How to Market to Buying Committees

May 15, 2018

five members of the buying circle listen to a marketer pitch

When it comes to marketing your business, the challenges you face today are different from those you dealt with just a few years ago. Between creating content your audiences want and personalizing messages for every decision maker, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

One goal, many personalities

Understanding your buyer—how she thinks, her purchasing preferences, where she chooses to communicate and how—affects not only the type of content you create and share, but where and how you share it. As a marketer, it’s your job to have a strong grasp of each audience segment and be able to personalize the messaging for each. When you consider that most enterprise-level companies employ not one buyer, but an entire committee made up of an average of five members, it’s easy to see how difficult it can be to reach them all in the appropriate way.

Each professional on a buying committee comes with a different background—and if recent data has anything to say about it—different generations, who think and work differently. More than 80% of buying committees include at least one millennial employee, according to one recent study. And one in four millennial buyers don’t reach out to a brand until they know exactly what they want. In order to connect with each one, you have to understand their specific role and personal preferences. Buying committees are typically made up of a primary decision maker, a project manager, influencers and researchers.

Thankfully, we have digital tools to simplify and organize the process. But simplifying doesn’t translate to connecting. How can we do that in a meaningful, authentic way?

By providing value.

The content connection

When it comes to icebreakers, content is the new martini. Connecting, building trust, establishing thought leadership and adding value can all be done via content. Follow this simple three-step approach to crafting content that caters to the right audience and buyer persona.

  1. Search. LinkedIn is a vast network of more than 500 million members. Step one, then, is to narrow down your efforts to a manageable list of LinkedIn members to target. Identify and build out the team of decision makers within an organization via their LinkedIn bios. Discover philanthropic interests, backgrounds, shared connections and more and save your searches so that you’re prepared to reach out at the right time.
  2. Listen. When potential leads publish a post, comment on or like a post, or contribute to a group discussion, use that knowledge to learn more about them, then send relevant content that answers their question, speaks to their concern, or provides more information about a trending topic. Pay attention to when leads are engaging so that you reach out at the most appropriate time, in the most valuable way according to their preferences and their role within a company.
  3. Tailor. Customize your content to the appropriate stage along the customer journey. When you have a clear understanding about where a potential buyer is along the customer journey, you can determine the types of content that will be most helpful. Early in the awareness phase, share high-level information that explains available solutions to meet common challenges. In the consideration phase, case studies, reviews, and deep-dive research can help your buyer uncover key details that can help them reach a decision. And once they do make a purchase, focus on building brand loyalty by creating and sharing useful, timely content that can help them succeed in their roles.

The proliferation of buying committees has made connecting with decision makers a challenge, but with the right digital tools, modern marketers make valuable first impressions and continuing adding value throughout the buyer’s lifecycle.

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