What is a Buyer Map?
A buyer map, which can also be called a relationship map, is a visual representation of every possible stakeholder or influencer that might somehow impact the outcome of your deal. It’s basically an org chart, but with much more meaningful and actionable data for a sales person.
What kind of information should a buyer map contain?
- Job Title
- Path to LinkedIn Profile
- Support Status (Supporter, Opponent, or Neutral).
- Decision Status (Influencer, Evaluator, Economic Buyer, etc.)
- Contact Status (Contacted, Not Contacted, Engaged, etc.)
Do I need a buyer map?
Building and maintaining a buyer map is a best practice when there are multiple stakeholders or influencers, across multiple departments, in your deal. While it’s sometimes easy to keep all of the players in your head, it’s not efficient nor effective. Finally, when your manager or a member of your leadership team begins asking you questions about your deal, it’s always easier to explain where the deal stands when you have a visual to reference.
When should I build a buyer map?
This answer really depends on the type of rep you are and possibly how well your year is going. If you’re slaying quota and have more deals than you know what to do with in your pipeline, it’s probably best to build buyer maps for your largest opportunities and call it a day because your focus should be on successfully controlling sales cycles as opposed to creating more pipeline.
Now, if you’re just starting out your year or are tasked with building out a new territory, then it’s also a best practice to build buyer maps for your larger prospective accounts, in advance of a real opportunity being on the table, so you and your SDR can come up with an account engagement strategy by role. We’re going to cover best practices around crafting account engagement strategies in another post but, in general, you should look at each person on your map and decide what messaging you want to lead with and through which channel (i.e. phone call, email, LinkedIn, etc.).
What is “Support Status” and why do I need it?
Support Status is the label you assign to a person in your buyer map that indicates whether the person is supporting your initiative/product/service or not. There are three statuses:
- Supporter – You have no doubt that this person is on your side and, when asked, will recommend your product or service.
- Opponent – This person clearly does not support the purchase of your product or service and is likely supporting a competitor (external vendor or internally developed solution).
- Neutral – You don’t know whether or not the person is supporting you.
Obviously, the goal here is to get as many supporters as possible. The “Neutral” status is, by far, the most dangerous of the three. If I’ve identified an opponent, while that’s bad, at least I know where they stand and can plan my strategy accordingly. If I have gaps in relationships and have a lot of folks marked as being Neutral, then my deal strategy is essentially a shot in the dark as I have no clue how those people are impacting my deal outcome.
Visualizing the support status in a buyer map is the easiest way to identify gaps in relationships and the most effective way to plan out your relationship strategy. In the screenshot from the Forecastable platform below, we indicate support status with colors (Green – Supporter, Gray – Neutral, Red – Opponent).