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How to Navigate A Complex Buying Committee in B2B Sales

B2B Sales (especially of the enterprise variety) is filled with landmines. Consider this: you spend weeks selling to your primary decision maker, helping them see the value in your solution, until they’ve finally bought in. But does it end there? Of course not. You got a whole army (read: buying committee) coming for you!

There’s no happily ever after, no walking off into the sunset. At least not yet. More often than not, you have to speak to your buyer’s boss, and their boss’s boss, and other functions like security, compliance, and CFOs, depending on the buying organization’s hierarchy and the complexity of your solution.

Now, we’re not saying it’s always hard.

If your primary decision maker is a strong champion who wields enough and more influence in the organization… you have it easy. If you find yourself in this situation with every deal you’re working on, we envy you. From the bottom of our hearts.

But chances of finding that strong champion with internal influence is not very high. In fact, only 9% percent of the global population are known to be strong “D” types in the DISC personality framework. And it is this small group that make up champions that would legitimately fight for you.

Here are a few questions to consider when navigating a complex buying committee:

1. Do I have a champion? Are they a STRONG champion?

Often, one might bank on their interpersonal relationship with their champion to gauge whether they’ll fight for you. But a majority of sales leaders, particularly ones exhibiting an I-type or S-type personality, will say things like “I love your product, I’ll do anything it takes to get you on board” which is often misleading because these personalities are the first to back down in conflict situations. Which can happen when a champion presents a business case to senior leadership / cross-functional stakeholders.

Humantic AI’s buying committee analysis maps stakeholders on a magic quadrant, by their ability to champion your cause.

Humantic AI's magic quadrant analyzing buying committee

In an ideal world, your champions should belong in the champions quadrant (yeah, yeah, duh)

But if your “primary decision maker” is on the neutral quadrant, you can still make it work. Provided you have buy-in from at least one stakeholder in the “champion” quadrant.

The skeptics are a lost cause; you should be aiming to neutralize them rather than cultivating them as champions.

The “Friendlies” are a bigger concern than skeptics in many ways, because if not for Humantic AI, and you were just relying on social cues, you might assume they are your strongest champions and 2 weeks down the line, you’ll be left wondering why the deal went sideways.

That said, it’s also important that your Champion believe in your solution before everything. Need first, personality second. A “neutral” that truly believes in your product is better than a “champion” that’s so-so about it.

2. How do I work the room with multiple buying committee members?

The Humantic AI chrome extension gives you individual buyer insights on each committee member, so the 1-1 interactions are more or less a breeze. But what do you do when you have 7 different people with conflicting personalities on a call? Or an email thread with that same group?

Who should you cater to with your tone and messaging?

Humantic AI's buying committee overview

Humantic AI’s buying committee overview gives you a summary on the personality-wise, education-wise, and experience-wise breakdown. If 85% people in a buying committee exhibit a Dominant Type, it makes sense to cater to that.

Similarly, change your messaging according to your buyer’s education and seniority level.

If the overview gives you mixed results, as pictured above, try to cater to the person with the highest authority and influence within the organization.

3. How do I NOT offend people in a buying committee?

Enterprise organizations often come with complex internal politics. You don’t know who’s cool with who and who’s beefing with who. And you might send one email to one buying committee member, and another seemingly unrelated member has taken offense to it.

We get it.

To be brutally honest, it’s virtually impossible for any technology to analyze and present the perfect way to engage with a set of complex human beings and their internal feelings about each other. By their very nature, these interpersonal relationships are not public and cannot be available as data points.

That said, it is absolutely possible to know, at a personality level, how people would react if you were to go over them to seek the support other buying committee members.

Personality typeWhat offends themHow to avoid offending them
(D type)
Undermining authorityLoop them in your communications to other buying committee members. Inform, don’t seek permission.
(I type)
Not valuing your relationship with themAsk them for an intro or to put in a word. Or if that’s not possible, praise or compliment them when speaking to others.
(S type)
Not following processesAsk them for suggestions. If you need to go against existing processes, tell them about your intentions and seek a yes/no.
(C type)
Ignoring themThese people often incite doubt in other committee members as well, so address their concerns publicly and appreciate their critical thinking.
How NOT to offend buying committee members

If you want to improve your win rate with complex buying committees, there are two no-brainers that will do that almost instantly.

One, put together a comprehensive research memo. If you’re looking at a million dollar deal, it is absolutely worth it.

And two, get Humantic AI. It’s the only sales tool that helps you communicate with your buying committee effectively: both on a 1-1 basis, and at the group level.

Humantic AI reinvents human interaction by enabling its users to reliably understand other people's personality and behavior without requiring them to take any test. Using Humantic AI's cutting-edge personality AI, salespeople can consistently close more deals.

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