The decision making unit of a buying organization is called its buying center – all the individuals and units that play a role in the business purchase decision making process. This group includes the actual users of the product or service , those who make the buying decision, those who influence the buying decision , those who do the actual buying and those who control buying information.
Kinds of Buying Roles
Initiators – Those who request that something be purchased. They may be users or others in the organization. For example- for office equipment’s, the initiative may be taken by administrative department.
Users – Those who will use the product or services .In many cases the users initiate the buying proposal and help define the product requirements.
Influencers – People who influence the buying decision . They often help define specification and also provide information for evaluating alternatives. Technical persons are generally important influencers.
Deciders – People who decide on product requirements or on suppliers and those who have authority to select the suppliers. For major purchase , the final decision will be taken by top management.
Approvers –People who authorize the proposed action of deciders and buyers.
Buyers – People who have formal authority to select the supplier and arrange the purchase terms. Buyers paly their major role in selecting vendors and negotiating. In more complexes the buyers might include high level managers.
Gatekeepers- People who have the power to prevent sellers or information from reaching members of the buying center. For example –purchasing agents , receptionists may prevent salespersons from contacting users or deciders.