The 3 Reasons That Motivate B2B Buyers to Buy

An interesting (more like disconcerting) observation from some of the work I do is the dichotomy between Information Technology vendors and buyers on why a customer buys a solution.

IT vendors tend to focus a lot on the features and functions of the solutions, their claimed technology leadership, their innovations, and how they are better than the competitors. It’s all about them and how wonderful they are and how wonderful it would be to be their customer. While these might be selling points worth mentioning, they are hardly the reasons most buyers decide to buy.

When I talk to vendors, a lot of the discussion centers around who they can sell something to and how to best go about marketing and selling it to get buyers. When I talk to IT users and buyers, they’re primarily concerned with creating value for their company. Buyers frequently need help interpreting the vendor gobbledygook and vague statements into what a particular solution actually does and how it can create value for their business.

Based on what I’ve seen and experienced over many years in the IT industry, there are three fundamental reasons that motivate IT buyers to buy a solution:

  1. Solve a problem – something is wrong or not working properly in the business that seemingly cannot be resolved with the processes and technology they already have. The scope of the problem can be in one or more functional areas or across the company. The scale of the problem may range from a serious detriment to an annoyance. The scope and scale of the problem determines the urgency and budget to resolve the problem.
  2. Pursue an opportunity – companies find new opportunities to expand or grow their businesses beyond their current confines. In many instances these opportunities require new or additional business processes and solutions (e.g. a manufacturer adding an aftermarket service center) that they currently don’t have. The scope and scale of the opportunity determines the urgency and budget to buy what is needed to pursue the opportunity.
  3. Improve performance – it could be argued that underlying every buying decision a business makes is a goal to improve performance. That’s true, but businesses do have specific performance improvement initiatives such as decreasing inventory investment or reducing days sales outstanding (DSO) that may require the acquisition of specific solutions and/or services. The scope of the performance improvement goal can be in one or more functional areas (e.g. reduce overtime wages in the service department) or across the company (e.g. increase operating cash flow). The scale of the problem may range from imminent demise if not fixed soon to a long range continuous improvement process. The scope and scale determines the urgency and budget to buy.

While all three of these buying motivators could be present in many situations, there is usually one primary motivator. Look for the primary driver and primarily focus on that, but don’t overlook the importance of the other one or two secondary motivators to support the buying decision process.

Marketers and Salespeople can significantly improve their odds of finding and converting suspects and prospects into buyers by paying attention to these three reasons that motivate buyers to buy and by connecting with prospective buyers based on why they want to buy.

In my next post, I’ll explore the next step for buyers – the three reasons that cause them to finally decide to buy and who they buy it from.

Your comments are always welcome.
Copyright © 2010 The Marketing Mélange and Ingistics LLC. http://marketing.infocat.com

1 comments:

Joe said...

Hi Mike,

I read with interest your post: The three reasons that motivate B2B buyers to buy. I was particularly interested in your comment that “IT vendors tend to focus a lot on the features and functions of the solutions, their claimed technology leadership, their innovations, and how they are better than the competitors. It’s all about them and how wonderful they are and how wonderful it would be to be their customer…” I find this criticism to be quite universal. In the company I work for’s case, we support about 75 Microsoft partners, and I attend a lot of sales calls with them on their prospects. They all too often consume an inordinate amount of time extolling the virtues of their companies instead of understanding and solving what the prospects needs. After awhile, I can see the prospects getting restless. I often see a big change in their body language when I can finally start to ask them about their business and their problems. I think we all need to be reminded about that…great article.