Decision making units (DMU) is the area of organisational buying in business to business environments that can be complex. It is a collection of individuals each with their own motivators and perspective.
These individual buyers take on DMU roles described as:
- Influence – have a persuasive role
- Decider – responsible for the final decision/deal
- Buyer – responsible for purchasing
- User – operates the product or service
- Specifier – defines the specification of the product or service
- Gatekeeper – gather data can press the stop or start button in the process
- Initiator – recognises the initial need
I am sure you can think of some people in your customer own organisation that can be described by these roles.
It is important to identify who in your customer organisation plays each role, understand each of these buying roles and what they need to know in order to say yes.
The mistake you can make when selling to business customers is thinking it is:
- Assuming a simple decision making process.
- Ignoring the gatekeeper.
- Not understanding what motivated each individual.
- Selling rather than building relationships.
- Not doing your research and accounting for variables.
- Not identifying who plays each role.
- Assuming the process will progress smoothly.
- Not asking the right questions.
- Not adopting the right strategy for each buyer.
- Listening to respond rather than listening to understand.
One person can play several buying roles, a specifier could also be a user or an influencer and a gatekeeper. An influencer may be political motivated, a specifier may be motivated by knowledge and a gatekeeper may be motivated by ego, you must answer their needs for each buying role.
If you get a NO early you can invest more time in a strategy to get a YES.
Mapping your relationship allows you to plot your progress within the customer organisation it enables you to develop a strategy to grow your influence within the identified decision making unit. Then you can assess the level of relationship that is required to get each buyer to say yes.
One client saw over £6 million growth in business within the first year of applying key account management to their sales training and organisational structure. Business to business decisions can be far more complex than business to consumers. A key account manager uses relationship building to their advantage, understanding the complexity and managing the process well. Even business to business units are made up of people to people relationships. The better you are at building relationships the better you will be at selling.
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