In B2B sales, the decision making process involves:
- a Researcher, who identifies suppliers capable of solving their organization’s need
- an Expert, who understands their need, well enough, to help a supplier to solve it
- a Decider, who knows how each project will change their organization and prioritizes which deserves their cash.
- an Influencer, who bridges the gap between Expert and Decider. They understand the need, and also see how it fits into their organization’s plans.
The Researcher is the first person we listen to. Of the four roles we will encounter, the Researcher is likely to be the most junior. Typically, they have been tasked with finding and filtering out potential suppliers. They will have a good idea of any preconditions that suppliers must meet. We’ll want to confirm eligibility early on to avoid wasting any further time and energy.
In formal tenders, the Research will most likely be coordinating the submission process.
They have no power over the decision making process, and don’t have enough understanding of their organization problem to allow us to qualify the lead. With this in mind, we will want to let go of the Researcher quickly and move onto the Expert. We can use the Researcher to help us identify the Expert, Influencers and the Decider.
It’s easy to dismiss the Research as being too lowly for our needs but that would be a serious mistake. They in fact are one of the most valuable sources of information on our competitors.