications their decisions might have for other departments. They’ll also be tasked with managing the budget for their department, so cost points are more important than previous personas.

This persona is probably the easiest to identify and target, as they’ll be department heads or c-suite executives.

What type of marketing?

Your marketing will look at the broader implications and effects of your product/solution on a business as a whole, even if it’s specific to a role. You’ll highlight operational efficiency and integration with other systems.

Persona 4: the money

These are the people who control the budget for the organisations you’re targeting. Their focus is on both short- and long-term revenue for the business. As we said at the start, these are the people who make the ultimate decisions about whether the business you’re targeting will be able to spend money on the products/solutions you’re marketing.

While you might assume this is the time for the big “THIS PRODUCT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY” or “THIS PRODUCT WILL HELP YOU MAKE MORE MONEY” messaging, it can be more subtle than that. If you’ve done a good job with the other personas, they’ll be able to act as advocates for you to show the broader benefits of your products/solutions, particularly if there aren’t any immediate monetary gains.

What type of marketing?

A focus on operational efficiency and revenue gain is a great start, but as we said, if you’ve convinced the other personas sufficiently, they’ll be able to sell the broader benefits of your product for you.

These personas are really just a starting point. The amount of resources you’ll want to devote to targeting each persona will vary depending on campaign goals, the industries you’re targeting and the types of products/solutions you’re marketing.

How do you go about identifying decision makers for your B2B marketing? Which approach have you found to work best? Let us know!