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Three Common Buyer Personas in Industrial Sales

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, November 4, 2020



Many of the same factors that motivate individual buyers to choose one product over another also motivate industrial buyers[i] – quality, price, performance, etc. The Harvard Business Review recently published a hierarchy of value propositions from base expectations at the bottom of the pyramid to loftier purchasing goals such as a feeling of social responsibility at the top of the pyramid. Matching these values to each buyer persona helps manufacturers complete more sales[ii].

While only 44% of companies currently use B2B buyer personas, 71% of the companies that utilize this practice exceed revenue expectations.

More importantly, 90% of companies using industrial sales personas gain a greater understanding of their customers, enabling them to more accurately target outreach[iii].

The following buyer personas are designed to help manufacturing companies motivate industrial buyers to choose their product[iv]:


Job function

• Owns a machine shop.
• Specializes in small engine repair from lawnmowers to motorcycles.
• Employs one receptionist, billing officer, HR person, purchasing officer, CFO, shipping supervisor and floor manager as well as seven mechanics.

Buying Behavior

• As the second-generation owner, he started as a mechanic.
• He has a working knowledge of all aspects of his business, but little time to perform any one of them thoroughly. He tends to rely on parts suppliers in his immediate area, with whom he has established relationships.
• He is a millennial and comfortable with technology, researching personal purchases more often than business purchases.

Pain Points

• Having worked in all positions, Bob can be found on the shop floor repairing engines, overseeing parts as they arrive, interacting with customers or emailing vendors.
• He is the owner but has little time to grow his business, as much of his time is consumed with performing the jobs of some of his employees.
• He would like to hand the business down to his daughter.

How to Reach Bob

• Bob wears many hats as a small business owner. He needs products that increase the efficiency of his operation so that he can focus on growth. As Bob’s business grows, he will need to find a broader parts supply chain to meet his increased need. He is tech-savvy, so an online, informative database of reliable parts manufacturers is key to handing a robust business down to his daughter.

Supplier Susie

Job Function

• Finds reliable sources for resale automotive parts.
• Compares price and performance to ensure best value.
• Monitors stock to provide timely delivery to her customers.

Buying Behavior

• Performs much of her work online.
• Tracks sale prices to stock up on popular parts.
• Lives by the one strike rule – any supplier delivering defective parts or late shipments is immediately crossed off her list of potential suppliers.

Pain Points

• Handling the fast-paced environment.
• Keeping up with both sides of the equation – the price she pays and the price she can charge.
• Broadening her range of consistent, reliable manufacturers.

How to Reach Susie

• Because her company deals with a variety of automotive parts, Susie needs to maintain a thorough knowledge of the automotive industry – its trends and the buying patterns of her customers. This industrial sales buyer persona requires a single source that can provide current automotive industry information and a list of reliable manufacturers who can meet those trends.

Government Greg

Job Function

• Is the primary procurement officer for his bureau.
• Signs off on small-dollar purchases prepared by his staff.
• Prepares large-dollar purchases.

Buying Behavior

• Follows federal purchasing guidelines.
• Utilizes GSA (General Services Administration) schedules for most purchases.
• Researches large-dollar purchases before preparing RFP (request for purchase).

Pain Points

• Guidelines can be restrictive and change frequently.
• GSA schedules are complicated, some containing hundreds of certified vendors.
• He spends agency money as though it were his own, looking for the best value for the dollar.

How to Reach Greg

• Federal agencies are charged with buying American-made products if at all possible. Products on GSA schedules are marked as American-made when applicable, but Greg doesn’t always use the schedules. He needs an easy way to research those purchases that are not necessarily on schedules. The manufacturers must be in the U.S. and must be able to handle the quantities this industrial sales buyer persona needs to order.

If you're looking to contact manufacturers, an IndustrySelect subscripion is your best path to reaching SMB Bob, Supplier Susie or Government Greg. Access 500,000 industrial companies and one million decision makers and drill down to just the data you need using 40 specific types of criteria. Try a free demo today or learn more about what sales and marketing professionals are saying about IndustrySelect

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