In complex sales cycles and most B-to-B sales situations, it is important to find out what the DMU looks like. DMU is an abbreviation of “Decision Making Unit” and it is the group of people within a company that make or influence the purchasing decision.
A well-known acronym for these roles in the DMU is BANT: Budget, Authority, Need, Timing.
There are countless situations where BANT does not cover the subject. Sometimes there are people in a DMU with a veto right. They are responsible for processes or procedures. Examples are an IT department that has specific requirements regarding safety aspects. Another example is a purchasing department, that has a ‘preferred supplier’ policy.
In these cases, these people do not have the authority to sign the agreement, but they do have the power to block the deal.
However, they are not represented by the B, A, N or T.
Another aspect is the sequence of the roles, as represented by BANT. In general, you do not start a sales process by talking to a budget owner. You make your sales pitch (or get a lead) because there is someone with a problem or requirement for which you can offer a solution.
So it starts with Need, not with Budget.
Based on the aforementioned aspects, I came up with an acronym that better covers the subject, and is also in the right order: NAMAT.
Generally speaking, the DMU then consists of the following roles:
This is the person who benefits from the purchase. It is the user or, for example, a technical person, who needs your solution to create the product.
This is a person or department with veto power, they can be a show-stopper. It can be a purchasing department with a preferred supplier policy, an IT department with specific requirements concerning safety, or a user forum. No deal without their acceptance!
This is the person who bears the responsibility for the budget. He or she determines whether the money can be spent and whether it fits within the budget.
Often this is someone from a finance department, a manager with profit-and-loss responsibility, etc.
This is the person who formally signs the agreement. It is someone with power of procuration, such as a purchaser, CFO or a manager at a higher level.
Not really a role, but an important aspect of the decision making process.
What is the moment that the customer can and wants to buy?
This may depend on an ongoing contract with a competitor, the budget year, a project milestone, etc.
With larger and more complex sales, you need to know the people who have one or more NAMAT roles to increase your chances of getting the business.
Keep in mind that these roles can be taken by different people, but that a person could have multiple roles as well.
And do not forget the influencers: each of the roles in the DMU is influenced by people from inside or outside the company.