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Customer Buying Behaviour

What is the buying process, and who is involved?

Many business owners and leaders talk about ‘the market’ and ‘their customers’ in a proprietorial way when in fact ‘your customers’ are not actually 'yours'. They don't even belong to 'the market'. In B2B, your customers are independent businesses, owned and managed by individuals with their own professional goals and challenges, personal preferences and prejudices.

In complex B2B organisations, the number of buyers and influencers is massively increased and often it is difficult to identify who really makes the buying decision. EvettField refer to this complex buying landscape as ‘the invisible buying committee’.

So how do you navigate the buying landscape and persuade buyers and influencers to preference your product or service in the buying process? First, it is essential that you do not treat your customers like a homogenous clump of automatons and expect them to obediently follow your every marketing command. They're individual and unpredictable humans and must be treated accordingly. That being said, there are common characteristics that can be identified and codified, then incorporated into your marketing and sales messages to improve performance and materially increase ROI.

Every person in the prospective client’s company who can either influence or make the buying decision must be identified. For example, if you are selling into the mining market, that may include the mine manager, site manager, safety manager, machine operator or procurement. You must be able to research and understand the different buying behaviours and purchase drivers for each person and custom-build your value proposition and key messages to satisfy each buying group.

To properly assess each buyer and influencer and codify their buying behaviour takes time and often is done poorly when a business tries to manage the process in-house using internal resources. Customers don’t usually speak so candidly to vendors or reveal their weak underbelly, pain points and buying process. Independent research conducted by parties with no agenda other than to learn, generally produce much more meaningful insights and often uncover huge gaps or opportunities that were previously unknown to the vendor.

Want to know more? Telephone Michael Field on +61 2 9299 8883 or email info@evettfield.com.

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