What Are The B2B Buyer Personas In The Manufacturing Industry?

There are many ways for manufacturing companies to reach potential buyers in today's digital world.

Companies can use email blasts, eBooks, blog posts, social media, and SMS texts to connect with their target audiences and increase brand awareness. 

Inbound marketing is a strategy that aims to attract potential customers by providing them with valuable content that will help them reach their goals. However, before starting any of these efforts, it is important to understand the types of buyers you are targeting.

What kind of content attracts the customers you want? Well, that depends on the customers themselves.

You may already be busy creating informative, engaging emails or penning fascinating eBooks, but if you’re not tailoring your content to the needs and interests of your specific audience, all that work will have been in vain.

Creating a buyer persona will help you target your audience with content that is relevant to them. This will increase your chances of turning leads into customers.

Buyer persona

A buyer persona is a made-up person that is based on real people. This person represents your company's buyers and potential buyers. You create this person by thinking about what customer demographics, behavior patterns, buying motivations, and goals they might have.

To create a buyer persona, companies need to gather specific data points. This information will help them understand who their buyers are and what they are looking for in a product or service.

Persona targeting

Persona targeting is a way to collect data so you can create content that will reach your audience. You can use this data to create different personas. Different personas will help you focus your marketing in different ways, like through display ads, email newsletters, or sponsored articles.

The more you know about your personas, the better you can understand what products they want and how to grow your business in a way that meets their needs.

Personas influencing the buying process

Now that you know more about buyer personas, you can see how they can help you focus your time, develop products, and create alignment in your company. There are 3 main types of personas who influence the industrial buying process.

Design engineers

Design engineers play an important role in product development. They are responsible for designing custom parts that meet the needs of the customer. In addition, they also research the specifications and features of standard products to see if they can be used to meet the customer's needs.

After conceptualizing and researching the design, engineers create drawings for custom components and assemblies. They use 2D and 3D CAD software to do this. A bill of materials is then created from these drawings. The purchasing department uses this information to order the necessary parts for the assembly.

Design engineers usually recommend products by the name of the company that made them - even if that company is not on an "approved vendor list." If the company that made the product is not on the approved vendor list, then the engineer has to give a good reason why they should be allowed to buy from them.

Their job focus

  • Concern with how things look, work and how they are put together. Evaluate products to determine the best solution for a problem. Want all information about a product to make the best decision. Use target with product brochures, sizing charts/dimensions, performance curves, graphs, CAD files, standards, specifications, certifications, product options/configurations to help people understand your product. Wants nothing but the facts.

Their stress comes from

  • They are used to solve all the functional problems of a product or project. If they can't find a way to solve the problem, the project can't move forward.

Their job functions

  • Have degrees in engineering or manufacturing. Focus on problem solving. Adept at reading and creating CAD drawings. Designs parts and assemblies for prototypes and high volume production. Designs can use existing products and newly designed components.

Their buying behavior

  • They make a significant contribution to the buying process and often recommend products based on brand and part number. Need to be completely confident in the abilities of the products they are specifying. Mainly using a desktop computer, which usually has more than one monitor.

Their background and personality

  • Are quieter and like spending time alone. They would prefer not to speak to people in order to gather the information they need. Prefer to receive detailed technical information about a subjects.

Procurement managers

After the necessary parts of a product or project have been identified, the procurement manager needs to purchase them. They need to find the right product, at the best price, from a supplier that is reliable.

Procurement managers maintain a list of approved suppliers. This is their first resource for finding sourcing options for a project. If they do not have the correct vendors on their list, then they will do external research.

This person will also look for cost-effective alternatives to the design engineer's recommendations. They need to find other options that have the same specifications and function.

When suppliers have been identified, the procurement manager will often request samples for testing or more information before negotiating the contract terms and pricing.

Their job focus

  • Concerned about the cost, quality, delivery time, and reliability.

Their stress comes from

  • If they don't pick the right supplier, their work will stop.

Their job functions

  • Create and maintain a list of approved vendors to use as a resource for finding suppliers. Review Bill of Materials from design engineers listing what is required to make the product. Research different suppliers to identify the best one for your needs. Keep all documentation on the product, such as technical information, safety data sheets and material declarations. May need to do some research to familiarize themselves with a new product or service.

Their buying behavior

  • Works with engineering to make sure the right suppliers are identified, but tend to be final decision makers on commodity products. Negotiates price and delivery for stock products and custom parts. Mainly use a desktop computer or a laptop with extra monitors.

Their background and personality

  • Not engineers, but can read and understand CAD files. Some knowledge about how products are made. People who are used to negotiating and who have tough personalities.

MRO managers

MRO managers keep the systems of a plant or installation running smoothly. They try to do this by doing maintenance and upgrades on a planned schedule. This means that they will take the systems offline to replace parts or components that have been used for a long time. Unfortunately, even the most skilled MRO manager faces emergency outages because of system failures. 

When this happens, they have to be their own troubleshooters and solve the problem. This means ordering parts for planned maintenance and stocking up on consumables that they need regularly. But if there is an emergency, they will have to call on their suppliers for help.

Their job focus

  • Maintenance and upkeep of systems. Quickly restore service after a system failure.

Their stress comes from

  • Planning system maintenance to prevent any unplanned interruptions. Inevitably dealing with the chaos of a system failure and working feverishly to get back to full productivity with the least impact. They are always available to help in case of an emergency.

Their job functions

  • Handle on-going maintenance and emergency repairs. Keep track of and manage current installations and systems. Can read and work from a print or CAD file. Have an in-depth knowledge of the system they are responsible for maintaining. Interested in product bulletin information, recalls, updates to installation best practices, new products to replace existing technology.

Their buying behavior

  • Buy for both planned purchases and emergency orders. Act like a combination of engineer and procurement personas. Complete small and large orders. Can be used on almost any device, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phones.

Their background and personality

  • More difficult people, those who make decisions.

How to develop personas

When creating a buyer persona, you are creating a stereotype about the people who might be interested in your product or service. You want to know everything there is to know about your buyers so that you can create content marketing that speaks directly to their needs. Knowing things like what they care about, what their business values are, and what challenges they face will help you create content that is relevant and helpful to them.

Basic research can help you better understand who your potential buyers are. Look at their jobs and how they do those jobs. What are their patterns, goals, motivations, and the demographic makeup of their company? What companies do they do business with? How do your targeted customers approach each fiscal year? How can you best assist and guide them?

Remember that these people are more than just their job. They have unique personalities and they can be irrational at times. If you can understand them and talk to them in a more personal way, you will have a better chance of getting them to do what you want.

Think about what stresses them out. What motivates them? This stuff may seem silly, but it can make a massive difference in fully understanding the type of buyers you're dealing with. Take the time to truly understand your targets. The most basic information you should have is their business, objectives, obstacles, weaknesses, and strengths.

Research current customers

To get more information about your potential customers, start with what you already know about your current customers. Then supplement that with information from trade magazines, general research, and sourcing data.

Think especially hard about the following considerations and document them. Tables tend to work well, but whatever method you choose should mesh with your personal work style and that of your team.

What do buyers do?

What do your buyers do at their jobs? Do they make decisions? You need to think about this if you want to sell your home. People who make decisions are the kind of people you want as your buyers. You also need to think about their job titles and what their typical day looks like. Your job as a seller is to make it easier for them. To do that, you need to know their pain points. This is something that ties in with their relationships with their colleagues. Ask yourself who their bosses are and how their performance is assessed. Or, if your buyers manage others, how can you help them improve performance in the workplace?

What do buyers want?

People who work are trying to do something. What are they trying to do? And what can you do for them so they can reach their goals? Remember, different people have different ideas of what success means. Don't just think that you know what your buyers want.

What do buyers look like?

People in different decades of life act differently. How people in different age groups think and what they want is different. You need to think about the education levels, political views, marital status, and what people in that age group care about when marketing to them. But be careful of thinking all people in a certain age group are the same.

How does your buyers autopilot work?

People usually have a routine for things they do every day. For example, you probably brush your teeth in the same spot every time, and put your clothes on the same way. The same is true for buyers. They have their own habits and preferences. Some people will turn to Google when they have a question, while others will ask someone in person. Some people prefer email, while others prefer phone calls.

Their jobs require a very specific set of skills. What are they? When they hunt for resources that will make them better at what they do, are they turning to blogs, newspapers, trade publications, formal educational opportunities, or mentors? Which ones, specifically?

Thomas has compiled a lot of data and research into B2B buyers for manufacturers and industrial companies. If you want to learn more about this topic, bookmark How To Meet The Needs Of B2B Buyers and read it later!

Create distinct persona categories

When you are researching, you will want to target different types of people. You should have different buyer personas for different groups of people - like engineers, MROs, and procurement managers. Make sure you understand these buyers and how they are different. You should also understand what they have in common.

If you want to reach the right people with your digital marketing efforts, you need to use persona segmenting. This way, your ads will be shown to people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. For example, you could show one image to target procurement managers in Washington and another image to target procurement managers in the Midwest.

Build campaigns

Now it is time to start your first industrial marketing campaign or to improve your current ones depending on what stage of industrial digital marketing you are in. You have figured out who your buyers are and you know how to create value for them. This will help you attract the people, leads, and customers you want. You will also be better prepared to serve them based on their specific needs and goals.

Back to all articles

Greater sales tomorrow begin with your decision now.