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MODIFIED REBUYS In a modified rebuy situation, the customer has purchased the product or a similar product in the past but is interested in obtaining new information. This situation typically occurs when the in-supplier performs unsatisfactorily, a new prod- uct becomes available, or the buying needs change. In such situations sales representatives of the in-suppliers need to convince customers to maintain the relationship and continue their present buying pattern. In-suppliers with strong customer relationships are the first to find out when requirements change. In this case customers give the supplier's salespeople information to help them respond to the new requirements. Salespeople with out-suppliers want customers to reevaluate the situation and to actively consider switching vendors. The successful sales rep from an out-supplier will need to influence all the people taking part in the buying decision. WHO MAKES THE BUYING DECISION? As we discussed previously, a number of people are involved in new-task and modified rebuy decisions. This group of people is called the buying center, an informal, cross-department group of people involved in a purchase decision. Another term for buying center is decision-making unit (DMU). People in the customer's organization become involved in a buying center because they have formal responsibilities for purchasing or they are important sources of infor- mation. In some cases the buying center includes experts who are not full-time employees. For example, consultants usually specify the air-conditioning equipment that will be used in a factory undergoing remodeling. Thus, the buying center defines the set of people who make or influence the purchase decision even if some are consultants, like Gartner, who work with the firm. Salespeople need to know the names and responsibilities of all people in the buying center for a purchase decision, and sometimes they need to make sure the right people are participating. For example, Corinna Gilbert with Teradata was able to sell a solution because the competitor's salesperson had failed to meet with a key influencer. This influencer's needs were not met in the original purchase, and she raised such a stink that the company scrapped the original order and switched to Teradata. USERS Users, such as the manufacturing personnel for OEM products and capital equipment, typically do not make the ulti- mate purchase decision. However, they often have considerable influence in the early and late steps of the buying process—need recognition, product definition, and postpurchase evaluation. Thus users are particularly important in new-task and modified rebuy situations. Salespeople often attempt to convert a straight rebuy to a modified rebuy by demonstrating superior product performance or a new benefit to users. INITIATORS Another role in the buying process is that of initiator, or the person who starts the buying process. A user can play the role of the initiator, as in "This machine is broken; we need a new one." In fact, often it is users' dissatisfaction with a product used by the organization that initiates the purchase process. 12 In some instances, though, such as in OEM product decisions, the initiator could be an executive making a decision such as introducing a new product, which starts the buying process. INFLUENCERS People inside or outside the organization who directly or indirectly provide information during the buying process are influencers. These members of the buying center may seek to influence issues regarding product specifications, cri- teria for evaluating proposals, or information about potential suppliers. For example, the marketing department can 70 CHAPTER 3: Buying Behavior and the Buying Process

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