Four Buyer Personas in EVERY Complex Sale

Four Buyers in EVERY Complex Sale

A complex sale exists when two or more people must give their approval or input before a buying decision can be made. While multiple factors go into creating effective sales strategy, identifying all of the people involved in the buying process is critical. According to sales training company Miller Heiman, there are four buyer personas in every complex sale (people may assume more than one persona). Each buyer persona has a different focus and reason for deciding to move forward. Each buyer persona must be persuaded to close the deal. The four buyer personas are:

1 – Coach. The coach’s role is to give you the information that you need to effectively manage the sales process to close. Coaches help you interpret and provide information about 1) other buyers inside the organization, 2) other elements of the strategic sales analysis to be considered and 3) validation of the sales objective. In every sale, you should develop at least one coach. Coaches are trusted within their organization. The coach’s primary focus is on helping the seller achieve the sales objective. Coaches ask, how do I help ensure we buy the seller’s product?

2 – Economic Buyer. The economic buyer’s role is to give final approval and release dollars to buy your product. They can also reallocate funds within the organization to make investments. While the economic buyer can say yes, they can also say no when the other buyers have already approved the purchase. The economic buyer’s primary focus is on 1) how the product will impact the organization and 2) what return the organization will receive on its investment. There is only one economic buyer for each sale, but the role may be performed by a board, committee or team.

3 – Technical Buyer. The technical buyer’s role is to screen out products based on specifications or technicalities. They are the gatekeeper for the economic buyer. Technical buyers cannot say yes, but can say no. They often say they are the economic buyer. Technical buyers make judgments based on measurable, quantifiable aspects of the seller’s product or proposal. The technical buyer’s principal focus is the product itself. They match the product to specifications in their area of expertise. They ask, does the product meet our technical requirements?

4 – User Buyer. The user buyer’s role is to make judgments about the product’s impact on their personal or team’s job performance. The majority of people fall into the user buyer category. The user buyer’s primary focus is on the impact the product will have on the job to be performed. The selection is personal because the user buyer will actually use or supervise the use of the product. Consequently, there is a direct link between the product and the user buyer’s success. User buyers ask, how will the product work for my department or for my job?

Strategy is what you do before meeting with customers. Tactics are what you do during customer meetings. You can create effective sales strategy only when you identify the four buyer personas. When you do not identify them, you are at risk of only talking to people with whom you feel comfortable or with whom you perceive as having the right titles. Those individuals may or may not be the right people. The four buyer personas in every complex sale must be identified and positively persuaded to consistently close deals.

All contents copyright © 2015, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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