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Word-of-mouth information is especially important for risky decisions that will have a significant impact on the organi- zation or the buying center member. Sales Technology 3.1 illustrates the importance of the Internet for word-of-mouth information, as well as company-created information. SALES Technology 3.1 THE POWER OF DIGITAL MARKETING You log into your favorite tech website and immediately, a face pops up and "George" asks if you want to chat. You know that's not really a person, right? Well, perhaps some of the time it is, but often it's a chat bot. Chat bots are a kind of software that responds automatically to anything you put in. So long as you use words that "George" can recognize, the software can give you a reasonable response. That's because the company has analyzed lots of text and determined that when certain words are used, specific responses are most help- ful. In fact, one recent study found that nearly 70 percent of respondents would prefer to chat with a bot than talk with a real person because they want fast self-service. Analyzing text is just one way that companies are analyzing customers' behavior in order to better serve their needs. Sales technology is rapidly improving the use of analytics to profile customers on an ever-growing number of dimensions. Arm Treasure Data is one company that provides the data. Combining a wide variety of sources, such as Web browsing behavior, purchase history, service interactions, and other sources to develop buyer profiles for seg- mentation purposes. Combining the data and applying artificial intelligence, the system enables automated marketing, but it also provides insights for the product development, marketing, and sales teams. Sources: Tushar Tajane, "3 Reasons Why Customers Love Chatbots," TechZoom, 2019, https://techzoom.org/reasons- customers-love-chatbots/, accessed January 31, 2020; Lindsey Whitaker, "Arm Treasure Data Commended by Frost & Sullivan for Excellence in the Customer Data Platforms Market," PR Newswire, January 29, 2020, https://search- proquest-com.proxy.lib.odu.edu/abicomplete/docview/2347378398/5BFCF1E427B74073PQ/6?accountid=12967, accessed January 31, 2020. Another way to reduce uncertainty and risk is to display vendor loyalty to suppliers—that is, to continue buying from suppliers that proved satisfactory in the past. 21 Converting buying decisions into straight rebuys makes the decisions routine, minimizing the chances of a poor decision. One name for this is lost for good; for all the out-suppliers, this account can be considered lost for good because the in-supplier has cemented this relationship for a long time. Organi- zations tend to develop vendor loyalty for unimportant purchase decisions, though they will often look to vendors who have proved trustworthy when beginning to search in a risky situation. In these situations the potential benefits from new suppliers do not compensate for the costs of evaluating these suppliers. There are two types of vendor loyalty: behavioral loyalty and attitudinal loyalty. Behavioral loyalty is a form of vendor loyalty where a buyer will make the same purchases over and over, so long as the vendor doesn't make any major mistakes. The added cost of going through a decision process just isn't worth the perceived additional value. Attitudi- nal loyalty is different; the buyer has a strong emotional attachment to the vendor, the vendor's product, or even the salesperson, which then translates into sales as opportunities arise. For example, research has shown that some buyers develop loyalty to a particular vendor because of the vendor's sustainability efforts. 22 These risk-reduction approaches present a major problem for salespeople working for out-suppliers. To break loyalty barriers, these salespeople need to develop trusting relationships with customers. They can build trust by offering per- formance guarantees or consistently meeting personal commitments. Another approach is to encourage buyers to place a small trial order so the salesperson's company can demonstrate the product's capabilities. On the other hand, the salesperson for the in-supplier wants to discourage buyers from considering new sources, even on a trial basis, while making sure that there no problems that would lead to trying a competitor. CHAPTER 3: Buying Behavior and the Buying Process 77

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