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The ultimate guide to navigating b2b sales with multiple buyers

The ultimate guide to navigating B2B sales with multiple buyers

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The B2B sales arena is slowly morphing into a bustling committee, with each passing year adding more and more decision-makers.

Over 78% of B2B sales are now overseen by multiple decision-makers, with an average of 3.6 buyers in the mix.

It’s one of the reasons the journey towards closing a sale has become ever longer: the diverse mix of stakeholders, from different departments and seniorities complicating deals. In fact, 84% of customers now report the buying journey stretches longer than anticipated. 

It’s no longer a one-person show… welcome to the collaborative era of sales.

The complexity and significance of multi-buyer scenarios in B2B sales make them particularly lengthy and difficult to close. Luckily, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to navigating this complex world.

Understanding the Decision-Making Unit

What is the Decision-Making Unit?

The Decision-Making Unit (DMU) is the group of individuals who come together to make decisions regarding a purchase. Each person within the DMU will hold varying levels of influence and roles within the buying process. 

There are multiple DMUs in most businesses. Find the relevant DMU for your sale, and you’ve got a who’s who of decision-makers, influencers, and gatekeepers that you’ll need to impress to get your product or service through the door.

They probably don’t call themselves the DMU to be fair to them. It’s more of a tool to help you consider and reach everyone involved in the buying process.

Why is understanding the DMU crucial? Well, when selling to businesses, you’re not just pitching to one person. You’re navigating a maze of opinions, needs, and concerns. You need to consider all of them, to some degree, in order to successfully sell to them.

Understanding the buying process

In order to effectively engage with the DMU, you’ve got to try and understand their buying process. 

In it’s simplest form, the journey begins with the recognition of a need, followed by the evaluation of solutions, and finally, the decision to purchase. 

But multiple actors add the complexity: each stage is a team effort, with various members of the DMU playing different roles. Some identify needs, some research solutions, and some are involved with the final decision. Some will be involved at multiple stages.

Digging deeper into the decision-making group

To try and connect with the group, discovering more about the individuals will help. Try identifying who holds the reins of influence. There may be a sceptic, an enthusiast, and there’s often a gatekeeper. 

It’s like assembling the pieces of a puzzle; each member has their own perspective, priorities, and level of influence in the decision-making process. This knowledge isn’t just power—it’s the foundation of a tailored, effective sales strategy. 

Engaging with each member, and understanding their individual concerns and motivations, will pave the way for more meaningful interactions and ultimately, a more fruitful relationship with the prospective client.

Building relationships

Building solid relationships is the cornerstone of successful B2B sales, especially when dealing with multiple stakeholders within the Decision-Making Unit.

Making gatekeepers your allies

Gatekeepers can be viewed as hurdles, but can also be turned into helpful allies. They control access to the DMU, so befriending them can smooth your pathway. Start by understanding their concerns and providing clear, concise information they can pass along. It’s not about dodging them; it’s about earning their trust.

Building rapport with each member

Every member of the DMU has unique needs and priorities. Take time to understand and address their individual goals, concerns, and how your solution can address them. Show you value their contribution to build trust.

Connect with DMU influencers

Champions and influencers within the DMU can significantly sway the purchasing decision in your favour. Identify these individuals early on, and invest time in nurturing these relationships. Share insights that resonate with their specific challenges, and show how your solution can be a game-changer for them.

Embracing empathy and patience

A B2B sales journey with multiple stakeholders can be a lengthy process. Embrace empathy to understand the varying perspectives within the DMU, and exercise patience as they navigate their internal decision-making processes.

Nailing communication

Try to unravel the decision-making hierarchy within the DMU. Understanding who holds the final say, and what influences them, will help you tailor your pitch to each of them to make it resonate.

Balance discussion and focus in meetings

Creating a platform for open communication is crucial. Encourage stakeholders to share their thoughts and concerns, while also steering discussions to stay on topic. This balance ensures meetings are productive, engaging, and valuable for all participants.

The necessity of tailored communication

You should customise your message to resonate with the different roles and concerns within the DMU. From the early days of lead generation to the business end of sales meetings, always tailor your message.

It demonstrates your understanding of their individual goals, and connects with them on a human level.

Articulating key differentiators and advantages

Clearly articulating what sets your solution apart from others is crucial. Highlight how it aligns with the individual and collective goals of the decision-makers, addressing their specific pain points and delivering value that’s hard to overlook.

The importance of direct communication

Don’t let multiple buyers muddy the lines of communication. That’s the advice from Steve Harlow, Sopro’s Chief Sales Officer.

Steve Harlow, CSO, gives his advice on selling to multiple B2B buyers: “It's crucial to have direct conversations with every stakeholder, rather than relying on second-hand information being passed around. You need to get them on a call, so you retain control of the messaging. You know exactly what’s been said and it means everyone has a clear understanding.”

Multichannel prospecting

Natural engagement

Multichannel prospecting meets prospects where they are and engages them on their terms. Segmenting your campaign allows for a tailored approach that resonates with different personas.

Cross-departmental touchpoints

Depending on your targeting, your outreach may connect with multiple stakeholders within the DMU. For instance, engaging a sales leader who then mentions your solution to the head of business development could spark a ripple effect. The latter might have already come across your brand, reinforcing the message and fostering a collaborative interest within the group.

Prospecting synergy with inbound marketing

Harmonising outbound and inbound methods aimed at your target market creates a prospecting synergy. There’s a good chance that several members of the DMU have already encountered your brand, laying a favourable groundwork for your outreach.

Enhanced results

Our State of Prospecting survey of 359 B2B professionals highlighted contacting decision-makers directly as a significant advantage of email prospecting. Amplifying this with inbound and outbound touchpoints, and targeting multiple decision-makers not only nurtures a more informed engagement but also significantly enhances the results of your prospecting efforts.


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Educational content and social proof

Creating sales enablement content

Sales enablement content can directly address common concerns and questions, showcasing your expertise and building trust.

It should make the buying journey easier for your prospects, acting as a roadmap that guides decision-makers through each stage of the buying process.

In the case of multiple buyers, that means having dedicated content for different departments – legal and compliance will have a very different set of concerns to brand and marketing.

The power of testimonials, case studies, and referrals

92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they have read a trusted review about it. 

Harnessing testimonials and case studies showcases real-world success, providing tangible proof of your solution’s value. Encourage satisfied clients to refer you, adding a layer of trust and authenticity to your proposition.

How to showcase social proof

Present social proof strategically, aligning success stories with the specific concerns and objectives of each stakeholder, making your solution’s benefits palpable and credible.

Engaging demonstrations

Offer multiple demos

Yes, every stakeholder has a unique perspective. But they also have different schedules. You might have to make room in your diary for multiple demos. 

Alternatively, you can offer a variety of formats, like live or pre-recorded. This ensures each member of the DMU has the opportunity to engage with your solution at a time that suits them, but it keeps you in charge of the message.

Addressing concerns

During demonstrations, proactively address common concerns and be ready to tackle any questions thrown your way.

Ensure that your team is prepared to address questions, providing clear, precise, and helpful responses that illuminate the benefits of your offering.

Use psychology

Employing sales psychology techniques such as reciprocity, commitment, authority, unity, and scarcity can enhance the engagement and impact of your demos. 

These techniques tap into innate human behaviours and biases, creating a more persuasive and meaningful interaction, even with multiple B2B buyers.

The essence of navigating B2B sales with multiple buyers, pivots on gaining an understanding of the stakeholders in the buying group, and building robust relationships with its members. Tailoring communication to resonate with diverse stakeholders, coupled with engaging demonstrations, lays the groundwork for a fruitful dialogue. Multichannel prospecting, educational content, and social proof can establish familiarity and credibility and foster engagement with prospects.

Sopro’s multichannel prospecting service dovetails perfectly with these insights, orchestrating tailored campaigns that resonate with the different personas within the DMU. By blending email prospecting and LinkedIn outreach among other channels, Sopro facilitates a natural engagement, fostering cross-departmental touchpoints and enhancing the chances of a successful sale in the complex multi-buyer B2B realm.

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