CMO Coffee Talk ‘Aha! Moment’: The New Buying Committee Wears … Skinny Jeans?!

3 minutes
Jan 31, 2022
Digital Marketing

Editor's Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,300 CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz...

Editor’s Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,300 CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing co-hosts these dynamic, illuminating conversations with 6sense CMO Latané Conant. 


The future of B2B sales and marketing is — yes — skinny jeans!

But before we can talk about our slim-denimed future — which includes some fascinating new research and insights shared at a recent CMO Coffee Talk session — we must start with how we got talking about casual legwear in the first place. 

Buying Committees Before Skinny Jeans 

Firstly, let’s start with a big thank you to Brent Adamson and his book The Challenger Customer for, several years ago upon the book’s first publishing run, formally articulated the idea of the B2B buying committee. 

This committee of course was nothing new, but as he did with The Challenger Sale, Brent and team took a concept and embedded it with rigorous research that both brought it to life and made it clear this was how we (as B2B sellers) were going to successfully build consensus and win deals moving forward. 

In essence, there are multiple people involved in a buying decision, with varying levels of authority and influence. The better you understand who they are and what they care about, the more consistently you can build consensus amongst them that a singular problem is worth solving. 

And many historical buying committee models have focused on individual roles, needs, preferences — mostly from a business and function context. 

Creating An Experience Customers Crave 

New research from TrustRadius, Gartner, Forrester, and others adds a new, critical layer of understanding to the buying committee mix: generational differences

This is particularly important based on new evidence that up to 60% of B2B tech buyers in 2021 were millennials.   

Boomers?  Just 6%. 

And what do millennial and Gen Z professionals crave in the new buying experience? 

  • Self-service research 
  • Hands-on product experience (before they buy) 
  • Peer reviews over analyst recommendations 
  • Transparency and simplicity in pricing 
  • Relatable brand essence 

And that’s just the beginning. These insights have implications for an increased digital spend, brand alignment, trust development, and much more. 

For example, Gartner research already shows that B2B buyers spend only 17% of their buying cycle time meeting with potential suppliers. And time spent with an actual sales rep is just 5% to 6%. The rest is online. 

“Skinny Jeans” is the code name for one company’s internal project to drive cross-functional alignment towards better serving this changing buying committee and delivering a world class experience — from prospect, to customer, to advocate with a mission to create an experience customers crave (a la skinny jeans). 

Even the short bullet list above implies some significant changes in how we “show up” for prospects and customers — how content is made available, how we gate (or ungate) assets, how and when buyers need or want to speak with your sales team, and much more. 

If you’re in the CMO Coffee Talk community, there’s much more behind this research shared in a presentation in the #Swipe-File Slack channel. 

Coming Up on CMO Coffee Talk… 

In our next CMO Coffee Talk meet-up (which is just around the corner!), we’ll deep-dive into community management best practices. What foundational requirements and investments can help communities thrive? How do you keep them active and relevant? And what should you avoid at all costs?  Find out soon! 

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