That B2B marketing opportunity appears when the Buying Center members face Buy Task challenges is a concept that is simple and obvious to the buying firm buying center and strangely only to the more perceptive B2B marketer.
Here is how the Buy Task challenge plays out for the Buying Center and spells B2B marketing opportunity for the marketer:
- Big problems with repeat buy tasks. This is rare and at the core of the thinking about B2B buyer-seller relationships. One reason that repeat buys go well is because these are familiar products or services that suppliers have fine-tuned and the buying company is able to absorb and use. It has developed internal people and processes to handle whatever these mid-tech suppliers might supply. Note that the supplier might have started as an innovative pioneering supplier and over time the buying organization got familiar with the offering and improved their ability to use them. Thus, there is no reason to change this type of high volume supplier. On the other hand, consider a product or service that the buying center buys typically is high tech/high knowledge (e.g. software development) and the supplier fails to deliver. Or it is low tech/low knowledge (e.g. Facilities maintenance) and the current supplier has become unreliable. In both these scenarios the buying center scrambles to find alternative suppliers because the rest of the receiving processes are in place. The user department is waiting for software that system analysts had clearly defined and the building has to be cleaned anyway!
- Problems with modified re-buy: The buying center might look for new suppliers if there are problems that prevent using good current suppliers. Consider a modified piece of aerospace equipment needed for a defense application that must be made in the US. The existing foreign supplier, although a good one, is excluded from consideration. This one is also relatively rare.
- New task - opportunity: New task opportunity is truly the chance for new innovative B2B suppliers to shine. Here too incumbent suppliers who supply related stuff have an advantage because they can quickly add people and investments to supply the bare minimum that will work for the buying organization. The bare minimum is from knowing the buying organization and designing an offer that is highly competitive that also enjoys the “familiar vendor” advantage. The opportunity for the B2B marketer is to provide superior knowledge and innovative value that is based on the core competence and highly technical knowledge of the marketer organization. Keep in mind that while incumbent suppliers try to just get by, innovative new suppliers can bring entirely unthinkable value to the buying organization. And, many buying centers have members who are willing to give that break to innovative new suppliers because it helps the buying organization make a quantum leap.
To summarize, the big opportunity for new suppliers in B2B markets is to look for organizations and buying centers that are getting into a new task or looking at the old task with new eyes, say when leadership/management changes. More on B2B marketing opportunities and buying organization leadership /management changes in a later post. Contact StratoServe.