5 Important Elements of Stakeholder Mapping in B2B Sales

Learn how to identify, prioritize, and engage key decision-makers and influencers to drive success. Here are 5 elements of stakeholder mapping to transform your sales strategy.


Gone are the days when sales just fell into your lap. Today, buyers are more resourceful, discerning, and analytical than ever. A typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to ten decision makers, meaning there are more stakeholders to manage and win over. This is why stakeholder mapping is such an important aspect of B2B sales, as it helps you effectively manage these stakeholders to drive success.

In this article, we’ll explore the five key elements of stakeholder mapping, including how to identify, analyze, prioritize, engage with, and monitor stakeholders to transform your sales strategy.

Let’s dive in!

What is Stakeholder Mapping? 

Stakeholder mapping in B2B sales is the process of identifying the key people involved in the buying process. It helps you understand who they are, what they care about, and how much influence they have. 

By mapping stakeholders, you’ll know who to engage with and how to communicate effectively. Stakeholder mapping makes it easier to manage relationships, get the right people on board, and close more deals with greater efficiency.

Identifying Key Stakeholders

The first step in identifying key stakeholders is to understand the different types of stakeholders and their interests. There are several types of stakeholders in B2B sales. These include:

  • Economic buyers: These individuals are heavily focused on the financial aspects of the purchase. Budget, ROI, and financial justification are all top of mind.
  • Direct users: The people who will use the product or service daily. Their feedback and needs are crucial for the purchase decision.
  • Champions: Advocates within the buyer’s organization who support and promote your product or service. These people may have prior experience using your product or have a strong belief in its benefits and potential impact.
  • Influencers: Individuals who can influence the decision making process, based on their experience, expertise, or relationships. 
  • Blockers: People who can hinder the progress of a deal. Examples include IT department heads, compliance officers, and finance departments.
  • Decision makers: People with authority to make purchasing decisions. 
  • Gatekeepers: Individuals with direct access to decision makers and influencers. 
  • Signers: People who have the authority to sign contracts and finalize purchases. Examples include CEOs, CFOs, and department VPs. 

To identify these stakeholders, you can use tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Apollo, and ZoomInfo. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a useful tool that helps you find and connect with the right decision makers by providing advanced search capabilities and insights. Apollo is an enrichment platform that provides tools for lead prospecting, enabling reps to find verified contact details and enhance their outreach. ZoomInfo is a business intelligence platform that helps businesses find, acquire, and grow customers by offering detailed business information, allowing sales and marketing professionals to enhance their strategies and outreach efforts.

These tools help you find and understand key people in an organization, their roles, and how to connect with them. They make it easier to map out stakeholders and engage with them effectively.

Understanding Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities

It’s no secret that different stakeholders in B2B sales have different motivations based on their roles. Understanding these motivations is key to speaking the language of your buyers and accelerating the sales process.

For example, economic buyers, typically CFOs or finance managers, care about the financial aspects of a purchase. Their concerns are centered around ROI. To get them on board, they need to see a solid business case showing that the organization will either lose money by not moving forward with the product or service or make money as a result. On the other hand, the IT department, which includes IT managers and department heads, is concerned with security. This team wants to know if the product or service you’re selling is compatible with their operations, easy to integrate, and highly secure. 

Understanding stakeholder archetypes and their motivations will help your reps craft their pitch effectively. After identifying the stakeholders, gathering information about their roles and responsibilities is crucial.

Here are several ways to achieve this:

  • Review LinkedIn profiles: LinkedIn can help you understand a stakeholder’s professional background, current role, and responsibilities. It provides you with relevant talking points related to their expertise, allowing you to build trust and rapport. 
  • Listen to podcasts: Gain insights from industry podcasts featuring key decision makers about their perspectives and priorities. Need a starting point? Check out our 10/10 GTM podcast for revenue leaders
  • Read earnings reports: For publicly traded companies, earnings reports highlight financial health, strategic priorities, and areas of concern. These reports help you address the key concerns of economic buyers by enabling you to align your offerings with your prospect’s goals and challenges. 
  • Explore company websites and blogs: Most company websites have a section dedicated to their team. This is where you can go to find information about key personnel, their roles, interests, and achievements. They may also link to external sites, such as LinkedIn, which can help you gather more detailed information about their professional backgrounds and network connections. Additionally, company blogs often provide insights into current projects, company culture, and strategic priorities, giving you a deeper understanding of what drives their business and how your product or service can fit into their vision.
  • Follow industry news and publications: Stay informed about the broader context in which your stakeholders operate to anticipate their needs and concerns.

Mapping Stakeholder Influence

If you want to win more deals, make sure your buyers feel understood. Mapping stakeholder influence helps identify key players and their needs, enabling your team to address their needs effectively. This matters because the vast majority of buyers — 89% — are more likely to make a purchase when they feel seen and heard. 

There are several models you can use to map stakeholder interest. The most common examples include the RACI Matrix, the Power/Interest Grid, Salience Model, Power-Predictability Matrix, and Stakeholder Relationship Mapping

RACI Matrix

RACI stands for “Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.” This matrix is not typically used to map stakeholder influence directly but rather to clarify roles and responsibilities within a project. That said, it can indirectly help in managing stakeholders by making sure the right people are involved in the right capacities, which can affect stakeholder engagement and influence.

How it works in stakeholder mapping:

  • Responsible: Identifies the individuals (aka the “doers”) who are responsible for carrying out specific tasks. 
  • Accountable: Designates the person who is ultimately accountable for the task's completion and outcomes. This person has decision making authority.
  • Consulted: Lists the stakeholders who need to provide input or feedback on the tasks. These are typically subject matter experts or key influencers.
  • Informed: Identifies the stakeholders who need to be kept informed about progress and decisions but do not need to provide input.

Use the RACI Matrix when you need to verify that all stakeholder roles are clearly defined, especially in complex projects with multiple stakeholders. It’s particularly beneficial during the planning phase to set clear expectations and during the execution phase to maintain accountability.

Power/Interest Grid 

The Power/Interest Grid is used to categorize stakeholders based on their level of power and interest in the project. This helps in prioritizing stakeholders and determining the type and level of engagement required.

How it works in stakeholder mapping:

  • High Power, High Interest: These are key players who should be managed closely. They can significantly impact the project, so keeping them engaged and satisfied is crucial.
  • High Power, Low Interest: These stakeholders need to be kept satisfied but do not require constant attention. Regular updates and occasional involvement are sufficient.
  • Low Power, High Interest: These stakeholders should be kept informed. They are interested in the project but do not have significant influence over it.
  • Low Power, Low Interest: These stakeholders require minimal effort. They need to be monitored but do not need regular updates.

Use the Power/Interest Grid when you need to identify which stakeholders require the most attention. It helps allocate resources efficiently by focusing on key stakeholders and developing targeted communication strategies for different stakeholder groups.

Salience Model

The Salience Model categorizes stakeholders based on three attributes: power, legitimacy, and urgency. This model helps in identifying which stakeholders matter the most at any given time.

How it works in stakeholder mapping:

  • Power: The ability of the stakeholder to influence the project.
  • Legitimacy: The stakeholder's relationship and standing with the project.
  • Urgency: The need for immediate attention or action from the stakeholder.

Stakeholders are classified into different categories:

  • Dormant: Stakeholders with power but lacking legitimacy or urgency.
  • Discretionary: Stakeholders with legitimacy but lacking power or urgency.
  • Demanding: Stakeholders with urgency but lacking power or legitimacy.
  • Dominant: Stakeholders with both power and legitimacy.
  • Dangerous: Stakeholders with power and urgency but lacking legitimacy.
  • Dependent: Stakeholders with legitimacy and urgency but lacking power.
  • Definitive: Stakeholders with power, legitimacy, and urgency.

Use the Salience Model when you need to understand the dynamics of stakeholder influence, prioritize stakeholder engagement based on their attributes, and manage stakeholder expectations and responses effectively.

Power-Predictability Matrix

The Power-Predictability Matrix assesses stakeholders based on their power and predictability of behavior. This model is useful for anticipating stakeholder actions and planning appropriate responses.

How it works in stakeholder mapping:

  • High Power, High Predictability: These stakeholders are predictable and have significant power. They should be engaged regularly and kept satisfied.
  • High Power, Low Predictability: These stakeholders have high power but are unpredictable. They require careful management and constant monitoring.
  • Low Power, High Predictability: These stakeholders are predictable but lack power. Keeping them informed and engaged is sufficient.
  • Low Power, Low Predictability: These stakeholders have low power and are unpredictable. They need minimal attention but should be monitored for any changes in behavior.

Use the Power-Predictability Matrix when you need to anticipate stakeholder behavior and plan your engagement strategies accordingly. It helps allocate resources efficiently by focusing on high-impact stakeholders and mitigating risks associated with unpredictable stakeholders.

Stakeholder Relationship Mapping

Stakeholder Relationship Mapping involves visualizing the relationships between stakeholders and understanding how they influence each other. This model helps in identifying alliances, conflicts, and influence patterns within the stakeholder network.

How it works in stakeholder mapping:

  • Identify stakeholders: List all the stakeholders involved in the project.
  • Map relationships: Draw connections between stakeholders to represent their relationships, influence, and communication channels.
  • Analyze influence: Determine the direction and strength of influence between stakeholders.
  • Identify key influencers: Recognize stakeholders who have significant influence over others and can impact the project outcomes.

Use Stakeholder Relationship Mapping when you need to understand the dynamics of stakeholder interactions and influence. It helps identify key influencers and potential advocates for your project, and manage stakeholder relationships effectively by leveraging positive influences and addressing conflicts.

Developing an Engagement Plan

If you're wondering how important it is to create an engagement plan to connect with stakeholders, consider this: 71% of buyers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. Meeting these expectations drives more successful outcomes, period.

Different stakeholders have varying needs and levels of influence. To effectively engage them, you must first understand their characteristics and expectations. Stakeholders can be categorized into key groups such as decision makers, influencers, and end users (see above for more information about stakeholder categories and types). Once you have identified these groups, you can customize your outreach strategy accordingly. 

Here are some key tactics to engage stakeholders: 

  1. Partner with marketing for account-based marketing (ABM): ABM is a highly effective strategy that involves close collaboration with your marketing team to target high-value accounts. By focusing on specific accounts and delivering personalized content and experiences, you can better meet the expectations of buyers.

You can work with your marketing team to select relevant, high-value accounts and then develop personalized content. The content should address the specific needs and pain points of these accounts.

  1. Research accounts for outbound outreach: Conduct thorough research on potential accounts. This tactic can provide valuable insights that enhance your outbound outreach efforts. It allows you to craft personalized messages that resonate with your stakeholders.

As you research, use tools like LinkedIn, company websites, and industry reports to gather data on your target accounts. Then find the key stakeholders within the organization that are involved in the decision making process, and customize your outreach messages accordingly. 

  1. Leverage customer relationship management (CRM) tools: CRM tools are essential for managing interactions with stakeholders and tracking engagement activities. These tools can help you stay organized so no stakeholder is overlooked.

Use your CRM to categorize stakeholders based on their role, influence, and engagement level. Then record the interactions and touchpoints to maintain a holistic overview of your stakeholders. You can also leverage your CRM to identify patterns and opportunities for deeper engagement.

  1. Personalize communication: This tactic might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked. Personalized communication is key to making stakeholders feel valued and understood. Remember to customize your messages to address their unique needs and preferences.

You can achieve this via personalized email templates that include the stakeholder's name, company, and specific interests. Tailor presentations and proposals to your buyers by highlighting their unique goals and challenges, and how your solution meets their needs.  

When stakeholders feel that their specific needs are being addressed, they are more likely to engage positively with your organization. This increased engagement can lead to stronger relationships, higher satisfaction, and more sales. 

Maintaining the Stakeholder Map Throughout The Sales Process

Maintaining the stakeholder map throughout the sales process is crucial for several reasons. It creates clarity, helps map out the next steps, and ultimately leads to more closed deals. This practice empowers you to stay on top of stakeholder dynamics, allowing you to engage effectively and address their needs as they evolve.

A well-maintained stakeholder map provides a clear picture of who the key players are and their roles within the decision-making process. By identifying each stakeholder's level of influence and interest, you can tailor your engagement strategies accordingly. But a stakeholder map is not static; it evolves as you gather more information and as the stakeholders' needs and priorities change. By continually updating the map, you can better plan and adjust your next steps.

In some cases, you might not have all the information about certain stakeholders at the beginning of the sales process. Using placeholders in your stakeholder map can help manage this uncertainty. Placeholders allow you to mark potential key stakeholders or areas where more information is needed. As you gather more data, you can replace these placeholders with detailed information, which enables you to maintain an accurate, comprehensive stakeholder map. 


Countless deals fall through the cracks because the right stakeholders aren’t identified and engaged. Don’t let this happen in your organization. Use the insights shared in this article to proactively identify and secure buy-in from all key players, enabling you to close more deals, faster.