This is the seventh in a series of blog posts that provide demand and account-based marketing best practices in honor of the 12 days of Christmas.

Although we won’t be diving into the lyrical meaning behind “seven swans a-swimming ” in this blog post, we will instead share the gift of buying groups. This may be your organization’s greatest revenue gift of all — sales and marketing alignment.

Most B2B purchasing decisions aren’t made by an individual lead, but they’re also not made by an account.  Purchasing decisions are made by a committee of individuals who have come together with shared business needs. Forrester defines this committee as a buying group, and it comprises  decision-makers, influencers, ratifiers, and users.  In fact, our data suggests that 94% of purchasing decisions are made by buying groups.

The challenge is that many organizations haven’t determined how to augment their existing systems to align around buying group needs. For example, many marketing organizations know their buyers are clustered into groups. However, they still leverage leads-based service-level agreements as their primary success metrics. In this scenario, if the organization is focusing on lead volume, it can introduce challenges such as buying group blindness and second-lead syndrome, frustrating sales organizations with high-volume but low-quality at-bats.

Our seventh holiday gift to B2B organizations is the seven must-dos for buying groups. The following must-dos introduce the business requirements and technology categories that organizations must consider to properly implement and measure the impact of buying groups:

  1. Define target market
  2. Create awareness and detect active buying groups
  3. Attract and engage buying group members
  4. Associate and prioritize buying groups
  5. Qualify early-stage opportunities
  6. Validate needs and accelerate opportunities to pipeline
  7. Align solutions and accelerate deals to close 

If you’re a marketer or a sales rep who understands that we must evolve past leads-based measurement and systems and is hoping for the holiday gift of sales and marketing alignment, we offer three pieces of research that define the business requirements around the seven must-dos. Please contact your Forrester account manager or client success manager for more information.

I truly hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!