Business Buyer Behavior

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Content updated on: Jan 8, 2019 @ 3:24 PM

Definition of Business Buyer Behavior

Business buyer behavior, sometimes called organizational buying behavior, is the buying behavior of organizations that buy goods and services for resale or to produce other goods and services. Business buyers include manufacturers, service producers, retailers and wholesalers, and government units.

Further Discussion on Business Buyer Behavior

Unlike final consumers, business buyers make buying decisions based to satisfy needs. The organization buys goods and services that help them meet their basic need to satisfy their own customers. When making a buying decision, the business focuses on the economic needs of the organization. Business buying behavior is less emotional than consumer buying decisions.

When organizations make a buying decision, they consider the total cost of selecting a supplier and not solely on the product price. As an example, assume a printing firm is looking to add a new printer to their production line. The firm not only takes into consideration the cost but also the reputation of the manufacturer, seller, the ability to have the printer serviced quickly, the quality of the image that rolls off the printer, and its ease of maintenance. Organizations need to know their equipment is reliable so that any potential downtime is minimized.

Even understanding small differences in business buyer behavior are critical for organizations and salespeople. Understanding how a business makes a buying decision is critical in developing the marketing mix for a firm selling their raw products or services to a business. Thus, it is helpful for a selling firm to know how an organization buys goods and services.

Business buyers often use purchasing specifications to buy goods and services. Purchasing specifications may include a written or electronic description of the products or services needed. Additionally, product quality concerns may arise with business buyers. In this case, the purchaser may consider only firms that have a quality certification, such as ISO 9000 certified suppliers.

While purchasing managers within the organization traditionally make buying decisions, other influencers exist within the organization that may influence the business buying behavior. These influencers include:

  • Users: These may include production line workers or line supervisors
  • Influencers: These include engineers, R&D staff, marketing, or even accounting
  • Buyers: These are the purchasing agents who have a business relationship with the sellers
  • Decision Makers: The people in the organization who have the power to decide who to buy from and who not to buy from
  • Gatekeepers: These are unofficial employees who may have access to information about sellers and may direct that information to the purchasers or simply ignore the information

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