The Difference Between Ideal Buyer Profiles & Buyer Personas

Your best prospects are those that match your ideal buyer profile and are already active in a buying journey. These prospects face similar challenges and have similar goals to your most valuable customers. They’re also in the market for a solution.

Defining the right business opportunities to spend your time on is the most effective use of yours or your sales team’s time. With it comes the difference between either missing or exceeding your company sales targets.

Adopting this strategy also helps you to build a predictable and highly scalable sales pipeline. It also prevents you and your sales team from wasting precious cycles on the wrong buyers. While it is important to determine whether they are a good fit or simply not quite ready to buy, they are not going to close quickly.

At the heart of this strategy is the ideal buyer profile.

What is an ideal buyer profile?

To start identifying potential buyers of your products and services, you must define the buyers you can help. It’s just as important to define the buyers you can’t help.

If you’re a B2B company, you should complete this profile at a company level, and not on a contact level. It will define the companies that your services are a good fit for, and those that aren’t a good fit.

The more focused you are in defining your ideal company profile, the better – but the level of focus required depends on the maturity of your company’s products in the market. The less mature your product, the more focused your buyer profile needs to be to build a beachhead in your total addressable market.

There are seven questions you should be asking yourself as you develop your ideal buyer profile:

  1. What size of company is a good fit, or not a good fit for your product?
  2. How do you define company size? Number of employees, revenue, customers or another metric?
  3. Which industry verticals are ideal and not ideal?
  4. What use cases are ideal or not ideal for buyers of your product?
  5. Which geographic locations are ideal or not ideal for your product?
  6. Are companies that sell to businesses better than companies that sell to consumers?
  7. Are there any other attributes to consider that make your buyer ideal or not?

How is a buyer profile different from a buyer persona?

Buyer personas define the different ways and reasons your target buyers make purchases. Buyer personas are fictional, generalised characters that represent your ideal customers. They are sometimes referred to as marketing personas.

Within an ideal buyer profile, you will work with multiple buyer personas. You should define your ideal buyer profile before you start developing your marketing personas, or you are likely to interview the wrong type of buyer with different challenges to the ones you can help them solve.

For B2B companies, there are various roles that will be involved in the buying decision. This is almost certainly the case if you are selling a complex, cross-functional product or service. You should factor each of these into your persona development roadmap.

For example, a cloud services provider will likely come across three or four buyer personas. The first person you speak to might be the head of IT or developer operations. Then you may end up speaking to the head of operations, who then puts you in touch with one of the system administrators. It then goes back up the organisation to a senior executive – a CIO, CEO or even CFO.

Building buyer personas for each of these different buyers will help you to formulate a message that resonates with each of the buyer’s unique goals and challenges.

A typical buyer profile does not have to be any more complex than this:

Example ideal buyer profile

  • Companies with at least 50 and no more than 1,000 employees
  • Annual revenue of at least £15m
  • Businesses that are technically proficient and place a high demand on their IT infrastructure
  • They need a fast, global network with a lot of bandwidth capacity
  • They need to be able to scale quickly and cost-effectively as their needs arise
  • Headquartered in major metropolitan areas
  • Our clients’ customers are consumers, not other businesses





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