What would you do if your grandpa's closet unearthed a treasure map? Well, the adventure seeker in you might want to sail to the middle of the Pacific at the prospect of a treasure hunt.
But treasure maps are as good a myth as a unicorn. Even the treasures that have been found were found without a map.
Take the case of the ship 'Whydah,' which was found in 1984 at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Cape Cod. Upon finding the ship, the dive team proceeded to find artifacts belonging to its captain "Black Sam Bellamy" along with a treasure made up of tens of thousands of coins.
While the "treasure" remained somewhat intact at the bottom of the ocean, the fact is that they were not hidden and were found without a map - only clues left behind by witness accounts.
So, why the rant? Well, because I think sales professionals are treasure hunters. Albeit, without maps and with barely any "witness accounts."
If you look at the challenges facing a sales rep trying to make a sale, you would agree from account discovery, content curation, and outreach to finding the decision-makers, making a pitch, and closing the deal. The entire B2B sales process sounds like adventurers trying to locate the riches while avoiding booby-traps.
In such a complex sales environment, having a map can help. And in this article, I want to explore how you can know the buyer journey map of every account you prospect.
B2B sales is growing more complex.
Gone are the days when a single call to the C-suite could land you a sale. Now, the typical buying group for a B2B solution involves six to 10 members, each armed with four or five pieces of information they've gathered independently and which they must deconflict with the group.
Most tech teams have a distributed tech stack built by stitching together specialized software. For example, you might have an accounting software from Intuit and an expense tracker from Expensify, and both integrate well. Such teams don't have a single decision-maker like the CEO or CFO because each software needs buy-in from the key stakeholders.
Today, your sales and marketing machine should aim to make a good rapport with the buying group members if you are to stand a chance for consideration. You need to ensure that you have champions in the buying group of your target account that will make your product's case.
Hear this: According to Gartner's Future of B2B Buying Journey Report, your sales reps have roughly 5% of a customer's time during their B2B buying journey.
Gartner's research finds that when B2B buyers consider a purchase, they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. When buyers compare multiple suppliers, the amount of time spent with any sales rep may only be 5% or 6%.
What about the remaining 83% of the time in their buyer journey? The same report finds out that almost 50% of the buying committee's time is spent researching online and offline for requirements and vendors. The remaining 25-30% of the time is spent meeting with buying-group members.
With the number of people involved, and each fulfilling a key responsibility in the buying process, it can become overwhelming for the sales rep to find out who does what. And that leads to incorrect messaging, hitting the wrong person's inbox, and ultimately failure.
You need a map to navigate complex terrain.
The B2B sales process has changed with the prevalence of buyer committees. A single buyer within an organization could make a purchase decision in the past. However, now multiple buyers are involved in the decision-making process, making navigating the complex landscape of B2B sales more difficult.
Therefore sales reps need to understand the buyer journey map for every account they prospect. The buyer journey map shows the buyer's journey from initial awareness to the final purchase decision. Knowing this information can help you better understand the buyer's needs and best fulfill them.
To create a buyer journey map, you first need to identify the different buyer personas involved in the buying process. But let's look at some of the traditional roles that members fulfill.
B2B buying committee members are your landmarks.
If B2B sales is a treasure hunt, the buying committee members are landmarks on your treasure map. Yes, they are that important. Without moving through each of the landmarks, you can't get to the treasure.
Some of the usual roles in a B2B buying group include -
Decision-makers: These professionals have the final say on what software is being implemented in their organization. Managers or executive-level employees typically fulfill this role. Often they also take part in the budget allocation for software and services.
Economic Buyer: In larger organizations, the functions of budgeting and decision-making based on features are separated. That is where the economic buyer comes in who takes on the role of budget allocation and buying activities.
Influencers: These people have a say in an organization's software, but they don't have final authority on a purchase decision. Their role is to provide guidance to the buyer and recommend based on their expertise or experience.
Recommender: There is the potential to have a recommender in every B2B buying group. And this role can be fulfilled by an influencer or economic buyer. Their responsibility is to research and recommend different options for consideration.
But you need not limit yourself to these few roles; there could be more people involved such as -
Analyst: They are involved in the pre-sales process by providing data and insights to the buyer.
Saboteur: They act as a filter for the buying group and control access to information or the decision-maker.
End-User: End users are part of the equation for making decisions about which software to implement. They need to be considered when looking at requirements.
Once you understand the different buyer personas involved in the buying process, you can start to map out their journey. The map will show the various touchpoints that each persona has with your company.
Which route should I take? Look at your buyer map.
We all know that usually, there are multiple routes to a destination. Similarly, in sales, you could either go top-down or bottom-up. In short, top-down sales is a strategy where you try connecting with the decision-maker or the economic buyer, hoping to make a strong impression on them and then influence other members in the buying group.
Alternatively, bottom-up sales involve starting with end-users and converting them to your champions. Then you reach out to decision-makers with your support base already established and try to make your case.
So, which strategy should you adopt while making a sale? It depends.
It depends on your product, target market, and several other factors. But, you can be sure that by having a buyer journey map, you will know what to say to each stakeholder in the buying group.
For example, if you sell a product with effortless adoption, reaching out to the end-users will be wise. You can create a champion by showing the value addition that your product brings to the user's daily tasks.
Now, if your map had already identified that your target account has an end-user actively researching for products, you could hit them up with your bottom-up sequence and establish a connection.
Next, you could get an intro to the other buying group members or supply your champion with documents, case studies, and comparison sheets for decision-makers and influencers.
But none of this would ever happen if you didn't have a map in the first place.
Start digging for your treasure.
With all your roles defined in the buying group and your sales outreach strategy in place, you can start building your case.
Since you are aware of each role and responsibility in the buying group, you will be better equipped to deal with their objections and hopes.
For example, if you are selling accounting software, the controller might be one of the decision-makers. They usually care about compliance standards, and you can quote your industry certifications in your cold email. Instead, if you were selling expense tracking software, the controller would still be a decision-maker, but now they might be more concerned about the software workflow and functionality.
Yet another decision-maker might be the IT director, and they might want to know how well the expense tracking software integrates with their current accounting software. The accountant might want to know whether the GL codes can be imported to the expense tracking software from the accounting software.
So your outreach and messaging will always depend on the buyer's role in the buying committee. You could choose to educate influencers and end-users with an awareness campaign over Facebook or Instagram Ads.
Then you could follow it up with a cold email with the prospect's specific pain points that you have uncovered in the buyer journey map.
With such an integrated marketing and sales outreach, reps will hit gold and the treasure chest; in our case, the sale contract will be found every time you dig in.
Know it all with Truebase.
I pointed out earlier that treasure maps are rare and B2B buyer journey maps. It is quite difficult for sales reps to find the right decision-maker in an account, let alone all the buying group members.
But with Truebase AI, you can quickly label certain job titles and designations with their buyer committee role. This helps you customize and personalize your outreach and segment your marketing right from the get-go.
Consider our previous example; if you have identified that the "accountant" is your end-user, the CFO is the economic buyer, the controller is the decision-maker, and the "Chief accountant" is an influencer. Here's how Truebase could help your sales engine in such a buying group.
You could first start by exporting all the "end-user" leads from Truebase in a format easily uploaded to Facebook Ads. Then you could show some awareness ads with your product differentiation. Thus, you could leverage precision targeting in ads with the help of Truebase.
Next, you could launch another set of ads for "Influencer" leads, in our case, the chief accountant. You could run LinkedIn Sponsored Ads and promote your latest case study or industry report. Again you can export "influencers" from Truebase in a format easily uploaded to the LinkedIn Ads platform.
Finally, you can export all your "decision-maker" leads and hit them with your cold email. You can also leverage connections and champions built in the account in your cold email. Since getting a warm intro is one of the best sales methods, you can also find possible warm intro paths from Truebase.
In short, Truebase can find leads with their proper buying role in the B2B sales process so that your reps can focus on closing deals and spend less time on prospecting. Want to know more? Sign up today to supercharge your prospecting.