Buyer Process Maps are a guide to understand how executives make purchase decisions that will lead your team to victory.

Executives are changing the way they make purchase decisions. Some are altering their evaluation criteria. Others are involving more people in the decision-making process. Some are changing their preferences for how they want to engage with your sales team. Decentralized decision-making is becoming centralized, and centralized decisions are now being made regionally.


Failure to exactly understand how executives are buying leaves your team without a plan for victory. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. Leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access a revenue growth methodology to hit your number quarter after quarter, and year after year.


Whether they win or lose, the KU Jayhawks always walk onto the field with a plan for victory. Coach Bill Self provides his team a play that gives his team the highest probability of success to win. Coach Bill Self has a career winning percentage of .764% by giving his team the right guidance to execute.  Buyer Process Maps are the tool you must give your team to increase their probability of success.  


Most companies invest time and money into buyer personas. This is done to understand your buyers goals and objectives. You then need to also invest in detailed buyer process maps. The purpose is to understand the macro and micro questions your buyer is asking themselves.


Sales enablement tools can’t get a cursory review. These are career making or breaking decisions. Normally these programs are some of the largest investments the company will make. The amount of time and effort company’s spend thrashing through these implementations is staggering. Consider the potential impact of a 10% selling time change. It can equate to gaining or losing 1-2 months of selling time.



Develop Internal Buyer Process Maps (BPMs) before launching another technology improvement.


Stop kidding yourself when you say you involved the sales team. Asking a couple of sales reps does not constitute understanding the buyer. Having one sales manager on the implementation team is just checking the box. Failed implementations of enablement programs will cause you to miss the number. Eventually it will cost you your job.


Let’s say you’re implementing a company-wide communication program next year. What is the problem we’re trying to solve? How will the user buyer benefit from the solution? How do you get the user buyer to adopt the solution you’re providing?


Buyer insights


Start with the user buyer and work your way backward. User buyer examples:


  • Sales reps by vertical
  • Sales Managers (all levels)
  • Strategic & Key Account Managers
  • Technical sales reps or SME’s
  • Product Management,
  • Product Development
  • Product Marketing
  • Professional Services
  • Same list above but by geography
  • Etc.


I’ll use the old term, slow down to go faster. Doing the homework upfront avoids the automation implementation disaster. In most cases, the value is never realized. It means you can’t explain the return on the investment you just made.




Consider the following forms of discovery before starting your solution selection:


  • Buyer Interviews & surveys (everyone listed above) – what do they need, how will they use the tools, what problem are you solving for?
  • Loss analysis – how would the solution have helped avoid lost opportunities?
  • Executive Interviews & surveys – most implementations fail based on inadequate leadership support and adoption. How will the leadership team lead?
  • Metrics – impact on winning more deals, closing deals faster, increasing our speed to market, etc. If you can’t measure it why start?
  • Mystery shops – what is the team utilizing today to help increase their competitive position. How is this new solution going to be adopted and why?
  • Expert panel – the classic buy in from the team. These are the experts or top 10% of the team. If the experts adopt it, others will follow.
  • Prototype – walk before running approach. If you built the solution yourself, you would start with a few features then expand. Too many bells and whistles too soon add additional tattoos to our user buyer.


Benefits (Social Business Communication case study) if executed correctly:


  • Time or employee productivity (15%) – for sales this is huge. If you’re like most companies you’ve corrupted your sales role. You’re probable at approx. 40% selling time or 800 hours/year/rep. What would 120 hours/year/rep of selling do for your company?
  • 8% increase in the number of deals/year – multiply your total number of deals by 8%. If you had 8% more deals would you make the number?
  • Sales cycle length reduced by 22% – take your current sales cycle length and reduce it by 22%. How many more deals would that be per rep per year?




The difficulty with most implementations is the numbers are usually negative.


You’re probably in the middle of, half through or considering similar solutions. Maybe it’s Marketing Automation (Eloqua, Marketo, etc.), or communication/collaboration programs (Yammer, Jive, Chatter, etc.). The question is; are you going to be another statistic?


You’re in the driver’s seat. If you’re not familiar with buyer process maps, click here and learn more from my colleague Scott Gruher about how not having a BPM are a leading cause for opportunities to go dark.


Download the Guide to Mapping the Buying Process. To access a steady stream of tools like this, sign-up for a MySBI account to receive regular notifications and personalize your content preferences.


If you would like help with your buyer research, come see the SBI leadership team in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio typically results in getting 3 months of work done in 3 days. The immersive sessions accelerate everything, dramatically reducing the time it takes to diagnose a problem, develop a solution, and create an implementation plan.


The Studio Executive Briefing Center


Photo Source: SD Dirk, Wikimedia Commons Coach Bill Self and Kansas Jayhawks basketball players against Iowa State


John Staples

Leads teams of highly qualified experts, all relentless in their pursuit of helping you make your number.

John is the global leader of SBI’s account management business unit. As such, he and his team help clients across 19 verticals drive top line growth and operational efficiency in sales and marketing.


John’s marketing, sales and product expertise span a multichannel strategic approach. He has an unyielding focus on strategic and key account development, which enables strategic alignment between all functional team members in order to reduce acquisition cost and increase lifetime value.


His broad experience in sales, marketing, product and engineering allows him to bring a unique problem solving approach to his team and clients. As he has discovered through decades of experience, clients are often distracted by the symptoms of a larger problem and overlook the root cause of it.


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