Ray Collis

Managers Pull Rank On Major Buying Decisions

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(a) Seniority Required

When it comes to major buying decisions, managers are pulling rank.  Senior managers are required to sign off on ever smaller purchases.  They set the priorities and the budgets; if they can be sold on the business case then they have the power to ‘make it happen’.

(b) The View At the Top Is Different

The reality is that in today’s tough marketplace, the power to buy has been wrestled away from many middle and lower level managers.  As a result the nature of the buying decision has been transformed.

Naturally enough senior managers look at things differently to their lower level colleagues.  From there offices on the top floor they can see the ‘bigger picture’.  Being closer to the boardroom, they have a clearer understanding of key business drivers, priorities and strategies.

Typically senior managers apply different criteria to buying decisions and supplier selection.  They have a shorter span of attention, especially when it comes to technical information and project detail.

Rather than reading the technical manual, or detailed specification they want to talk results and to discuss strategy. They are less interested in features, or in the underlying technology and more concerned the business impact of the solution and the success of the project.

(c) The Challenges of Selling Higher

Senior level managers are typically more experienced and more worldly wise.  They are also typically less amenable to sales people and their pitches.  So, selling higher can present challenges – challenges for which not all salespeople are ready.

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