Best Practice Recommendation: Buying Roles as a Deal Property rather than a Contact Property

Occasional Contributor



We're excited about the new ABM fuctionality in HubSpot. In reviewing the current setup for Buying Roles, I've noticed this field is listed as a Contact Property. I'd like to suggest making it a cross-object property that you can assign to a Contact within a specific deal, but make that role the Contact's ongoing Buying Role within the Account. I'll try to explain...


Let's say HubSpot was selling Marketing Hub to ABC Company. The HubSpot Sales Rep creates a Deal and starts building working through the Alice Wondermaker, VP of Marketing (Decision Maker, Budget Holder), and a couple of the marketing team members, Jane Doe, Social Media Manager (End-User) and John Doe, Content Marketing Manager (Influencer) participate in the evaluation process. Ultimately the deal moves to Closed Won!

6 months later the HubSpot team says, let's try to upsell ABC company on buying Sales Hub. The HubSpot Sales Rep reaches out to the VP of Marketing and says Alice... imagine what you could do if your Sales team was working alongside you in HubSpot! ...and Alice says that's a great idea. I'll introduce you to our VP of Sales, Mark Geditdone.

Following an intro call Mark is interested so the the HubSpot Sales Rep opens a new Deal and adds the associated contacts related to this deal. Mark Geditdone, VP of Sales is now the Decision Maker, Budget Holder... but when they add Alice Wondermaker, she's still listed as the Decision maker... but in this case she's is our Champion. When the sales rep makes that change, since it's a Contact Property, it Changes Alice's Buying Role under the initial Marketing Hub Deal you closed 6 months ago. 

As you play this process out for later upselling ABC Company on ServiceHub, etc, you begin to see the issue compounds over time. For that reason, we're recommending the best practice of having Buyer Roles be assigned on a Deal by Deal basis. The "buying committe" of 6-7 people will likely change from deal to deal, but some of those people may have been involved in previous deals... playing a different "Buying Role".

This adjustment would then allow the HubSpot Account Manager for ABC Company to look at ABC Company Holistically and explore additional upsell opportunities, and understanding what who and what role each person played for each deal along the account growth management process.

I look foward to hearing your thoughts.


Doyle Slayton
Director of Revenue Operations

Wiley Education Services 

7 Replies 7
Community Manager

Hey @doyleslayton 


I hope you are well! I'll tag a few of our experts that can share their thoughts with you.


Hey @Krystina @willsmith @aturrell anything you could like to share with @doyleslayton ?




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Advisor | Diamond Partner

Hi @doyleslayton 

I haven't played around with the new ABM features very much, but, would creating another sales pipeline help? 
I haven't tried it myself, however, in the example you give, the original sale could be placed in one "New Business" pipeline. Then, once the account is upsold, create this deal in another pipeline (call it "Existing Business or Upsell"). 

I'm thinking this new deal within a new pipeline would allow you to assign the right roles to the right contacts while still associating the deal with the correct company. I can see this getting a little difficult, if, in your situation, every $10 upsell needs to be recorded and this happens frequently. 
Let me know if this fits your situation. Thanks and good luck. 

Occasional Contributor

Thanks for sharing the idea Will. Unfortunately, multiple pipelines wouldn't solve the issue because the Buying Role is a "Contact Property". When you assign a Buying Role to a Contact record, that buying role follows that Contact to every Deal that contact is associated with. 


That's why I'm suggesting that a Contact's Buying Role should be Deal specific. When you associate a Contact to a Deal, you assign that contact a Buying Role based on that specific Deal. That would allow Will Smith to be the Decision Maker for "Deal A", 3 months later, you may be the Champion for "Deal B", and 9 months later you may be a "Blocker" for "Deal C".

Regular Contributor

That's a good use case and scenario, since to your point, someone's buyer role is deal- rather than company-based. The simplest solution would be a snapshot history of a contact's buyer role property that you could tie to deal opened and closed dates, but that's not feasible without external reporting, and also possibly runs into trouble if you have multiple deals open at the same time where Alice may have differing roles. It would be ideal if you had some sort of per-deal relationship map, a la Altify's offering for Salesforce, but that seems remote.


One hacky way of doing it could simply be a custom text field and concatenate it with a current Buyer Role, the name of a currently-open deal and the date that deal was opened every time the person's Buyer Role changes. That's if you want to keep using and reporting on Buyer Role on a per-contact basis (so the original Buyer Role is always updated for whatever current Deal is open, and the historical data is crammed into that concatenated custom field), but it still runs into a wall if there are multiple open deals.


Alternatively you could just make Deal-level fields for each Buyer Role you actually use and manually drop the names in there. That's limiting, too, though, since you can't have a Contact as the content of a field, so you'd have to drop in the associated email address and cross-reference them outside of HS itself. It might be the practice least susceptible to multiple concurrent Deals being open.


I'm pretty sure we (Demand Sage) could build you a report that solves this in a Google Sheet, given a week or two. We're free-to-use and frankly, building custom reports that represent real-world problems makes us a better tool in the long run and help us fill out our report library. Let me know if you're interested, otherwise thanks for posting an interesting use case to chew on.


Oh, one last thought is you could clone the Buyer Role field into Buyer Role - Current Deal and Buyer Role - Historical. You'd be limited in the number of Deals you can connect a contact to from a Role perspective, but you then could have the main Buyer Role represent their company-wide influence (things like blocker and decision maker become fairly useless, but it could give you insight into champions/executive sponsors at a company level), then Current Deal would be updated to reflect whatever the currently-open deal is, and Historical can be your choice of either all of the Roles the contact has played, or the most common one, or the very first one.

Occasional Contributor

I appreciate all the ideas Daniel. Ideally, we get the suggested solution running in HubSpot so that it ties to all the new ABM functionality, the Account Overview screen, and standard ABM reporting. 


As I see things playing out, I have a feeling HubSpot will enhance ABM functionality to include strategic planning tools like Org Charts. Having Buyer Roles and other ABM functionality work in alignment within the same platform will keep things connected as HubSpot contintues to make product enhancements.

Advisor | Diamond Partner


Have you placed this in the "Ideas" forum? If so, please link to it here, and let's start spreading the word!

Thank you!

Occasional Contributor

Oh wow... I thought that's what this was LOL... ok submitted it here... thank you