Get to Know Your Buying Committees and Their Buyer Group

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How often have you had a deal stall because someone you didn’t know was involved in your deal showed up late in the process and derailed your deal from closing? Or find out a deal didn’t move forward because the organization “wasn’t ready” for your solution?

Mapping Buyers Journeys to sales processes is a best practice in Account-Based Selling for both the Sales and Marketing teams. This mapping helps Sales and Marketing stay focused on the needs of the buyers over the course of the sale. With multiple people involved in the purchase decision, Buyer Personas help us understand the individual needs and buying processes of the most common buyers. This collective group of Personas that influence and decide what to buy is referred to as the Buying Committee. But what about the people that show up that aren’t mapped to a Buyer Persona? How do we identify those people so the chances of deal delay diminish?

Consider the Buyer Group vs. Buying Committee:

Buying Group and Committee.pngIn the Buyers Journey for any given solution, there are typically a set of Buyer Personas that are consistently involved. These Buyer Personas are the most likely members of the Buying Committee that own the purchase decision and responsibility for gaining business value from the outcome of that decision.

For the Buying Committee, making a purchase decision that lacks organizational support is risky business. Without agreement to necessary changes in business process, the project could fail.  Therefore, socializing a potential purchase decision to their internal ecosystem of colleagues has become the norm in complex sales.

The Buyer Group has expanded in complexity to consist of people that are not on the Buying Committee. They may be people that will be users, or involved in implementation or support of a solution. Or they could be people in other departments that may have to provide or accept changes that result from a new business process. No matter how good the change may be or how much potential business value it offers, getting people around you to accept change is difficult so they need to be sold on the value.

In Sales, it’s easy to focus on just the primary buyers—the owners of the business outcome, budget and operations. However, if you want to avoid that unhappy surprise ending, working to convince the wider audience in your deal is critical. As you develop your understanding of the deal and your strategy to win it, work with your primary contacts to develop an understanding of their ecosystem. Dig in to find out how your solution fits into the organization, where change may be required from other departments and how you can address the needs and concerns these issues may cause. With the full Buyer Group identified and in your corner, the deal is much less likely to be derailed.

In summary, follow these Dos and Don’ts to avoid deal delays: 

  • Do make sure to identify your key Buyer Personas in each deal.
  • Don’t focus on just the Buying Committee. You might end up surprised by an unknown influencer.
  • Do get to know the challenges, motivations and needs of the entire Buying Group.
  • Don’t underestimate the influence of any person involved. If they’ve been consulted as part of the evaluation, there’s a reason.