The Industrial Buying Team

Industry buys out of need only, and the informational needs of today’s buyers and specifiers are very demanding. When a need is discovered, the buying team goes into action and needs to find the best price, quality and service which requires researching on average 4 sources of supply. These sources of supply have been researched and investigated by multiple members of the buying team at different levels of their informational search as depicted by the funnel below. Understanding the importance of each level of the informational search by each member of the buying team is a key strategy for success in obtaining the purchase order.

A Gatekeeper of the Industrial Buying Team
A Purchasing Gatekeeper at Work.

Before we get started, there are two important conditions that we are assuming.

  1. The industrial buying process involves the buying team whose goal is to find the best price, quality, and service and is best known as professional buying.
  2. Second, there are circumstances that do not allow application to our discussion.

These circumstances deal with emergencies that happen in the world as well as the manufacturing environment that demands immediate action thus by-pass the effort to find the best price, quality, and service. Also, there are some purchases that are insignificant in cost and do not require action by the buying team as well as many purchases are repeat purchases.

The members of the buying team have specific roles and functions and the buying process is very dynamic and multi-faceted. There are short term and long term projects that develop that change the processes and planning considerably so no one model fits all circumstances. All members of the buying team can be initiators who first recognize the need. Users are important since these members have direct experience with the issue and need at hand. These members can also be influencers who help decide if the need is worthy of consideration. Deciders are the ones who make the buying decision. It is important to identify the Gatekeepers since these members control the access and information being distributed. The basic buying team members come from Purchasing, Plant Maintenance-MRO, Engineering & Upper management.

The Industrial Buying Process and B2B Marketing Funnel
The Industrial B2B Marketing Funnel

Initiators play a very important role in the success of the company. This role provides insights and efficiencies to ensure the long term growth of the company. In all aspects of the operation of the company, there can be many great ideas that can help the company. There are too many examples of great ideas from all 4 segments of the buying team. Even sales and marketing can play a role as initiators since these members provide critical feedback from the company’s clients and prospects.

The initiators and the buying team members have no set rules to their informational gathering and it can be done at each stop of this process by any member. The information can be gathered at different times by different people. This information can then be investigated at different times by different people. This investigation is primarily done by researching various company’s websites. It is critical that these supplier’s websites are available at this first critical step of the buying process.

This step should be fully understood in the industrial buying process and it should be realized that such important buying decisions, in most cases, are not made by an initiator sending out a request for quote (RFQ).

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