The buying center concept is a tough concept to understand particularly if you have not actually worked for several years in B2B sales and faced numerous lost deals! Simply put- – there are several people involved in the buying center as explained in an earlier post.
Here is a way to get a sense of the buying center concept for both B2B marketers and non B2B Marketers.
- B2B Marketers will find the buying center concept easy to understand if they think back to the deals that they did not close! Most good B2B marketers think back for reasons they lost the deal and as they trace back they are likely to find a buying center person who they did not reckon. Typical reasons for losing deals and corresponding buying center folks are evident in the reasons you hear after not winning the contract:
- We ‘ll stay with our existing vendor says your purchasing/supply contact. Read that the user of your product in the company did not want to change even when your product involved only minor changes in the user’s process and was actually cheaper. If you ask the buyer might tell you – just to make you feel better.
- We don’t have budget is a common one after you have gone through the bidding process. Either nothing is happening – if it is a new product that you are supplying which means that the initiator in your buying center has lost steam. Or the incumbent supplier woke up and matched your offering in case of ongoing supplies.
- Non-B2B marketers need to imagine how they would sell say furniture to hospitals. Ask this question and even experienced managers seem to have a narrow view with answers like “speak to a doctor or nurse”. Sure the doctors and nurses might have input and you won’t get through if these important folks just hate your furniture! A more inclusive view of the buying center is to think of the purchasing department, facilities and understanding replacement plans and budgets for furniture at the hospital. It could be critical to find out if there is an interior design consultant involved who might be a complete outsider and who might have a major input in vendor selection.
To summarize, if you are a B2B marketer think of a deal you missed and the people who might have played a role and you get a sense of the buying center.
On a more positive note, B2B marketers should learn and summarize buying center member profiles in their target markets from every deal -whether win or lose. Although each organization is different, most industries and professions have similar play books and targeted digital marketing campaigns are possible to make B2B marketing to the buying center easier. About StratoServe.