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Buyer Enablement: The Ultimate Guide

16 Minute Read

What is the buyer journey?
The traditional buyer journey is dead
What is buyer enablement?
What do you need to understand about the B2B buyer journey and buyer enablement?
The buying committee
The jobs buyers need to get done
The types of content you should create to enable your buyers
Buyer enablement Vs. sales enablement – what’s the difference?
How to measure buyer enablement

If you’re selling complex products and services, the likelihood is you’re familiar with:

  • long sales cycles
  • a lack of control over your pipeline
  • prospects dropping out of deals at the last minute for seemingly no reason
  • your prospects ghosting you
  • losing deals to your prospect’s existing suppliers.

You might think this is because your sellers are struggling to sell. In actual fact, studies show it’s more likely because your buyers are struggling to buy.

The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves 6 to 10 decision makers, each armed with 4 or 5 pieces of information they have gathered independently (Gartner). Your buyers have a complex journey to navigate. They need to explore potential solutions to their problem, build a list of requirements, get buy-in from other stakeholders and validate potential suppliers.

It’s complex, difficult and painful. In fact, 77% of B2B buyers state that their latest purchase was very difficult or complex.

Sellers also have little opportunity to influence prospects. Research shows that B2B buyers spend as little as 17% of their buying journey meeting with potential suppliers. Buyers want to self-educate in their own time, on the platforms they like spending time on.

Considering the fact that your buyers are likely evaluating a number of suppliers – it’s more likely you will only get 5 or 6% of that buying journey at most!

What is the buyer journey?

The buying journey refers to the process that a potential customer goes through before making a purchase. This process typically consists of several stages, which can vary depending on the specific industry, product or service being considered, and the individual buyer's needs and preferences.

Typically, the stages of the buying journey include:

  1. Unaware: At this stage, the potential customer is not yet aware that they have a problem or need that requires a solution. They may not have encountered a specific pain point or may not have realised that there are products or services that could help them.
  2. Problem aware: In this stage, the potential customer has identified a problem or need that they would like to address but may not yet be familiar with specific solutions or products that could help. They may be doing research or seeking advice from others to learn more about possible options.
  3. Solution aware: At this stage, the potential customer has become aware of the various solutions that could help address their problem or need but may not yet have decided on a specific product or service. They may be comparing different solutions, looking for reviews or recommendations, or trying to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
  4. Product aware: In this final stage, the potential customer has identified specific products or services that could meet their needs and is evaluating them based on factors such as features, quality, price and reputation. They may be ready to make a purchase decision or may be seeking additional information and reassurance before making a final choice.

The traditional buyer journey is dead

The buying journey you’re likely familiar with looks something like the below diagram. It demonstrates the journey your prospects go through as linear.


In many ways, this is still relevant. Your buyer will go from being problem unaware to product aware through their journey. As they become aware of their problem they will research different solutions.

However, the process your buyers go through is anything but linear. The likelihood is, they have a series of hurdles to overcome and jobs to get done before they make the decision to purchase your product or service. These might include:

  • Researching different options to solve their problem
  • Getting buy-in from other members of the buying committee
  • Building a list of requirements
  • Going through the procurement process
  • Building a business case for your solution.

In actual fact, your buyer’s journey looks something like this:


There are multiple entry points, several people involved and various hurdles your buyer needs to overcome. It’s almost impossible to track and this is where most marketers fall down. They’re so focused on proving attribution for new leads, they make it difficult for prospects to find and access the information they need to get over these hurdles.

What is buyer enablement?

Buyer enablement refers to the strategic approach of providing potential buyers with the information, resources, and support they need throughout their decision-making journey. The goal of buyer enablement is to empower buyers with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed purchasing decisions that align with their needs and objectives. This approach recognizes that the modern B2B buying process is often complex, involving multiple stakeholders and a significant amount of research before a decision is made.

Buyer enablement goes beyond traditional sales and marketing tactics, focusing on building trust, fostering relationships, and offering valuable insights to prospective buyers. It involves creating a seamless and personalized experience that helps buyers navigate through their challenges, questions, and concerns.

Key components of buyer enablement include:

  • Educational Content: Providing high-quality, relevant content that addresses the buyer's pain points, challenges, and questions. This can include blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, videos, webinars, and more.
  • Personalization: Tailoring the information and resources to the specific needs and preferences of each buyer, demonstrating that you understand their unique situation.
  • Engagement Tools: Offering interactive tools and platforms that allow buyers to explore solutions, compare options, and gather information at their own pace.
  • Sales Enablement: Equipping sales teams with the right resources and training to effectively engage with buyers, answer their questions, and guide them through the decision-making process.
  • Multi-Channel Approach: Engaging buyers through various channels, such as social media, email, phone calls, and in-person interactions, to ensure they receive the information they need through their preferred communication method.
  • Collaborative Approach: Encouraging collaboration between different stakeholders within the buyer's organization, such as decision-makers, influencers, and end-users, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of their needs.
  • Support and Consultation: Offering support and consultation to buyers as they evaluate different solutions, addressing their concerns and providing expert insights to facilitate the decision-making process.
  • Feedback Loop: Continuously collecting feedback from buyers to understand their experiences, pain points, and preferences, and using this information to refine and improve the buyer enablement strategy.

Buyer enablement has a significant impact on the B2B buying process by transforming the way potential buyers engage with vendors and make purchasing decisions. Here's how buyer enablement influences various stages of the B2B buying process:

Awareness Stage

  • Buyer enablement provides educational content that addresses industry challenges, market trends, and potential solutions.
  • It helps buyers identify their pain points and needs, making them more aware of the problems they need to solve.

Consideration Stage

  • By offering in-depth resources like whitepapers, case studies, and comparison guides, buyer enablement assists buyers in evaluating different solutions.
  • Personalized content helps buyers understand how specific offerings can meet their unique requirements.

Evaluation Stage

  • Buyer enablement provides detailed information about product features, benefits, and use cases, helping buyers assess the fit of a solution with their organization.
  • Interactive tools, such as ROI calculators and product demos, empower buyers to explore and test solutions before making a decision.

Decision Stage

  • With buyer enablement, buyers have access to information that helps them justify their decision to internal stakeholders.
  • Consultation and support from vendors enable buyers to address any final questions or concerns, facilitating the decision-making process.

Post-Purchase Stage

  • Buyer enablement continues after the purchase, offering onboarding resources and training to ensure successful adoption of the purchased solution.
  • Ongoing educational content and support contribute to the long-term success and satisfaction of the buyer.

Multiple Stakeholders

  • B2B purchases often involve multiple stakeholders with different roles and perspectives. Buyer enablement helps align these stakeholders by providing content that speaks to their specific concerns and needs.
  • Collaborative tools and resources enable different stakeholders to contribute to the decision-making process.

Customer Relationships

  • By focusing on education, support, and personalized interactions, buyer enablement builds trust and strong relationships between vendors and buyers.
  • Positive interactions throughout the buying process lead to increased customer loyalty and potential for repeat business.

Informed Decision-Making

  • Buyer enablement ensures that buyers have access to accurate, relevant, and up-to-date information, leading to more informed purchasing decisions.
  • Buyers are less likely to encounter surprises or disappointment post-purchase due to a clearer understanding of what the solution entails.

Shorter Sales Cycles

  • Providing the right information and resources at the right time can expedite the buying process by reducing the time buyers spend researching and evaluating options.
  • Quicker decisions can lead to faster sales cycles and increased efficiency for both buyers and vendors.

In summary, buyer enablement enhances the B2B buying process by guiding buyers through the decision-making journey, providing them with the necessary information, tools, and support to make well-informed choices that align with their needs and goals. This approach fosters stronger relationships, faster sales cycles, and more successful outcomes for both buyers and vendors.

Benefits of buyer enablement

Buyer enablement offers numerous benefits for both buyers and sellers in the B2B context. Adopting a buyer enablement approach can lead to improved customer relationships, increased customer loyalty, and more successful sales outcomes. Here's a breakdown of the benefits:

Benefits of buyer enablement for buyers

  • Informed Decision-Making: Buyers have access to comprehensive and relevant information, enabling them to make well-informed decisions that align with their organization's needs and goals.
  • Personalization: Buyer enablement provides personalized content and experiences tailored to the buyer's specific challenges, preferences, and buying journey, enhancing engagement.
  • Empowerment: Buyers feel empowered and confident in their decision-making process due to the educational resources and tools provided by the seller.
  • Efficiency: The availability of resources and support expedites the buying process, saving buyers time and effort in researching and evaluating options.
  • Mitigated Risks: By understanding the solution thoroughly, buyers can anticipate potential risks and challenges, making it easier to mitigate them during implementation.
  • Stakeholder Alignment: Buyer enablement helps align different stakeholders within the buyer's organization, facilitating smoother decision-making and buy-in from all parties involved.

Benefits for sellers

Building Trust: Seller-buyer relationships are built on trust, and buyer enablement fosters trust by providing accurate information, transparent communication, and support.

Differentiation: Adopting a buyer enablement approach sets sellers apart from competitors, as they position themselves as valuable resources that focus on buyers' success.

Shorter Sales Cycles: Informed buyers make quicker decisions, leading to shorter sales cycles and increased sales efficiency.

Improved Conversion Rates: The tailored approach of buyer enablement increases the likelihood that potential buyers will convert into satisfied customers.

Customer-Centric Approach: Sellers prioritize the needs of buyers, showcasing their commitment to adding value and solving problems rather than just making a sale.

Upselling and Cross-Selling Opportunities: A positive buyer experience through enablement can lead to opportunities for upselling and cross-selling in the future.

Enhancement of customer relationships and loyalty

Stronger Relationships: Buyer enablement involves ongoing interactions and support, leading to stronger relationships built on communication, collaboration, and understanding.

Trust and Credibility: Sellers who provide valuable information and resources become trusted advisors in the eyes of buyers, enhancing their credibility and authority.

Long-Term Engagement: Buyer enablement doesn't stop after the sale; it continues with onboarding, training, and ongoing education, fostering long-term engagement.

Customer Advocacy: Satisfied buyers who benefit from buyer enablement are more likely to become advocates, sharing positive experiences and referring others.

Reduced Churn: A customer-centric approach reduces the likelihood of buyer's remorse and dissatisfaction, contributing to lower churn rates and higher customer retention.

Brand Loyalty: Buyers who feel supported and valued are more likely to remain loyal to the brand and continue to do business with the seller.

What do you need to understand about the B2B buyer journey and buyer enablement?

Understanding the way B2B buyers make decisions now requires a mindset change. There are more barriers, decisions and options than ever and the journey is increasingly complicated. You can learn more about this here.

So, what do you need to understand about the buying journey for complex B2B sales?

Let’s talk a little bit about each of these now…

The buying committee

In any industry, a buying committee typically contains the following four types of people:

  • Champions – These are the people who are usually in charge of the initial vendor research. They are often the end-users of your product/service and they are the people who attend meetings with you and provide decision makers with key information from these calls.
  • Decision makers – These people are often the budget holders and must provide thorough research and personal opinion about the best solution. They also need to have a deep understanding of how your product/solution will benefit their business.
  • Influencers – These people have less involvement in the buying process but are often brought in to share their opinion on a product or vendor as they have relevant expertise with the solution.
  • Blockers – These are the people who are not interested in buying your product or service. Some may actively NOT want to invest because they see a danger to their job in doing so, or have been stung by a previous supplier.

It’s important to note, these categories are not personas and are not dependent on job title. For example, the procurement officer in one business may be considered a blocker, but in another business could be your champion! While it’s important to understand the personas in the buying committee, it’s more important to understand what jobs they need to tick off and their attitude towards your product to enable them to make a decision.

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The jobs buyers need to get done

All B2B buyers need to complete a set of jobs to be able to make a purchase. There are six jobs to be done and these don’t always happen in sequence. Often, they are completed simultaneously and revisited at least once.

The six jobs a B2B buyer must complete are:

Let’s talk a bit about those now…

Problem identification

The problem identification stage in the B2B buying journey is the first step in the process of a business seeking to make a purchase. At this stage, a company identifies that it has a problem or need that must be addressed. This problem or need may be the result of a variety of factors, such as changes in the market, shifts in customer demand, or changes in technology.

In this stage, the business begins to research and evaluate potential solutions to address the identified problem or need. This may involve gathering information from internal sources such as staff and stakeholders, as well as external sources such as industry reports, market research, and competitor analysis.

During the problem identification stage, the business will also determine the scope and importance of the problem or need, as well as any potential risks or consequences associated with not addressing it. This helps to establish the level of urgency and priority for finding a solution.

Solution exploration

At this stage, the business has identified a problem or need and is now looking for potential solutions to address it.

During the solution exploration stage, the business will typically gather information on potential solutions from a variety of sources, including vendor websites, industry publications, trade shows, and referrals from colleagues and industry peers.

At this stage, the business will also begin to evaluate potential solutions based on a variety of criteria, such as their fit with the business's needs, their cost, their reliability, and their ability to scale with the business as it grows.

Requirements building

During the requirements building stage, the business will typically create a list of specific requirements that a potential solution must meet. This may include technical requirements, such as compatibility with existing systems and software, as well as functional requirements, such as specific features and capabilities that the solution must have.

The business may also create a list of performance requirements, such as minimum levels of reliability, uptime, and scalability. Additionally, the business may identify any regulatory or compliance requirements that a potential solution must meet, such as data privacy or security standards.

Once the requirements have been identified, the business may use them to create a request for proposal (RFP) or request for information (RFI) that can be sent to potential vendors. The RFP or RFI will typically include a detailed list of the business's requirements, as well as any additional information about the business's needs and goals.

Supplier selection

During the supplier selection stage, the business will typically evaluate responses from potential suppliers based on a variety of criteria. This may include their ability to meet the business's requirements, pricing, value proposition and track record of success.

The business may also conduct additional research on potential suppliers, such as checking references, reviewing case studies, and conducting interviews with key stakeholders at the supplier's organisation.

Once the business has evaluated potential suppliers, it will typically select one or more suppliers to move forward with and will negotiate contract terms.


In the validation stage, the business will typically conduct testing and quality assurance activities to ensure that the solution will work as intended. This may involve testing the solution against specific use cases, verifying that it integrates effectively with existing systems and software, and conducting user acceptance testing to ensure that it is easy to use and meets the needs of stakeholders.

The business may also conduct training and onboarding activities to ensure that staff members are familiar with the solution and are able to use it effectively. Additionally, the business may establish performance metrics and reporting procedures to track the effectiveness of the solution over time.

This is also where a business will want to understand what ROI they can expect from the solution and what timeframe they can expect this in. Content such as ROI calculators, information on the expected process and third-party testimonials are the types of content prospects want to see at this stage.

Typically, this is where a proposal will be requested/issued containing these tools and information.

Consensus creation

The consensus creation stage in the B2B buying journey is a stage that spans across the entire process, from problem identification to implementation and ongoing support. At this stage, the business seeks to build consensus among key stakeholders regarding the need for a solution and the selection of a supplier.

During the consensus creation stage, the business will typically engage in a variety of activities aimed at building buy-in and support for the solution. This may involve educating stakeholders about the problem or need that the solution is intended to address, as well as the potential benefits and drawbacks of various solutions.

The business may also work to identify and address any concerns or objections that stakeholders may have, and to ensure that all stakeholders feel heard and included in the decision-making process.

The stages the buying committee goes through

While there are six clear jobs B2B buyers need to get done to make a purchase, this is overlaid on top of the buying process the committee goes through. This is the more human part of the journey that is driven by pain, challenge and the need for a solution. The stages a B2B buying committee goes through include:

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Muddling along

This is the period of time in which the business is muddling along with a problem or challenge. The key stakeholders usually know something isn’t right but haven’t yet solved the problem because it’s not quite bad enough yet or due to a lack of budget.

This will continue until a trigger event happens. This might be a system breakage, the loss of a key member of staff or poor business results. This is when action is taken and a buying committee is formed.


Once a problem has been identified (usually by the champion of the buying team) the buying committee starts the research phase. They set out to find out as much information about solutions as they can, without contacting any suppliers.

Each member of the buying committee often does this in isolation – all reviewing different information and coming to their own conclusions as to which is the best way forward.

At this stage, the buying committee wants to self-educate using online journals, forums, social media, webinars and podcasts. Part of this education process is about short (or long) listing potential suppliers.

Discuss findings

Once thorough research has taken place, the committee will reconvene and discuss their findings. This is often where budgets are discussed and it’s decided which potential suppliers will be reached out to.

Warning! This is the first stage where the buyer may decide to pull out of the project. The buying committee not coming to a decision, budgets not being big enough or the pain of change being too great are all reasons buying teams pull out of progressing deals further down the buying journey.

Reach out to suppliers

This is the first time your buyers will reach out to you (if you make the shortlist). They are educated, have a budget and are looking for a solution to their problem. As the solution provider, this is your moment to make an impact. That golden 5% of the buying journey that determines if you get to the next stage or not.

You need to be well equipped with all the information your buyer needs at your fingertips. This might include:

  • Testimonials
  • Demos
  • ROI validation
  • Information on alternative solutions.

If you can’t prove you will meet the buyer’s requirements – this is where the journey ends for you. The prospect will often not tell you they aren’t progressing with the deal. They’ll simply stop responding to your emails and calls, leaving you wondering if you read the messaging wrong…

If you do tick all the boxes, you haven’t won yet!

The likelihood is, you still need to submit a detailed proposal. Once the buying committee has reviewed your proposal, they will likely need to present it to wider teams including legal, procurement, operations and finance.

Guess what?

This is another opportunity for them to pull out of the deal. You’re going to need to have content ready and waiting for these departments. Content that answers questions on insurance, payment terms, anti-fraud, data processing, team availability, downtime and a whole lot more.

If you are able to answer those questions – that’s great!

But yet again, there’s still an opportunity for the prospect to pull out. At this late stage, it’s often down to one of two reasons:

  1. Fear of failure – If you haven’t made a compelling enough argument, or haven’t given the buying team the confidence your solution will solve their problem.
  2. Status quo – If the pain of change appears to be bigger than the reward your buyer will get for making this change. 44% of deals are lost to preference for the status quo.


After a long and gruelling process, your buyers will come to a decision on which supplier they choose. Often this won’t be a price decision, but a decision on which supplier has provided them with the most value in the buying process up until this point. This is often influenced heavily by the content and information each supplier provides.

Which leads us nicely into…

The types of content you should create to enable your buyers

To win in this B2B buying environment, suppliers should focus on providing customers with information that is specifically designed to help them complete their buying jobs.

All buyers truly want in this complex environment is information that helps them simplify the purchase process, overcome the status quo and conquer the fear of failure.

Of course, you can take an educated guess as to which content you think your prospects need. But the best way to inform this content is to interview your sales people, your existing customers and your customer service teams.

These interviews will reveal where the blockers are in your sales process, what information your prospects need to progress the deal and how they can get buy-in from other stakeholders in their buying committee.

This content may include:

  • Calculators to help them prove ROI
  • Guides on how to get internal buy-in from the rest of the buying committee
  • Comparisons on your solution vs. alternatives
  • Simulators to demonstrate how your product/service will work
  • Roadmaps so they have a clear vision of which step comes next and what the bigger picture looks like
  • Guidance on what they do and don’t need in order to make a purchase.

To effectively enable your buyers, the content you create must meet a minimum set of standards and should be:

  • Relevant to the specific challenge
  • Easy for the prospect to access and use
  • Useful to complete the buying job
  • Credible and backed by data and facts
  • Easy to share with other members of their team
  • Valuable to providing confidence.

Buyer enablement Vs. sales enablement – what’s the difference?

We’ve talked a lot about enabling the buyer in this article and often this can be confused with sales enablement. It’s crucial to understand the key differences between each.

Sales enablement focuses on empowering the sales team with the right tools, resources and training to effectively sell products or services. It helps reps understand the customers' needs, communicate the value proposition and close deals more efficiently.

This involves creating and providing resources like sales playbooks, training materials, case studies, and product demos, specifically designed to help salespeople be more effective in their roles.

The primary objective is to increase sales effectiveness and efficiency, leading to increased revenue and sales performance.

Buyer enablement focuses on making it easier for potential customers to navigate the buying process. It involves providing the necessary information, tools, and resources for buyers to make informed decisions about purchasing a product or service.

Buyer enablement involves creating content and resources like buyer's guides, comparison charts and self-assessment tools that help potential customers understand their needs and make informed decisions about whether a product or service is the right fit for them.

The main objective is to reduce friction in the buying process, making it easier for potential customers to make informed decisions, which can lead to better sales conversion rates and higher customer satisfaction.

How to measure buyer enablement

Measuring the success of buyer enablement is a little different to most sales and marketing tactics. You won’t be focused on the number of leads you’ve generated or how much traffic you’re getting. Your attention will be much further down the sales and marketing funnel.

The way in which you choose to measure this will differ depending on how your business is set up. However, here are some suggestions we know to work well for B2Bs:

  • Higher sales close rates – if you’re providing your buyers with all the information they need to make an informed decisions you will see less deals slipping away and therefore a higher closing rate. Who doesn’t want that?!
  • Short sales cycles – part of the reason B2B sales cycles are so long is because the buying committee need to reach consensus. By creating content for each member of the buying committee to answer questions before they’ve even thought of them, you’ll undoubtedly shorten sales cycles.
  • Increase in average order value – By building trust and authority with your prospects, they’re more likely to spend more money with you instead of feeling the need to start small in case things don’t work out.
  • Content engagement – Measuring the engagement of your buyer enablement content is a great leading indicator of how useful the content is. You should look to understand how long prospects look at the content for, how many times they revisit the content and who they share it with.

We know it’s a lot to take in

This is a lot of information to process, and often requires sales and marketing teams to completely rethink the content they’re creating and where they place the majority of their effort. Many sales and marketing teams are still focused on creating top of funnel content to help pour more leads in at the top of the funnel.

However, without investing in buyer enablement, your efforts will be wasted when you lose prospects late in the game, meaning your sales pipeline becomes unreliable.

If you’d like access to our free blueprint for a clear path to enabling your buyers – get in touch here.

Please note: references

Please note that a lot of the research and stats that have been used to inform this and surrounding content has come from Gartner's original study on buyer enablement.


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Alex Elborn

Alex Elborn

Alex is part of the senior management team and is responsible for running Intergage's own marketing. She develops and manages the marketing strategy and budget to connect with businesses in the manufacturing sector. Alex is also a HubSpot expert and has been using the software for clients and Intergage for more than five years.