The ultimate visual guide on how to sell to B2B [Part 3]

Sales is hard and time-consuming. For a newbie, it’s more like dark magic. In this post, we're focusing on buyer roles.

Sales is hard and time-consuming. For a newbie, it’s more like dark magic. Everyone likes when it is done well, but no-one seems to know exactly how. We’ve been lucky to get advice and tips from top sales people as well as amazing companies, such as Splunk for example. Last week we launched a new template to show guidelines how to build and structure your sales pipeline (and why on earth you need to do all the steps), how to structure your team around it and much more. This week we are writing longer about buyer roles in every company.

The B2B buyer roles.

Who do you sell to? To developer. To project manager. To product manager. Quite often this is our answer. And usually, it’s the wrong one. Your ideal customer is a person who has a problem, knows that s/he has it, is looking for a solution, has or can get a budget and has a makeshift solution in place. A lot of requirements, isn’t it?

Companies, unless you are dealing with early stage startups, are complicated. The people using products are not the ones buying them. You’d notice that in each company there would be someone who loves what you do, someone who will challenge everything about it, someone to always say no and so on. It’s like crawling through a spider web with no map, tools and instructions.

Buyer role matrix helps you map people and the roles for each sale making sure you are talking to the right people.

Economic buyer.

Economic buyer is the one with money and who will actually get you paid. Without making sure there is a budget available and getting the right person on board, you won’t close your sale. Sometimes the economic buyer is a team lead, sometimes it’s the IT manager or perhaps the CIO.


This is the person who just loves your product. The person who promotes it within the company whenever possible. Your job is to keep this person motivated. Bring them on board, make them special and help any way you can.

Technical buyer.

Ever been in a sales meeting with someone throwing dozens of questions about how exactly the product works, how it’s built and secured? Please get acquainted, that’s your technical buyer. Each company wants to make sure that the tools they use are secured, will scale and work well. Your role is to know who the person is in the company and make sure you have the needed answers. They don’t hate you and silently they might even already love the product. They just want to be impressed. If you are not the techie kind yourself, bring someone with you who is.


Gatekeeper is the naysayer who is always busy and hard to get to. The people with whom it is always hardest to get the meeting with but they play important role part of the decision-making process. Know who they are and find a way to reach them. Evangelist is your helping hand.


And then, there are those who will actually use your product.

5 steps to create and use the buyer role matrix

  • Fill out the roles for a company you are selling to from your sales pipeline
  • Identify gaps that you still don’t know
  • For the filled ones, research each person in detail online. Things you would want to know ahead:
    • Who they are, their role and what they do?
    • Background, what have they done before. What is their experience?
    • Which social media platforms they use? What do they share and talk about?
  • Reach out and get a meeting. This is about gathering information and getting to the next meeting. Things you want to find out include:
    • How do they work?
    • What tools they use today?
    • What challenges they face?
    • What works well, what do they love?
    • How they research a product or service before making a decision?
    • How do they make decisions?
    • Ask them about the missing gaps you have in your matrix, who fill the roles? Who else should you be talking to?

You’ll likely think up many more questions tailored to your industry, but this boiler plate will get you going.

When do you know that you have enough information? When you start predicting what your potential buyers will say next.

Open the template to create your matrix


  1. Make sure that your sales team represents all necessary roles. If you miss any, your sales cycle will be broken and it will take a long time to close each sale.
  2. Build your sales funnel and categorize your customers in which stage are they. This way you will have a checklist on what needs to happen to close the sale. Also, you will learn how much time it takes for you to move customers to the next phase in the funnel.
  3. Before getting into sales talks, map contacts from each company into buyer roles. If you identify empty gaps, you’ll know which people are missing from conversations. Having everyone identified and looped will ensure that your sales are smooth and fast.

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