Understanding Differences in B2B Buying Groups

Understanding Differences in B2B Buying Groups

When companies need to add software to their technology stack, they typically form a buying committee made up of different people who will be affected by the decision. The average buying committee is around 7 people, however, no two buying groups look the same. Vendors must understand who they’re speaking to in order to be effective. Buying groups can differ based on factors like the seniority of the members, how wide the application of the software will be, and even the age of the business. 

Vendors need the ability to assess the types of people who are likely on a company’s buying committee and make sure they’re tailoring messages to the needs of the company.

How to Outline the Makeup of a Buying Committee

To start, consider how long the company has been in business and how many employees they have. Startups, for example, are likely to have more executives on their buying committee because they have fewer employees and fewer manager-level decision-makers. Additionally, they may not have the capital for top-of-the-line software suites, so they may opt for standalone solutions, instead.

You’ll also want to consider whether the software will affect a single department or the entire business. The answer to that question will likely influence how many people are involved in the decision. More departments mean more people, and you’ll need to tailor your messages in a way that will help members create consensus. 

How Company Size Affects the Buying Committee

The more people there are on the buying committee, the more people you’ll need to buy into your value proposition. The CFO and the IT manager are going to have different needs, and you’ll need to address both (along with every other member of the committee) if you want to make the sale. Not only does this mean you’ll need to create several different messages that speak to each person’s unique needs, but you’ll also need to address many different needs with a single piece of content. 

You may not get more than one person on the buying committee to review your product, so you need to arm them with the knowledge that will make it easier to convince the rest of the committee that you’re the right choice.

Speaking to Different Levels of Seniority

Similar to members of different departments, buying committee members that have different levels of seniority will have varying concerns. Executives are more likely to be worried about the big picture — ROI, budgets, etc. — while individual contributors and managers are more likely to focus on details. For example, an HR manager might want to know how much time a payroll solution will save their team, while the payroll specialist will be more concerned with the actual process the software follows and what automation is available.

Neither approach is more important than the other. Committees need each of these types of people to raise relevant concerns and make sure they’re finding the best solution for everyone on their team. Therefore, as a vendor, you must be able to speak to issues for every level of seniority.

How Can You Target More Members of the Buying Committee?

So, you know that reaching more members of the buying committee gives you a better chance of winning them over, but how do you get in front of so many people? It’s important to remember that buyers all have different preferences, including the type of content they consume, where they consume that content, and even what devices they’re using. It’s basically impossible to reach every member of the buying committee with a single piece of content, so you need to adapt it to reach a wider audience.

Start with the format. You should have at least one written and one audio/visual piece of content for each of your value propositions. Some people prefer watching videos or listening to podcasts, while others would rather read an article. And the length of these options matters, too. An article and a social media post will attract very different audiences, in the same way that a TikTok will attract a different demographic than a webinar. You’ll have to consider your ideal customer profiles and determine what will likely work best for them.

Then, consider where your ideal customers are doing their research. Typically, buyers don’t contact vendors until they’re about 70% of the way through the buying journey. Instead, they’re typically on third-party sites doing research about the type of software they need and what solving their problems actually looks like in practice. You need to partner with these third-party sites to generate brand awareness and keep your company’s name top of mind when the buyer is ready to move forward.

Targeting Must Be a Multi-faceted Approach

Targeting members of the buying committee is difficult, and you’ll have a hard time making progress with a single approach. Use different types of media to speak to each persona, and consider how different messages will be received at each stage of the buying journey. As you learn more about your ideal customers, this will get easier, but you’ll likely undergo some trial and error to get it right.

TechnologyAdvice has an exclusive audience of 100 million engaged technology buyers and can help you get your brand in front of potential customers where they’re doing research. To learn more about our offerings and to see how we can connect you with your ideal customers, contact our sales team today.

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