Buyer Enablement

The emlen Guide to Aligning your B2B Buying Center

Do you really know who holds the power to say 'yes' to your B2B deal? You're not selling to the company - you're selling to a group of individuals with different needs and levels of influence on the decision-making process within that company. This group is the B2B buying center.

In sales, knowing who is involved in the decision-making process and how to engage each stakeholder can make or break a sale. In this post, we’ll explore actionable strategies to align your buying center, focus on buyer center mapping, multithreading, and champion enablement. We’ll also show you how to leverage emlen to get the very best results with your buying center alignment.

Head of Buyer Enablement
emlen
7
min read
Jul 4, 2024

Steps to create a buyer center map

Mapping out your buying center is crucial for understanding who the key players are and how they influence the decision-making process. This map helps you identify the B2B buying center roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder, allowing you to tailor your engagement strategies effectively.  

emlen’s collaborative spaces are dynamic and can be easily updated as new information comes in. This will keep your buying center map current and accurate.

Now that you have a comprehensive map of your buying center, identifying the key stakeholders and their roles, it’s time to ensure you’re engaging with them effectively. This brings us to the next crucial strategy: multithreading.

What is multithreading in Sales?

Multithreading involves building relationships with multiple stakeholders within the buying center. This approach ensures that you are effectively engaging with multiple stakeholders. This strategy helps mitigate the risk of losing a deal if your primary contact leaves or is unavailable.

Engaging with multiple stakeholders also helps in gaining a broader understanding of the organization’s needs and how your solution can address them, which is crucial to understanding the B2B buyer journey.

The power/interest matrix for stakeholder engagement

When you really want to step up your multithreading game, you should really consider using the power/interest matrix. This tool helps you figure out how much you should involve each person based on how much power they have (their decision-making influence) and how interested they are (how much they care about the result).

When you use this matrix to map out stakeholders, you can adjust your multithreading approach to engage each person in the right way. That way, you’ll end up with a balanced and effective strategy!

Here’s a breakdown of the matrix:

  • High power | High interest
    • Prioritize these stakeholders. Collaborate closely and address their needs directly.
  • High power | Low Interest
    • Keep these influencers informed and satisfied, even if they’re not actively engaged.
  • Low power | High interest
    • Use their enthusiasm to build internal support and gather valuable insights.
  • Low power | Low interest
    • Monitor these stakeholders, but don’t over-invest resources.
The power / interest matrix

When you focus your efforts where they matter most, your chances of success will significantly increase.

Now that you know where to focus your energy, let’s take a look at some multithreading strategies to help you engage with different stakeholders effectively.

Strategies for effective multithreading

1. Build multiple relationships

Build diverse relationships early on by using social networks to understand stakeholders’ needs and tailor your approach accordingly.

emlen's collaborative spaces centralize communication, allowing you to manage interactions, share targeted content assets, and track engagement with multiple stakeholders simultaneously.

2. Tailor your communication

Adapt your messaging to resonate with each stakeholder's unique interests and concerns. For example, highlight financial benefits for economic sponsors and ease of use for end-users.

emlen's collaborative spaces offer customizable environments to deliver tailored messages and resources to specific stakeholder groups within the buying center.

3. Leverage your internal champions

Engage internal champions to advocate for your solution, introduce you to key stakeholders, and provide insights into organizational dynamics.

emlen empowers champions with resources and information for effective internal advocacy, streamlining access to relevant content and updates for stakeholders.

4. Use engagement tools

Track stakeholder engagement and content interactions to identify key players and prioritize efforts.

Gain valuable insights into stakeholder interests and engagement levels with emlen's analytics, allowing you to refine your approach and focus on the most promising opportunities.

Challenges in multithreading and their solutions

Buyer insecurity

Challenge: Champions and buyers may hesitate to involve senior decision-makers due to concerns about the solution's value, potential mistakes, and wasting time.

Solution: 

  • Build a strong case: Demonstrate clear value aligned with organizational goals, using compelling evidence (executive summaries, case studies, ROI calculations, testimonials).
  • Empower champions: Equip them with resources and talking points to confidently advocate for your solution.
  • Establish trust: Show empathy, understanding, and transparent communication to alleviate buyer concerns.
  • Use emlen: Facilitate transparent and continuous communication, providing easy access to relevant information and updates.
  • Encourage gradual involvement: Start with small commitments and build trust through incremental steps.

Tailoring communication

Challenge: Adapting communication styles to match the preferences of different stakeholders can be difficult. The first impression and the need to anticipate the preferred communication style of each stakeholder to establish credibility is vital.

Solution:

  • Research stakeholders to understand their preferences and priorities.
  • Tailor messaging accordingly (e.g., financial benefits for economic sponsors, ease of use for end-users).
  • Practice active listening and be flexible in your communication style.
  • Leverage emlen to deliver targeted sales content assets tailored to each stakeholder's role and interests.

By addressing these challenges and implementing effective multithreading strategies, you can ensure that all relevant stakeholders are engaged and aligned, ultimately driving your sales success.

Champion enablement and why it’s critical to the buying process

Your champion is your internal advocate, crucial for navigating politics and influencing decision-makers. Now, you need to understand how you can enable them to do what they do best.

How to enable your champion in 5 steps

1. Equip them with resources

Provide a curated set of resources tailored to their target stakeholders within the buying center (e.g., executive summaries, case studies, ROI calculators). Leverage emlen's collaborative space to ensure they have easy access to the latest materials.

2. Craft a compelling narrative

Collaborate with your champion to develop a narrative that resonates with their organization's goals and pain points, highlighting how your solution addresses specific challenges. Use emlen to co-create and customize this narrative for maximum impact.

3. Offer ongoing support

Maintain regular communication to address any concerns, provide updates, and offer guidance. Use emlen's collaborative space to streamline communication and ensure confidentiality.

4. Facilitate introductions

Empower your champion to introduce you to other key stakeholders. Prepare them with talking points and insights to make these introductions smooth and productive.

5. Recognition and reward

Show appreciation for your champion's contributions while respecting their confidentiality preferences. Thank and acknowledge them via a personal email and if they permit it, share their success stories within your company. 

Now you understand how to enable your champions, let’s bring these strategies to life:

B2B Buying center in action: An example scenario

Consider a scenario where you’re selling a complex software solution. Your champion, the IT Manager, needs to convince the CFO and the Head of Operations of its value. When you give the IT Manager detailed ROI calculations, case studies of similar companies, and a clear narrative on how the software will streamline operations and reduce costs, you empower them to make a strong case internally.

Empowering your champions is a vital step in ensuring your solution is adopted and advocated for within the organization. With the buying center mapped out, stakeholders engaged through multithreading, and champions enabled, you are well on your way to driving successful B2B sales. 

You don’t have to navigate buying center alignment alone

We've equipped you with the why and how of buying center alignment. Now it's up to you to implement all that knowledge. If you need guidance on how to do that within your organization, we'll be happy to start you on your journey!

The strategies outlined in this post, paired with a powerful tool like emlen, can equip your team with the insights and capabilities to navigate any buying center with confidence.

Understanding the buying center in B2B is just one part of the overall customer journey. Creating a broader customer journey map will give your teams a 360-degree view, and emlen can help with that.

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