And, as we have “road tested” the data from the latest wave of our survey of global enterprise buyers at virtual events and client workshops over the last two months, those on the frontlines of enterprise sales have validated our finding.
The consensus seems to be that the number of people making up a typical buying team has been trending upwards for some time, but the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has generally accelerated this and caused another spike upwards.
It’s not hard to see why. The large-scale shift to remote working has forced even the most reticent of organizations to accelerate their digital transformation projects and a sizeable tech purchase is simply too significant to be left to one individual.
After all, tech purchases are complex, with a lot of moving parts, and our data suggests that buying team size actually increases with the complexity of the purchase. For example, more than 50% of organizations making a Cloud infrastructure purchase would use a buying team that would number greater than 15 people.
But it isn’t just about sheer size. Knowing that a buying team will probably contain more than 14 people is one thing, but you also need to know who those people are on a human level if you want to build a relationship with them in a wholly digital world.
You need to ask: Who are they? What are their interests? What methods of communication do they favour? What is their job title? What are the responsibilities of their role? Why are they on this buying team? What problem are they here to solve?
In order to answer those questions you need to go deep. Basic account intelligence is relatively easy to come by and your account team will be a repository of historic knowledge of the account, but that will only partially answer the questions above.
For a complete picture, you need to engage specialists in account insight who can tell you who you need to talk to, how you must engage with them, and, crucially, what your competitors are saying to that same account.
Once you have identified who’s who, the next step is to tailor your communications accordingly.
Each buying team is unique, of course, but these are the five cohorts you will need to tailor your messaging for:
Most major tech purchases will usually be led by the CIO, the CTO, or members of their teams. And if they’re not leading it’s a safe bet that either team will be very prominent in the process.
Your communications to them need to be detail-orientated, focussed on the specifics of your solution, show how your solution is demonstrably better than others on the market and be supported by relevant case studies.
However, as well as the detail, it is important to also keep your messaging focussed on how you can help your customer reach their desired end state. The CIO/CTO team are leading their business toward a digital future and it is your job as a vendor to help them envision what that future can look like and, more crucially, provide the steps that will enable them to get there.