Back in the day when I began my sales and marketing career, there used to be two or 3 individuals at best on the buyer's side that we had to build relationships with. Today there are about six to 10 decision makers and at least 14-23 stakeholders in the b2b buying committee. That's right, if you are new to B2B sales, it is important to know that your target buyer isn’t one person (as in B2C) instead a cross-functional buying team. And that makes selling and marketing no small feat in today's hyper-competitive marketplace.
Only by knowing buying teams well , what they want and how they work, can you engage better with right messaging across right channels at the right time. It's also how you can hope to become their valuable partner and close more deals.
What's a buying committee?
Buying committee is a group of individual members or stakeholders who are collectively responsible for deciding whether to buy or not from you. Let's say if you are a Saas ecommerce technology provider and your customers are retailers, you will be connecting with multiple members of the buying team at various points of the buyer's journey in order to sell and market your product. You will need to help them interact, overcome objections and build consensus, so they can make buying decisions.
Think back to the last deal you secured - Who did you first reach out to ? What did the sales process involve? Who made the decisions? Was there anyone who advocated for you? If you were to organize all the information, you will likely see the following 6 buying roles -
As the name suggests, these are the folks who will ultimately make the decision to buy from you. Typically there will be 2 kinds of decision makers that you will meet - Business and Technical. Those on the Business side will be interested in Revenue and ROI impact of your technology solution. Whereas the Technical folks will want to see how buying from you will impact innovation, operations and processes.
Champions on the buying team are the ones that will be first ones to be in contact with you. They will build a business case supporting your solution (93% of tech buys require a business case). Think of them as your advocates in the group.
These folks have an influence on the buying team. Even though they are not the final approvers or advocates, their opinion matters. They will typically be from the technical side and will be concerned with execution and implementation - is the ROI achieved from your solution worth the cost, time and effort needed to implement the change?
End users are the ones who will actually be using technology solution in their day to day. They will be interested in things such as - ease of use, efficiency and productivity. Their feedback matters the most in decision making. If they find your solution useful (or otherwise) in terms of helping them do their jobs and goals better, what they report and share will carry weight.
These folks control the flow of the information between various stakeholders on the buying team. If you are trying to get in touch with the decision-makers, you will most definitely meet them first. They are executive assistants, secretaries, receptionists.
Blockers research your business and solution and may also be in touch with you. They could be the ones most skeptical. Also they would need the most work when it comes down to convincing them - why you are the ideal vendor. Look out for them and be prepared to navigate through objections they will raise or even be ghosted.
Keep these buying roles in mind as you craft buyer personas for your sales and marketing efforts.
Job Titles and Responsibilities
All these individual stakeholders will be from various departments/teams such as - IT, Finance, Legal and Compliance, Procurement and Business. They have different titles such as - VPs, Directors, Managers and C-Suite (CTO, CFO, CEO, CMO).
Technology in-charge - He or she will be responsible for ensuring that the proposed technology solution will keep them innovative while fitting well within their existing stack.
Sales and Marketing in-charge - Will want to know the business impact of employing your ecommerce technology. They will look at things such as - Conversions, ROI, Deal size, Revenue.
Legal in-charge - Will look into legalities and contract/purchase agreements.
Finance in-charge - Will want to know the cost of purchase and implementation, deal alignment with the financial plan.
Operations in-charge - Will want to ensure what is being bought can be implemented easily without any major disruptions.
Procurement in-charge - Will be involved in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of suppliers.
Where to reach them
Website - Just like you have a website, your target customer will too. On that website, there will be an About Us or Meet Our Team page. If you visit that page, you will be able to spot executives, VPs and Directors.
LinkedIn - You can use the search bar to look for specific employees at a company or use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to help you do the same. You can request introductions if you already have a relationship with someone, get real time updates and alerts about people you want to engage with and send Inmails. Use their data validation feature to sync up any changes on their team with your CRM.
Sellers today have very little opportunity to influence buying decisions. So they want to maximize the little time they have. By knowing who’s on the buying committee and how they work, you can become competent sellers over average ones. You can become valuable technology partners and help buyers buy better.