What Are The 7 Types Of Buying Roles In B2B Marketing?


In today’s business world, B2B marketing has become increasingly popular and complex. As such, it is important to understand the different buying roles that play a role in this type of marketing. 

There are seven distinct types of buying roles that companies must consider when crafting their B2B marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at each one in detail. 

1. Initiator 

The initiator is the person who first identifies a need within an organization and starts the process for finding a solution. Often times, this person will be responsible for researching potential suppliers and gathering information about them. Once they have identified a suitable supplier, they will then provide their recommendation to others within the organization who can make the final decision. 

2. Influencer 

Influencers are those individuals who are responsible for providing advice and recommendations throughout the purchase process. They may not have any actual decision-making power but they do have an influence on which vendors get selected by offering their opinion on different factors such as price and quality. 

3. User  

Users are those individuals who will be using the product or service being purchased. They are often consulted during the purchasing process as they can provide valuable insights into how well certain products or services will perform once implemented within an organization. 

Users also provide feedback on how well they like certain features or functions that may be offered by various vendors so that decision makers can make more informed decisions when selecting which vendor to go with. 

4. Decider  

Deciders are those individuals who actually make the final purchasing decision within an organization. They look at all of the data provided by influencers, users, and initiators before making their decision based on what is best for their organization as a whole. Deciders usually have plenty of experience in making purchasing decisions and typically have access to resources like financial data and market research that can help them evaluate different options from vendors before making their final choice.   

5. Buyer 

Buyers are those individuals who handle all of the details associated with making a purchase including negotiating prices, arranging payments, coordinating delivery, managing contracts, etc. 

Buyers typically have extensive experience in handling these types of tasks so they can ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible during each step of the process. 

6. Gatekeeper 

Gatekeepers are those individuals who control access to certain areas within an organization or to certain people within it. They typically act as liaisons between buyers and sellers by ensuring that proper protocols are followed during each step of the process while also keeping track of any changes that need to be made along the way if necessary. 

Gatekeepers also help ensure that any potential conflicts between buyers and sellers are kept to a minimum so there is no disruption in communication during negotiations or other stages of purchase transactions between organizations involved.   

7. Approver 

Approvers are responsible for approving all purchases made by buyers before payment is made to vendors for goods or services rendered. Approvers usually review invoices from vendors alongside other relevant documents before signing off on them so there is no mistake in what was agreed upon prior to payment being made from buyers’ accounts. 

The Future Of B2B Buying Roles: Trends And Predictions

Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the way businesses buy products and services. As technology advances and customer expectations continue to evolve, B2B buyers are becoming more sophisticated in their needs and wants.

Changing Landscape of B2B Buying Roles 

The traditional model of B2B buying is changing rapidly due to rapid technological innovation. Many vendors are now offering additional services such as analytics, insights and tools that help buyers make better purchasing decisions. 

This shift is causing buyers to move away from the traditional customer-vendor relationship in favor of one that is more collaborative. Buyers are increasingly taking on roles that involve not just purchasing but also researching products or services and making informed decisions based on data analysis. 

Drivers of Change 

The rise of digitalization has played a major role in redefining B2B buying roles. Digital technologies have enabled businesses to access vast amounts of data regarding potential customers and suppliers, allowing them to make more informed decisions about who they should do business with. 

Additionally, digital platforms have made it easier for buyers to compare products or services offered by different vendors in order to find the best deal for their company’s needs. 

Implications for Businesses 

As mentioned above, these changes have had a profound impact on how businesses purchase goods and services. Companies need to be aware that buyers are no longer looking for simple transactions but rather an ongoing partnership where both parties benefit from each other’s expertise and resources. 

To remain competitive, businesses need to develop strategies that reflect this new reality—including developing relationships with potential buyers before entering negotiations as well as having knowledgeable sales reps who can provide valuable advice throughout the entire process.  

Best Practices For Engaging With B2B Buying Roles

The best way to engage with target buyers in a B2B setting is to understand their roles in the purchasing decision-making process. Doing so ensures that you are able to create a positive experience for all stakeholders involved. 

Decision Makers 

The decision maker is the person who has ultimate authority when it comes to making purchasing decisions. They are typically senior-level employees or executives, and have a direct impact on the success of your business. 

To effectively engage with them, it’s important to focus on providing value by offering relevant insights, understanding their goals and objectives, and addressing any concerns they may have. 

Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of their time constraints and make sure that any meetings or conversations are focused and productive. 


Influencers are often mid-level employees who have an impact on the decision-making process but do not have final say. They can provide valuable feedback about your product or service, as well as insight into what other stakeholders in the organization care about. 

When engaging with influencers, it’s important to stay abreast of industry trends and share relevant news items or reports that could inform their decisions. 

Additionally, be sure to include them in conversations around product updates or changes so they know exactly what is happening at all times.  

End Users 

End users are those who will actually use the product or service being purchased by the organization. It’s important to ensure that they feel heard throughout the process so that any issues or challenges can be identified early on.

Be sure to ask questions about how they plan on using your product or service, as well as what features they would like included in order for it meet their needs better. Additionally, make sure you follow up regularly to check in on how things are going and address any challenges they may be facing quickly and efficiently.  

Maximizing The Effectiveness Of B2B Marketing Through A Deep Understanding Of Buying Roles

A deep understanding of buying roles is essential in order to maximize the effectiveness of B2B marketing. There are a number of different buying roles that need to be taken into account when crafting a successful B2B marketing strategy.

1. The Initiator 

The initiator is the person who first identifies a need for a product or service within an organization. They are typically very knowledgeable about the industry and have a clear vision for what they want from the purchase. 

It’s important to understand who the initiator is so that you can tailor your messaging accordingly. 

2. The Influencer 

The influencer is someone who has an influence on the decision-making process, but isn’t necessarily part of it. They may provide feedback or suggestions about potential purchases, and it’s important to understand their role in order to effectively market your product or service. 

Understanding their needs and wants will help you craft an effective message that resonates with them.  

3. The Decision Maker 

The decision maker is ultimately responsible for making the final purchasing decision. It’s important to understand their needs and wants as well as their level of knowledge about the industry in order to determine which message would be most effective for them. 

Additionally, you should try to identify any potential objections they may have in order to address them before they become an issue in the purchasing process. 

The Role Of Personas In Understanding B2B Buying Roles

When it comes to understanding B2B buying roles, personas are an essential tool. A persona is a detailed characterization of a specific type of buyer, and it can be used to gain insights into how customers make purchasing decisions.

By understanding the different types of buyers in a given industry, businesses can tailor their sales and marketing strategies accordingly.

What is a Persona? 

A persona is a composite representation of a buyer that takes into account factors like demographics, psychographics, goals, motivations, and buying habits. 

It helps businesses better understand their target audience by providing insights about why certain buyers buy what they do and how they go about making their decisions.

Personas can even provide clues as to where buyers might go for advice or information when making their purchases. Ultimately, personas are invaluable tools for crafting effective marketing campaigns that resonate with customers. 

The Benefits of Using Personas 

Using personas in B2B sales and marketing has numerous benefits. For one thing, it allows businesses to better understand their target customers so they can craft messaging that speaks directly to them. 

Additionally, personas allow businesses to create targeted campaigns that address the needs and wants of specific customer segments. This helps ensure that messages reach the right people at the right time, which increases the chances of success for any given campaign. 

Finally, using personas gives businesses a clearer picture of who makes up their customer base and what kinds of products or services they might be interested in buying from them. 

The Impact Of Technology On B2B Buying Roles

As technology advances, it’s changing the way businesses buy and sell products and services. The impact of technology on B2B buying roles is significant, with an increasing number of buyers and sellers now relying on technology to facilitate transactions. 

Researching Products & Services 

One of the biggest changes in B2B buying roles is that buyers are increasingly relying on technology when researching products and services. 

According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, up to 87% of respondents said they use online resources such as social media sites, industry forums, and third-party reviews when researching potential purchases. 

Technology has made it easier for buyers to access information about potential purchases quickly and easily, which has enabled them to make more informed decisions about what they want to buy. 

This trend has also been seen in other studies as well, such as one by Salesforce which found that nearly 90% of business buyers conduct research online before making a purchase decision. 

This shows that buyers are increasingly turning to digital channels for information when researching products or services they’re interested in buying. 

Reaching Out To Potential Customers 

Technology has also changed the way sellers reach out to potential customers. With the rise of social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others it’s now easier than ever for sellers to target potential customers who may be interested in their product or service offering. 

By leveraging these platforms sellers can quickly identify prospects who may be interested in their offerings and reach out directly with tailored messaging that speaks directly to their needs.  

In addition, automated email marketing systems have made it easier for sellers to send targeted messages en masse without having to manually compose individual emails for each prospect. 

Automated email systems allow sellers to craft targeted messages based on buyer behavior or interests which can then be sent en masse via email campaigns or newsletters allowing them to reach large numbers of prospects efficiently and effectively.  

The Importance Of Aligning Sales And Marketing Efforts With B2B Buying Roles

The B2B buying process is a complex and delicate dance. It involves multiple stakeholders, each with their own needs and demands. As such, it is important to align your sales and marketing strategies with the buyer roles in order to maximize success.

Understanding Buyer Roles 

In order to properly align your sales and marketing strategies with buyer roles, you need to first understand who those buyer roles are. According to research conducted by Forrester Consulting, there are six core B2B buyer roles: Influencer, Decision Maker, User/Buyer/Purchaser (UBP), Champion/Advocate, Gatekeeper/Reviewer/Approver (GRA), and Observer. 

Each of these roles has its own distinct set of responsibilities that must be taken into consideration when crafting your sales strategy. For instance, UBPs are typically responsible for making sure a purchase will fit within budget constraints. 

Champions/Advocates must ensure that the product or service meets their company’s specific needs; GRAs must make sure that any purchase meets legal requirements; Observers may have insight into how well a product or service will perform in certain areas; Influencers may have an opinion on which products or services should be used; and Decision Makers ultimately decide which products or services will be purchased.  

Aligning Your Sales & Marketing Strategies with Buyer Roles 

Now that you know who the different buyer roles are, it’s time to start thinking about how you can use them to your advantage when creating your sales strategy. 

By understanding the needs of each individual role in the buying process, and then tailoring both your sales pitch and messaging accordingly, you can increase conversion rates dramatically as well as improve customer satisfaction levels overall. 

For example, if you’re targeting Decision Makers, you might want to focus on emphasizing how cost-effective your solution is compared to competitors’ offerings. On the other hand, if you’re targeting UBPs you might want to focus more on demonstrating why investing in your solution will save money over time, perhaps by lowering operational costs or increasing productivity levels.  

No matter what role you’re targeting, it’s important to remember that no two buyers are alike—so make sure that your messaging is tailored appropriately for each individual role in order to maximize conversion rates and optimize customer satisfaction levels overall. 

Case Studies: Real-world Examples Of B2B Buying Roles

A key part of understanding B2B buying roles is to study how these roles play out in real-world situations. By examining the behaviors and actions of organizations who have successfully navigated the process, companies can gain valuable insights into how they can use their own buying roles to optimize their purchasing efforts. 

Case Study #1: Johnson & Johnson and its Influencers 

Johnson & Johnson is one of the world’s largest healthcare companies and has been successful in leveraging its influencers within the industry. The company has developed a wide network of contacts throughout the pharmaceutical industry and uses these contacts to help guide decisions on how best to purchase materials from suppliers. 

Its team of influencers also helps Johnson & Johnson stay abreast of new developments in the industry and keep an eye on competitor pricing strategies. 

Case Study #2: Apple and its Decision Makers 

Apple is well known for being at the forefront when it comes to technology innovation. It is also extremely successful at using its decision makers to make sure that it gets what it needs when it needs it. By utilizing a team of experienced buyers, Apple ensures that all aspects of purchasing are taken into consideration before any decisions are made. 

This includes price comparison, quality assurance, delivery timeframes, supplier reliability, and more. As a result, Apple consistently gets not only what it needs but also what it wants—all while staying ahead of its competitors in terms of innovation and customer experience. 

Case Study #3: Microsoft and its Buyers 

Microsoft is another example of a company that has perfected the art of buying for business purposes. Microsoft utilizes a team comprised solely of buyers who are responsible for finding suppliers who meet certain criteria, namely quality assurance standards as well as competitive pricing structures, and then negotiating with said suppliers to ensure that Microsoft is getting what it needs at the lowest possible cost point. 

In addition to sourcing suppliers for materials or services, Microsoft’s buyers are tasked with keeping track of current market trends so that they can capitalize on opportunities when they arise as well as identify potential areas where costs may be reduced by switching vendors or renegotiating existing contracts.  

Common Challenges In B2B Buying Processes And How To Overcome Them

Business-to-business (B2B) buying processes can be complex and time-consuming. As a result, there are many challenges associated with them. According to a recent study, buyers of B2B products and services face an average of 10 challenges when making a purchase. 

The most common challenges reported were related to price and product availability, followed closely by delivery times and customer service. Let’s take a look at some of these common challenges and how to overcome them. 

Price Challenges

Price is always an important factor in any purchasing decision, but it is especially important in B2B transactions because of the larger ticket value involved. To overcome price challenges, one must understand the full value that they are getting from their purchase before deciding on the price. 

That means really understanding what features or benefits you will receive and how much those features or benefits are worth to your business. It also means doing research into competitors’ prices and services so that you can make sure you are getting the best deal for your money. 

Product Availability Challenges

Product availability is another common challenge in B2B purchases, as buyers may need specific products that cannot be found easily online or through traditional retailers. To overcome this challenge, buyers should research both online and offline options to identify which vendors can provide the product they need in a timely manner. 

Additionally, buyers should find out if any vendors offer customization services for certain products so that they can get exactly what they need for their business operations. 

Delivery Time Challenges

Delivery time is often one of the most challenging aspects of purchasing goods or services in bulk quantities for businesses. To address this challenge, it is important to have clear communication between buyer and seller regarding delivery timelines upfront so that everyone understands what is expected from each party before committing to the transaction. 

Additionally, having multiple vendors who can provide goods or services quickly can help ensure that orders are delivered on time without sacrificing quality or customer service levels. 

The Future Of B2B Buying Roles: Trends And Predictions

As technology continues to evolve, so do the buying roles of B2B companies. With new trends emerging and shifts in customer preferences, it is important to understand what is happening in the industry.

Current Trends 

The data shows that there are two main trends occurring in the world of B2B buying roles. The first trend is that buyers are more educated than ever before – they have more information at their fingertips and are taking more ownership of their purchasing decisions. 

This means that sales teams need to be prepared to provide detailed product knowledge and demonstrate value beyond price alone. 

The second trend is that buyers are increasingly relying on technology to make their decisions. This includes leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology to gather data, compare offers from multiple suppliers, and generate insights about potential purchases. 

Buyers can also use AI-enabled tools like chatbots to get answers quickly and easily without having direct contact with a salesperson. 

Future Predictions 

As these trends continue to develop, it’s clear that there will be an increased focus on customer experience (CX) when it comes to B2B buying roles. Companies will need to ensure they provide personalized experiences throughout the buyer journey in order to remain competitive and attract customers who value quality over price alone. 

Additionally, businesses should look into using predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms in order to better understand customer needs and anticipate future trends in order for them to stay ahead of the curve in terms of buyer expectations. 

Finally, companies should invest in technologies that enable them to collect data from multiple sources (e.g., market research firms), analyze it quickly, and use it for decision-making purposes in order to gain real-time insights into their customers’ wants and needs. 


As the needs of businesses evolve, so too must the way we market and sell to them. B2B buying roles are in a state of flux, and it’s crucial that sales and marketing teams alike stay abreast of the latest trends. By understanding the various types of buyers and their respective motivations, challenges, and decision-making processes, you can more effectively engage with them at each stage of the buyer’s journey.





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Wasim Jabbar

Hi, I'm Wasim. Startup founder and proud dad of two sons. I've built startups for 15 years and decided to use this blog to share my management and marketing insights with you.

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