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Sales Buying Roles: Understanding the Different Stakeholders and Personas

RepVue Editorial Team
RepVue Editorial TeamDec 21, 2023

If you’re in SMB, mid-market or enterprise sales, you know that the buying process can be complex and involve multiple stakeholders. Understanding the different buying roles is essential to your success. Each person involved in the buying process has unique responsibilities and priorities that must be taken into account to close the deal.

One way of doing that is to identify the different buying roles you’ll encounter throughout the sales process. By understanding each buying role and their responsibilities, you can tailor your sales pitch to address their specific needs and concerns.

It’s important to note that not every buying role will be present in every sales opportunity, and some roles may be combined or overlap. However, having a general understanding of the different buying roles will help you navigate the sales process more effectively. 

Let’s  dive deeper into the most common buying roles and what you need to know to successfully close the deal.

Understanding Sales Buying Roles

Defining Buying Roles

There are various buying roles that a customer may play. Each buying role has a specific set of responsibilities and influences the purchasing decision in a unique way. The buying roles can be defined as the different types of people involved in the purchasing process, who have the power to influence the decision.

The most common buying roles include champions, influencers, gatekeepers, decision-makers, and end-users. Each role has a distinct set of responsibilities and knowing how to communicate the value of your product to each one is essential to the successful completion of the sale.

Importance of Identifying Roles

By identifying the key buying roles, salespeople can tailor their sales pitch to meet the specific needs of each role, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately close more deals.Moreover, understanding the different buying roles can help salespeople to anticipate potential roadblocks and objections that may arise during the sales process. It allows them to prepare for objections and overcome them more effectively.

By identifying the key buying roles and tailoring your sales pitch to meet the specific needs of each role, you can increase their chances of closing more deals and building long-term relationships with customers.

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Types of Buying Roles

Understanding the different buying roles roles can help you tailor your sales pitch to the specific needs and preferences of the audience. Here are the most common types of buying roles:

Champions

Champions are the people who are your biggest advocates within the prospect organization — and who lead the evaluation and decision-making process internally. They might be  the person who suggested or thought of the idea of buying a particular product or service. 

Learn more about the Champion buying role

Influencers

Influencers are individuals whose views and opinions can influence the final decision to buy. They may be internal or external to the organization and can include colleagues, managers, consultants, or industry experts. 

Learn more about the Influencer buying role

Decision-Makers

Decision-makers are the individual or group  who have the final say in whether to make a purchase or not. They may be the CEO, CFO, or other high-level executives within the organization.

Learn more about the Decision-Maker buying role

Buyers

Buyers are the people who actually make the purchase. They may be employees within the organization or external parties such as procurement specialists or purchasing agents. They “sign the check.”

End Users

End users are the people who will actually use the product or service being sold. They may be employees within the organization or external parties such as customers or clients. 

Gatekeepers

Gatekeepers are individuals who control access to the decision-makers within an organization. They may be receptionists, administrative assistants, or other support staff. Building relationships with gatekeepers can help you gain access to the decision-makers and increase your chances of making a sale.

Learn more about the Gatekeeper buying role

Engaging with Different Buying Roles

When  engaging with different buying roles, it is important to tailor your communication and build relationships with each audience. By doing so, you can increase your chances of closing the sale and building a long-term relationship with the customer.

Tailoring Communication

Each buying role has their own unique perspective and priorities, so it is important to tailor your communication to their specific needs.

For example, champions or end users may be more interested in the features and specifications of your product, while the decision-maker and other influencers may be more concerned with the return on investment. By understanding these differences, you can adjust your messaging to better resonate with each buying role.

Building Relationships

Building relationships is key to successful sales, of course, but this is especially true when engaging with different buying roles. Take the time to understand the needs and priorities of each buying role, and work to establish a rapport with them.

Fortunately, social media or other online platforms make connecting with your customers on a more personal level easier than ever. This can help you build trust and establish stronger relationships.

Winning Over Decision-Makers

Understanding the priorities and concerns of decision-makers is most important of all. For example, they may be more focused on the bottom line or the long-term impact of their purchasing decisions.

Consider using case studies or testimonials to demonstrate the value of your product or service, and be prepared to address any objections or concerns that may arise. By doing so, you can increase your chances of closing the sale and building a long-term relationship with the customer.

Overall, engaging with different buying roles requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. By tailoring your communication, building relationships, and winning over with decision makers, you can increase your chances of success. 

Practice Makes Progress

Adapting your sales techniques to fit the specific needs and preferences of each role is key to closing enterprise deals — but it can be a challenge. Here are some strategies that can help you be more effective.

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Leveraging Customer Insights

 A deep understanding of your customers is essential. This includes their needs, preferences, pain points, and buying behaviors. By leveraging customer insights, you can tailor your sales pitch to better resonate with your target audience.

Take detailed notes and keep track of what resonates with each buying role — and doesn’t — throughout the sales process.   You can leverage these insights in future sales to help you better tailor your messages to each buying role.

Role Playing

One effective technique is to use role-playing exercises to simulate real-life sales scenarios. This can help you practice adapting your sales techniques to different buying roles, and identify areas for improvement.

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