Industrial marketing - business to business marketing

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Buying center in industrial marketing

Buying center

When selling to companies the first question is who has the decision to buy?
Is it one person or a group?
When we sell to one person it can be easier, but not necessarily. When selling to a group we call it buying center.
What is a buying center and how it works?
Buying center is a group of professionals, employees of the company who are involved in the decision making for a specific buying.
We can meet different roles:
–    Promoters: they make the first step or proposal
–    Users: they will use it effectively, they help to make a choice on technical/ professional level
–    consultants / influencers: they can offer advices
–    buyers: they will select the supplier, they negotiate and sometimes make even the decisions
–    approvers: financial department
–    decision maker: they approve the big value buying
–    gate keeper: they can have (negative) influence on the selling/buying process.

Let us see an example: a regional trade company wants to buy It and communication equipment to his sales force. The promoter could be the sales manager or an It manager. Users will be the sales forces. Consultants/ influencers the It and communication professionals, who knows different equipments and technology: laptop, palmtop, wi-fi, LAN, mobile net etc. The buyers will be the employees of the procurement department. The decision maker could be the CEO, if its about a large investment. Gate keeper could be the assistant manager/ secretary when observes some negative behavior on the selling team.

Why is important to analyze all these information? If we want to have a successful selling campaign we have to focus on every member of the buying center, offering the optimal sales argument for each member. Let’s see some sales argument for each:
–    for the final user: we have to convince them that the machine, equipment etc. will be perfect for their work: easy to use, handy, comfortable, they can have faster information from the market, faster and easier communication with the company etc.
–    for the sales manager: he will have a bigger control on his team, easier communication etc.
–    for the financial department: the new equipments will save costs, etc.
–    for the decision maker: his whole company will benefit from the purchasing: growing selling, closer control on sales forces and market and finally bigger profits.

So, the first step when selling to a buying center is to define the partners and their roles and influence in the decision making, then to offer the optimal sales argument for decision makers.

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