Role Players, I
Business to business (B2B) sales can be very complicated. There are lots of issues that impact a successful sale, lots of competitive pressure (you are competing with anyone offering a solution to any problem within a company, not just your solution), and, often, lots of people involved in making a decision.
It’s the “lots of people” issue that really makes B2B selling complex. You are not only dealing with many personalities, who each have their own personalities, foibles and desires – you are dealing with different roles within the same organization.
The Five Buyer Roles
1. The Key Executive is the person salespeople typically think of as the ‘decision maker.’ The key executive is person who has the final say. In most complex sales situations there are many buyers who have the authority to say no, and only one who has the ability and authority to say yes. That person is the key executive. Often the key executive has a ‘C’ in their title.
Key executives are concerned about strategic issues. They talk about enterprise initiatives, enterprise value, ROI. To get their attention you must speak of the strategic advantages your offering provides. Talking about tactics, or focusing too much on ‘cost savings’ will commoditize you and will get you delegated down to a level where making a sale is harder and takes much longer.
View my next post to learn about the other four, equally important, buyers and how to talk with them.