B2B Personas: Reaching the Individual Sole Proprietor

Let’s say you enter a room blindfolded, and you’re tasked with selling a product to whoever is already there.

How successful do you think you’d be?

The fact of the matter is, if you don’t develop buyer personas, this is essentially what you’re doing. To effectively communicate the features of a product in a way that resonates with your target audience, you need to have a highly developed understanding of who you’re talking to.

The Benefits of B2B Buyer Personas

This holds true for B2B businesses just as it does for their B2C counterparts. In fact, according to a report from the Content Marketing Institute, 47% of B2B content marketers use buyer personas as part of their content marketing strategy.

But it’s not just marketers who can benefit from creating and engaging with buyer personas. Leaders in the sales, product development and partnership departments at your company could also benefit from having buyer personas on hand.

To help you get a headstart on crafting detailed B2B personas, we’ll discuss different types of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) your company might be targeting, and we’ll zero in on one of them, the individual sole proprietor, to start crafting a sketch of your persona.

Start your B2B buyer persona development journey right here.

Small business prospects

If you’re a B2B company that works with SMBs, there are several different business categories you might think about targeting. While you could sort them by industry or vertical, it might make the most sense to start out by creating buyer personas based on the kind of business you want to reach, depending on what your company does.

Some of the most common business types for smaller SMBs are sole proprietorships, partnerships and limited liability corporations.

By default, if somebody goes into business for themselves, they are considered to be an individual sole proprietor.

Partnerships are a similar configuration, but they involve multiple individuals who each have a high degree of ownership in the company.

A limited liability corporation, however, allows the business owner to separate their personal and business assets, providing greater protection.

There are other more complicated corporate structures, too, but sole proprietors give us a good starting point from which to craft personas based on the unique needs of small businesses. From there, we can build out targeted strategies to help us reach those personas.

We’re going to home in on the individual sole proprietor here.

B2B Persona: Isaac the Individual Sole Proprietor

Who Is He?

First, we can make some inferences about this buyer persona based directly on their business status. Since you are automatically considered a sole proprietor if you conduct business without incorporating as any one particular entity, this person might be pretty new to the business world. Alternatively, they’re engaged in a field where they have a low risk of liability.

Second, we can identify certain demographic characteristics associated with our persona.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, self-employed unincorporated individuals are more likely to be:

  • Older.
  • Male.
  • Foreign born.
  • Veterans.

Some of the occupations in which they’re most represented are:

  • Construction and extraction.
  • Management, business and financial relations.
  • Sales and related.
  • Service.

What Are His Pain Points?

Individual sole proprietors probably experience strain associated with the risk they assume, since their personal assets are at stake if the company is liable for an expense. They may work in low-risk fields, but they may need help ensuring that even minimal risks are effectively managed. They may also want to incorporate their business in the future to mitigate their risk, so business formation assistance could be beneficial for them.

Since the individual sole proprietor may also be new to running a business, they are likely to be weighed down by administrative burden, searching for solutions that can help reduce their workload. Anything that is cost effective and helps them operate more efficiently will be welcome, which could be a great value-add opportunity for you.

Based on the above occupations, decide what job most neatly aligns with your business. You may want to further refine your examination of this individual’s pain points. For instance, the persona’s concerns will look a little different depending on whether they’re a construction worker or a consultant.

How Do You Communicate with Him?

To fully flesh out our individual sole proprietor persona, we’ll want to consider how we can best communicate with prospects from this category.

The demographic information we’ve discussed will probably give us some information about how we want to adapt our style and tone, as well as how much background information we should assume our persona has. They’re likely to be highly skilled in their field but new to business administration. We shouldn’t assume they know the jargon we take for granted. Since they’re likely to be older, we also might not want to use a lot of topical references that only millennials will understand.

Also, consider how your business aligns with their background and their pain points to fine-tune your approach.

Co-Branding the Company.com Dashboard to Add Value for Individual Sole Proprietors

One tactic you can use to reach prospects from this buyer persona is to add value in ways that address their pain points. Your business has unique solutions that will allow you to help individual sole proprietors thrive. Where you don’t have an answer, we can help augment the services your company offers to satisfy your customer’s outstanding concerns.

For instance, the Company.com Dashboard provides customers with access to business formation products and a single point of reference from which they can view, add and manage third-party vendors, reducing their overall administrative burden. Both of these features can help you add value for sole proprietors.

Find out how joining Company.com as a channel partner can help you acquire customers and drive revenue.