B2B decision-maker influencers: 24 categories involved in purchase decisions

BarbaraInfluencer identification, Influencer marketing, influencer relations

Lots of people play a part in a typical B2B purchase decision and naturally, identifying them is an important activity for any influencer relations program. You need to know who they are, including their name, job and location. First, you have to figure out who they are. That’s no so easy.

The big temptation is to start by asking the primordial question, “Who’s influencing the decision-makers at my accounts?”, and then jumping right to the obvious answers.

Not so fast!

It pays to back up one step. Start by thinking about the different kinds of people likely to be involved in purchase decisions for your products and services. This exercise helps you form a more complete picture of the influencer landscape. It also helps you avoid falling into ruts. This step encourages you to think about new types of influencers that may have emerged in your market and types of influencers your company tends to overlook.

In my case, I use the 24 categories of influencers from the Influencer Marketing book (page 55) with some additions for some clients. Generally, this basic list covers the ground and more:

Authors and management thinkers
Bloggers (and microbloggers)
Business and trade journalists
Buyers groups, purchasing lists and procurement authorities
Commentators and other individuals
Complementary partners
Conferences and events
Consumers and consumer groups
Customer firms
Financial analysts
Government agencies and regulators
Individual and niche consultants
Industry analysts
Industry bodies, forums and federations
Internal influencers
Management consultancies
Online forums
Peers (role-based, industry-based)
Specialty consultancies
Standards bodies
Systems Integrators
VARs, distributors and similar channel partners
Venture capitalists and investors

Get the most out of this exercise by concentrating on the types of influencers likely to have an effect on decision-makers during the actual decision process. Influence can be exerted directly — one-to-one, influencer to decision-makers — or indirectly. Indirect entails exerting influence through intermediaries.