The Single Buyer Model: A Dangerous Road Towards Competitive B2B Marketing and Sales


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This eBook explores how the single buyer model that has been used for targeting by marketing and sales in no longer adequate. Evidence suggests that B2B organizations must explore predictive buyer modeling and new forms of target buyer modeling.

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The Single Buyer Model: A Dangerous Road Towards Competitive B2B Marketing and Sales

  1. 1. The Single Buyer Model A Dangerous Road TowardsCompetitive B2B Marketing and Sales by Tony Zambito Chief Buyerologist © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 1 Buyerology
  2. 2. Copyright NoticesThe Single Buyer Model: A Dangerous Road Towards Competitive B2B Marketingand SalesCopyright 2012 by Buyerology and Goal Centric Management, Inc., All rightsreserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or byany means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or byany information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing fromthe publisher. Requests for permission or further information should beaddressed to Tony Zambito at: © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 2
  3. 3. Legal NoticesWhile all attempts have been made to verify information provided in thispublication, neither the author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility forerrors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. This publicationis not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice. The Publisherwants to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to varyingstate and/or local laws or regulations. All users are advised to retain competentcounsel to determine what state and/or local laws or regulations may apply tothe users particular business.The purchaser or reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use ofthese materials and information. Adherence to all applicable laws andregulations, both federal and state and local, governing professional licensing,business practices, advertising and all other aspects of doing business in theUnited States or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the purchaseror reader. The author and Publisher assume no responsibility or liabilitywhatsoever on the behalf of any purchaser or reader of thesematerials. Any perceived slights of specific people or organizations isunintentional.Copyright 2012 Buyerology and Goal Centric Management, Inc. All rightsreserved. | 1-888-972-8937 © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 3
  4. 4. Many B2B Marketers today are faced with the daunting tasks ofconnecting with buyers in new ways and using new mediums that are stillin infancy. New tactical approaches have been introduced at a rapid rateand some old ideas repurposed with new labels – all in an effort to findthe ever flowing fountain of gaining buyer attention. The shelf-lifeexpectancy of some of the new approaches is yet to be known; makinginvestment and resource decisions for leaders in B2B Marketing a roadfilled with risks. For many of these new approaches, the foundation ofthinking is still directed towards the single buyer model that has been thestandard way of thinking for several decades. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 4
  5. 5. Evidence is building that the standardized focus on a single buyer modelhas major disadvantages: depictions have lacked in the reality of the realworld today, they are narrowly focused on messaging to one buyer orrole, it is an over simplification of marketing and selling to a buyer, theyare created with little research, and are routinely ignored by sellingteams today. These disadvantages are overshadowing the higher-costand dangers of the single buyer model used in ways where missteps arebeing made in overall buyer strategy. These missteps resulting insignificant loss of marketing dollars and waste of valuable yet limitedresources. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 5
  6. 6. How Did We Get Here?The single buyer model had worked well right up to the advent of theInternet and email. That’s when the barriers started falling down like theBerlin Wall at the end of the cold war. Up until then, all the power ofinformation was held in the hands of the supplier. And in most cases,there was a single buyer target that needed the closely held information. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 6
  7. 7. Complex buying was an arduous task assigned to one decision-maker andsellers did all they could to target that one most important buyer –including bringing coffee and donuts. Marketing played the role ofsupplying information in literature form and focused on advertising.Sales role was to target the single buyer. Sales training was all geared totrain sellers how to persuade the single buyer and in the 1980’s westarted to see models of how to determine the psyche of the single buyer– was he or she an amiable or an analytical? © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 7
  8. 8. The single buyer model is still the major face of the buyer in many B2Borganizations. Evidence suggests that this singular picture of the buyer iscracking like an old oil painting found in an attic: It made sense for many years. After all we are talking about the buyerand that is the focus of marketing and sales. On the surface, the profilingof a buyer target seems like an easy fix. In this new age of social andnewly emerging forms of networks – it is no longer an easy fix. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 8
  9. 9.  Emerging is buyer networks extending beyond our traditional views ofthe buyer. New technologies, social and Enterprise 2.0 as examples, havecompletely erased the barrier to information and allow buyer networksto operate as one and to weigh-in on purchase decisions. Buying has become more complex since a key factor in buyernetworks and the ecosystems they support are interdependent. Meaningmore parties participating and more validation is occurring in thepurchase decision-making. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 9
  10. 10.  The tools of the single buyer model are no longer effective. Sales inparticular at the frontline routinely discard sales enablement tools givento them by marketing according to recent IDC research. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 10
  11. 11. What Are The Dangers?Continuing a narrow focus on the single buyer model is a dangerous pathfor B2B Marketing. Evidence points to major disadvantages occurring.First, with a focus only on the single buyer model, businesses risk findingtheir organization being excluded from a buyer’s network and not seen asan integral part of the buyer’s ecosystem. This is a heavy price to pay ifyou are indeed outside of the network and not an ecosystem player. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 11
  12. 12. Second, the use of the single buyer model has proven to be fraught withshortcomings. They can best be characterized as only helpful today butnot revealing. Several executives I interviewed in the last six months of2011 are saying it best: “What we’ve learned is that buyer personas, building tools for sales, creating lots of content, and etc. don’t meet the mark in today’s competitive market we are in – we need to know more.” © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 12
  13. 13. “Our marketing department created marketing material that targeted a specific role in our industry and they rolled out it out with all the fanfare you would expect. Let me just say everybody had a piece a cake and the party was over that quickly.”Third, the research connection has been lost in the conversation. Whilewe are seeing a rise in predictive analytics, companies are yet lackingprofoundly in qualitative buyer behavior modeling. This is important dueto the evidence which suggests that the introduction of new technologiesand networks are changing buying behaviors rapidly. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 13
  14. 14. Fourth, companies are experiencing missed opportunities. Whenmarketing and sales operations have a singular focus on one buyer, it islike having horse blinders on. There is much swirling around the buyerand their buyer network. If the company doesn’t seem to “get it” interms of what is going on from a network standpoint, then they areunlikely to be privy to other opportunities. More from the voice of asenior director of global marketing: © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 14
  15. 15. More from the voice of a senior director of global marketing: “We did this whole campaign around the CFO. Yes, we even did a buyer persona. Only to find out we could never talk to a CFO and that they were not the right buyer!” © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 15
  16. 16. Fifth, the use of a single buyer model has misdirected focus towardstargets that have always been there and has even backfired. They areproblematic in today’s world as they are fraught with many built-inassumptions that were developed over the years. The risk here is thatbuyer requirements and the very nature of the buyer have changed.Here’s the voice of a senior level sales executive articulating this point: © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 16
  17. 17. “After the first year of joining this company, I began to realize therewas a disconnect between sales and our customers. What occurredto me is that our customers have become highly educated folks andwere of a different background of let’s say fifteen years ago. Thedisconnect is that our sales force hasn’t kept pace with this change.” © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 17
  18. 18. Is There A Better Way?For many executives today in B2B leadership positions, there are threeconstant clouds twirling around their heads: the lack of insight aboutbuyers, they are faced with tremendous uncertainty about the directionto steer their organization, and they lack the ability to predict as well asforecast into the near as well as far future. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 18
  19. 19. The better way points towards providing clues to disperse these cloudsbefore the rain extinguishes any hope they had. There are several waysthat I believe can give businesses the insight they need to respond to theever changing buyer of today: Engage in predictive buyer modeling that models the behavioraltrends of buyers – a need that aligns with the fast pace of change © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 19
  20. 20.  Connect predictive buyer modeling to predictive analytics toilluminate a 360 degree view of buyers Balance market and buyer research investments to include qualitativeresearch along with quantitative research Utilize target buyer modeling as a gateway to understand and modelfast emerging buyer networks and buyer ecosystem dynamics © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 20
  21. 21.  Develop robust B2B oriented Business Buyergraphics based onpurchasing behavior that extend beyond buyer personas, demographics,and firmographics and serves as the triborough bridge betweenmarketing, sales, and strategy Develop a renewed focus on descriptive buyer segmentation based onpurchase behaviors © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 21
  22. 22. The single buyer target model no longer works in this new complexworld. We are confronted with a world where buyers no longer actindependent of others in decision-making and are dependent uponnetworks and ecosystems. The imperative for senior B2B executives is toadapt to change and make the tough decisions that come with change. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 22
  23. 23. Modeling the behaviors, decisions, and buying scenarios of buyers andtheir networks give leaders what they seem to be asking for: deeperunderstanding of buyer behavior, how to attract more buyers, knowwhich direction to lead their organization, and keep the ship floatingupright while at the same time plugging the leaks. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved 23
  24. 24. About Tony Zambito Tony is the originator of buyer persona research and creation. Today, Tony is breaking new ground in establishing Buyerology℠ as the new qualitative research means of understanding buyer behaviors and choices to make better informed decisions. A seasoned corporate senior executive with Fortune 100 firms and now entrepreneur since founding Goal Centric in 2002, Tony offers the rare combination of both executive experience and unique buyer insight approaches. He is the author of his widely read blog Buyerology Now Contact: and keynote speaker on the topic of how changing buyer behaviors are impacting business today. Tony has helped Fortune 100 such as FedEx, HP, and Reed Elsevier to make informed decisions using Twitter: @tonyzambito buyer personas, buyer insight, and Business Buyergraphics™. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing. LinkedIn: Tony Zambito Tony and his wife Cindy with their two daughters returned to the east Blog: Buyerology Now coast after nearly a dozen years living through the boom and bust of Silicon Valley. He is an avid jazz fan as well as jazz percussionist and youWeb: just may catch Tony playing with his band My Cousin Tone’ somewhere on the east coast. © 2012 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 24