Understanding the Buying Center can help B2B Marketers and Supply Chain for innovation

[ Note: Thank you dear readers for your overwhelming interest in this post originally published on June 7, 2012.The image is updated March 9, 2021.If you are a business and want to get more success out of your B2B Digital Marketing budget, and would like to consult with Dr. Roy- please send an email to Serve@StratoServe.com to schedule a Zoom call.}
Understanding and talking about the Buying Center can help B2B Marketers and Supply Chain Managers for innovation. The Buying Center is a 40 year old concept attributed to Webster and Wind and can be hugely useful to both B2B Marketers and Supply Chain /Procurement managers today. The Buying Center is a part of the informal organization and involve a bunch of people who have varying influence on the B2B buy decision. The individuals in the Buying Center can have one or more of the following roles:

Innovation : tyranny of the Buy Class Relationships in B2B Marketing

The tyranny of buy-class relationships hinders innovation. Buy-classes are a part of the Buy Grid that also considers Buy Phases. The Buy-Grid is an old model of looking at buying decisions in the supply chain. Robinson, Faris and Wind in 1967 (here is a nice summary) came up with the buy-grid to say that organizations have different processes depending on whether the B2B buy was a straight rebuy, modified rebuy or a new buy.

Pfeffer on power in organizations- the”just world” hypothesis in B2B and Supply Chains

Jeffrey Pfeffer has a new book (2010) out on Power and you tend to listen to Pfeffer given his huge eminence in the field of power in organizations. This blog’s interest in Pfeffer really goes back to how power works in B2B,Distribution Channels and Supply Chain relationships.In this latest book, the most fascinating point to me was the “just world” hypothesis. We tend to believe that if you do your job well, are fair in your dealings – the system will take care of you- and you’ll be all right i.e. you’ll get promoted, keep getting business or supplies etc. etc.

For the CEO:Three differences between your “buy” side and “sell” side folks

The contrast between the buy side folks and the sell side folks of the same firm is truly fascinating. Here are three fun differences between the buy side (supply chain, procurement,purchasing ) folks and sell side (marketing and sales people) of the same firm. As a CEO try using what applies to your firm:

B2B Sales -focus less on customer contact and more on solutions

A recent (2010) article in the McKinsey Quarterly suggests that the “push push” and “constant contact” approach in sales is avoidable in B2B sales particularly for high-tech products and services. 35% of the 1200 firms surveyed felt that they were contacted too much!

Supply Chains and Distribution Channels (B2B) really don’t talk to each other

The IBM Study (Accessed February 2009) points out that visibility and risk are important concerns of supply chain managers. The summary of the report suggests that companies seem to be more in touch with their suppliers than their customers when it comes to aligning supply with demand. More bluntly the buy side and the sell side have little clue about what’s developing on either side of the firm’s value chain.

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