Account-Based Marketing is all about knowing the account you’re selling into, and individual buying roles are of paramount importance. Why? Because unless you know who actually is making a decision, you could be spending important sales resources pursuing the wrong contact.
Today, we’re going to focus on defining, setting and leveraging Buyer Roles in your Account-Based Marketing efforts.
Defining Buyer Roles
HubSpot recently launched their Account-Based Marketing tools, and among them is a Buyer Role field - a multi-check box allowing you to define each contact within a company or deal by their role in the actual purchasing process. Out of the box, the buying roles are:
- Budget Holder
- Decision Maker
- End User
- Executive Sponsor
- Legal & Compliance
You also have the option to add roles if you wish - if, for example, you want to identify the more traditional Gatekeeper or Initiator role - however, just the default roles should, on their own or in combination with each other, provide you the insight you need to focus your efforts on the right contacts.
Setting Contacts’ Buyer Roles
Unlike Personas, which can be populated programmatically, Buyer Roles are far too often disconnected from a specific title or seniority to be put into a Workflow. A well-liked intern could be a strong Influencer, whereas the CXO you’ve identified as the top of your target department’s food chain may not even be an End User.
Identifying these Buyer Roles falls to your sales team, and both encourages and benefits from their ability to network, leverage soft skills and discern relationships within a target account.
Leveraging Buyer Roles as a Sales Rep
Once you have started utilizing Buyer Roles in your sales process, their impact opens up significantly. At the rep level, the outcome is as simultaneously simple and powerful as knowing whether or not the contacts with whom you have developed relationships can actually help you move the sales process along. Perhaps you’ve spent six months nurturing your relationship with the VP of Marketing who you think would be your ideal buyer, only to find out that she has no connection with the team who would use your product in the end.
By going into your Target Accounts page in HubSpot and drilling into a specific account, you can see a list of associated contacts, their Buying Roles (if you have assigned them), and their last engagement - which can help be an impetus to reach out to that Influencer you haven’t talked to in a month, or remind you that you really need to get on identifying the key Roles in this company:
Knowing the Decision Maker is key above all else. Why spend countless hours convincing someone of the value of your product to their organization if you don’t even know who would have the authority to greenlight a purchase?
Now, that’s not to say that developing this relationship is useless. Indeed, if you manage to create an internal Champion, then you have a better path to reach the Decision Maker. But all of this requires you to know who the Decision Maker is.
The other major key Buyer Role to look out for is the Blocker. Someone in the organization is preventing you from completing your sale. You want to know who they are, and more importantly, what their primary role is. Are they the Decision Maker? If so, you may be in trouble. Are they an End User, or in Legal & Compliance? If they’re not also Influencers, you might be safe to try an end-around to other contacts with more influential Buyer Roles.
This underscores the value of HubSpot’s Buyer Role property being a multi-check box. The Buyer Roles are not always mutually exclusive, and Roles like Influencer or Blocker should be enriched with another Role that defines their relationship to the project your product is looking to enhance.
Leveraging Buyer Roles as an Executive
Ensuring your sales reps use Buyer Roles correctly can allow you to identify blind spots in an account being worked and prescribe activities to correct them. HubSpot’s ABM-related charts can give you a high-level look at the known Buying Roles within a target account:
With this, you can see what Buyer Roles have been identified at your target accounts. And you can also click into any section of the chart for a given company to see a list of all contacts with that particular Role - along with any other Roles they may have:
This can give you a decent look at how well an account is being researched from an ABM perspective. It can also give you a good idea of which accounts are missing key Roles, which will help you guide those accounts’ reps in identifying the contacts most important to the buying process.
Alternatively, you can use Demand Sage’s Account-Based Marketing reports - available for free in our Report Library - to give you an executive summary of important ABM-related information in Google Sheets, updating nightly. The Account Explorer gives you a customizable table that includes the count of Decision Makers, Blockers and Evangelists, along with funnel velocity metrics and recent sales activities:
Summary: Buyer Roles Are Crucial for an Account-Based Worldview
The tenets of ABM are nothing new - in order to sell or market to an account, you have to make sure you know the account and the various roles of the associated contacts. Leveraging HubSpot’s ABM toolkit - particularly the Buyer Roles field - is an important part of streamlining any organization’s sales and marketing process.
Know who can say “yes.” Know who can only say “no.” Establish a relationship with the former, and try to keep the latter out of the sales process as much as possible.