How to Map the B2B Buying Committee: Questions You Need to Answer

Bill Murphy

The B2B buying committee is a group of people in a business that makes purchasing decisions. It is made up of 7 to 20 individuals on average. Since the sales cycle is growing longer due to the number of decision-makers, many people believe that single-lead marketing is not the fastest way to close a deal. 

To solve this dilemma, many B2B companies are turning to ABM to create marketing messages for all decision-makers with high-value accounts. To map the B2B buying committee, you must have a deep understanding of your buyers and base it on the insights gathered. You must act in a customer-centric manner. 

To start the process of mapping, defining, and reaching your target account’s buying committee, you need to answer these two important questions:

What is the current buying scenario?

According to SiriusDecisions, the buying scenario can go one of three ways. 

The first one is the Committee Scenario. Under this scenario, there is a vertical, hierarchical, and structured process most typically associated with “solution selling.” The purchasing process is highly complex due to the deals that must be brought to the executive leadership team for approval. 

It is typically representative of price ranges in the hundreds of thousands to more than $1 million. Due to the highly complex deals that must be approved, it has the longest purchase timeframes (1-2 quarters or more) and the greatest number of buying centers (5 or more) and buying members (6-10). Thus, the Committee Buying Scenario requires the highest level of interaction between the buying members for a good purchasing decision.

In the Consensus Scenario, the decision is made where multiple people from different teams gather and vote. The typical price range for an offering in this scenario was $50-500 million. Thus, the decision does not go to a senior-level executive team. However, it is still moderately complex because it requires cross-functional decision-making across multiple buyer personas.

As for the Independent Scenario, it is the simplest purchasing process that involves just one or two people. A specific department is responsible for the decision-making. The deals are often e-commerce purchases. 

Once you’re able to identify the buying scenario within a target account clearly, you can then determine who plays a role in that scenario.

SiriusDecision's buying scenario

Who plays a role in that buying scenario?

The next question you need to ask is the roles in the buying scenarios. Think about the roles and responsibilities of the people involved. These roles group into categories or what we call buying personas. 

Once you align buyer personas to the distinct roles in the buying committee, this gives B2B sellers and marketers much greater customer-centric insights on the market. They can then use this to create meaningful content and messages for different buyers. 

There are four categories for the roles:

  • Purchase Influencers – they have influence over the outcome despite not having a direct role in the purchase decision.
  • Decision-makers – they have the final decision on the purchase.
  • Decision sponsors – they act as the spokesperson for your solution among their internal teams.
  • Users – those who will buy and use the product.  

Who Plays a Role in the Buying Scenario?

Conclusion

To map the B2B committee, you need to have a deep understanding of your buyers. These two important questions will help your company know who is involved, what goals you need to achieve, and how decisions are managed. 

About The Author

Bill Murphy is the founder and chief strategist for Colony Spark.

Follow on Twitter @billmurphy | LinkedIn

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