B2B Buying Process
1. Using a B2B market can provide companies with several tangible and intangible benefits.
2. These benefits can be divided into economic/noneconomic & intangible/tangible.
3. To maximise these benefits, companies should focus on creating content that aligns with the buyer's journey.
When it comes to B2B markets and purchasing decisions, the people involved in these tasks can come from several functional areas within an organisational buying centre (OBC) or decision-making unit. And they are typically represented by: Engineering, Manufacturing, Marketing, General Management and Purchasing.
The people involved in these tasks tend to be more pragmatic and less emotional than those involved in business-to-consumer (B2C) decisions. This is because B2B buyers are typically looking for products or services that will meet a specific need within their organisation, and they want to be sure that they are getting the best value for their money. People within the organisation tend to fall within one of the following six categories.
1. User: The individual who will actually use the bought product or service. In many cases, this is not the same person as the one who pays for it.
2. Initiator: The individual who initiates the buying process by recognising a need that can be met by acquiring a good or service from outside the organisation.
3. Influencer: The individual(s) whose opinions carry weight with the decision maker and who help to shape his or her perceptions of alternatives, risks, and benefits.
4. Decider: The individual(s) is responsible for making the purchasing decision and authorising payment. In small organisations, a single person often fills this role; in larger organisations, it may be distributed among several individuals (e.g., a committee).
5. Buyer: The individual(s) responsible for negotiating price, terms, and conditions with suppliers and placing orders with them on behalf of the organisation. This role may also include responsibility for receipt and inspection of goods and services purchased in some cases.
6. Gatekeeper: The individual(s) who control access to information and/or decision-makers within an organisation (e .g., secretaries, receptionists).
Sometimes you have to bypass the gatekeeper like JCDecaux did with the following campaign.
Several factors can influence B2B buying decisions, including the size and nature of the organisation, the types of products or services being purchased, and the economic climate. However, there are some commonalities across all B2B buying decisions. For example, most B2B buyers will conduct extensive research before making a purchase, and they will also seek out input from multiple stakeholders within their organisation.
Another critical difference between B2B and B2C markets is that B2B buyers are often more loyal to specific brands or suppliers. They want to build long-term relationships with companies that they can rely on for quality products and services. B2C consumers, on the other hand, may be more likely to switch brands if they find a better deal elsewhere.
Influencing the buying decision
When making a decision in the B2B market, buyers take into consideration both the type of purchase being made and where they are in the buying process.
Type of Purchase
There are generally four different purchases that can be made in a B2B market: 1. New Purchase: This is when a buyer purchases a product or service for the first time from a new supplier. 2. Repeat Purchase: This is when a buyer purchases a product or service from a supplier they have used before. 3. Modification Purchase: This is when a buyer modifies their existing purchase contract with a supplier, such as changing the quantity or quality of what they are buying. 4. Re-negotiation Purchase: This is when a buyer renegotiates the terms of their existing purchase agreement with a supplier, such as changing the price or delivery date.
Where They Are in The Buying Process There are also different stages that buyers go through when making any purchase, and these will vary depending on the type of good or service being bought: 1. Pre-purchase Stage: In this stage, buyers recognise their need for a product or service and begin to gather information about potential suppliers and solutions. 2. Selective Perception Stage: In this stage, buyers narrow down their options based on criteria like cost, quality, and reputation. 3eNegotiation Stage: In this stage, buyers work with suppliers to finalise contracts and agree on terms like price, delivery date, and payment method
Stage in the Buying Process
The first stage in the B2B buying process is the needs assessment stage. This is when buyers first recognise that they have a need that can be met by acquiring a product or service from an external supplier. During this stage, buyers will typically conduct some initial research to identify potential solutions to their problems.
The second stage of the B2B buying process is the solution evaluation stage. during this stage, buyers will evaluate different options and decide which one best suits their needs. In many cases, multiple stakeholders will be involved in this decision-making process.
The third and final stage of the B2B buying process is the purchase decision stage. This is when buyers commit to a specific supplier and agree on terms such as price and delivery schedule. Once again, multiple stakeholders may be involved in this decision.
The Benefit Typology
There are many benefits that a company can receive from B2B market. However, these benefits can be broadly classified into four different categories:
Economic, tangible benefits
Economic, tangible benefits are those that can be measured in financial terms. For example, a company may save money by purchasing raw materials from a B2B market at a lower price than they would pay to buy the same materials from a retail market.
Noneconomic, tangible benefits
Noneconomic, tangible benefits cannot be measured in financial terms but still provide a tangible benefit to the company. For example, a company may improve its manufacturing process by using a B2B market supplier that can offer better quality raw materials.
Intangible, economic benefits
Intangible economic benefits can be measured in financial terms but are not directly related to the product or service being purchased. For example, a company may improve its reputation by purchasing from a B2B market supplier known for being environmentally friendly.
Intangible, noneconomic benefits
Intangible, noneconomic benefits cannot be measured in financial terms and are not directly related to the product or service being purchased. For example, a company may improve its employee morale by purchasing from a B2B market supplier known for being socially responsible.
Three basic principles can help companies focus buyer benefits across multiple market opportunities: First, focus solely on economic, tangible benefits. If intangible assets are unique to a specific product or service, they will be easier to announce as potential competitive differentiators. Second, when trying to attract customers, first offer the same economic and tangible products that competitors do—and only later differentiate by providing additional (and perhaps more vivid) perks for formal client loyalty. And thirdly, over time, promote an entirely new type of bonus for buyers who become dedicated line customers—mainly if their total affinity with your brand brings them back not just once but innumerable times in the future.
The content Map
As we've seen, the B2B buying process consists of three distinct stages: the awareness stage, the solution evaluation stage, and the purchase decision stage. Each stage presents its challenges and opportunities for companies looking to market their products or services.
One way to ensure that your content is correctly aligned with the B2B buying process is to create a content map. A content map is a tool that helps you to organise and plan your content visually. It can be as simple as a list of topics you want to cover, or it can be a more complex document that includes detailed information about each piece of content.
Mapping your content to the buyer's journey will help you ensure that your content is relevant and valuable at every stage of the process. It will also help you identify any gaps in your content strategy to make adjustments as needed.
In conclusion, using a B2B market can provide companies with several tangible and intangible benefits. By carefully mapping their content to the buyer's journey, companies can ensure that their content is relevant and useful at every stage of the process.