Understanding the customer journey – and your internal team’s journey – is critical in B2B industries like manufacturing and distribution. The senior buyer has more latitude with regard to ordering, including having decision making power over other buyers. She makes purchases for her company, but she can make larger purchases without approval. She may have more authority in selecting alternate products and vendors.
She has approval authority over less-experienced buyers and is interested in proactive communication to eliminate the need to micromanage and constantly check on orders.
Convenient Systems Operations
The senior buyer has more responsibilities than an entry-level buyer, including managing the buyers that report to her. Some of the more routine tasks she oversees are approving purchases for junior buyers, reordering items, and managing budgets. It is important to her that repeatable tasks are automated to free up her time for more critical parts of her job like searching for new vendors, negotiating prices, and managing her team.
Having easy access to relevant information is important to the senior buyer, as she shifts from responsibility to responsibility throughout her day. The thought of sifting through all of her orders is not her idea of efficiency and does not make her busy day easier.
She wants to see the orders that are coming through the buyers she oversees, and she wants an easy way to request a quote or check availability if needed for an order. 80% of buyers noted the importance of credible product details and information, as well as an easy-to-use website. Rather than sifting through a bunch for catalogs, she wants to be able to see the products that are relevant to her and filter items if necessary.
There are times when she may need to deviate from the subject matter expert’s product choice and decide to buy from another vendor, or may make alterations to a junior buyer’s order. She needs to be able to access the information that can help her make those decisions. In addition, the senior buyer may need to be more knowledgeable about the products she is buying. Though she can rely on the expertise of a subject matter experts, she may also need to know information such as safety specifications, technical limitations, and regulatory compliances that will come with placing certain orders.
Since she is regularly interacting with the researcher, junior buyers, and vendors, the senior buyer needs a way to constantly stay informed about her orders. She’s always looking for a better price and improved service, so researching other vendors is a big part of her job. She wants to be informed when current or potential suppliers have promotions or are offering deals. She wants to know when a shipment is delayed or there is an issue with an order. And most importantly, she wants this data before she has to search for it. Proactive communication is key to providing a smoother experience for the senior buyer.
Interacting with the Senior Buyer
What She Does
- She buys the products she is authorized to purchase for her company, as well as source new products and vendors
- She can make decisions regarding what she spends without getting approval from a superior
- She spends a lot of time reviewing and approving orders that have been placed by junior buyers and others within the organization
What She Needs
- Information from her vendors about ways she can save her company money
- Proactive communication regarding changes in orders status from her vendors
- An easy way to request quotes and special pricing, as well as check product availability and order status
- An easy process to approve orders that have been placed by other buyers at her organization
Where You’ll Reach Her
She is generally at her desk working and making purchases. She rarely uses a mobile device to do her job.
What You Can Provide to Make Her Job Easier
- Approval workflows that make reviewing and approving others orders easier and more efficient.
- Tools like collaborative list management that allows multiple buyers to combine orders and reduce shipping costs.
- Communication through vendor notifications that proactively keep her knowledgeable and informed without needing to ask.
To learn more about the other roles involved in the B2B buying process and how you can improve their experience, check out our guide The People of the Manufacturing and Distribution Buyer Journey.
Senior Commerce Consultant for Perficient Digital, a leading digital transformation consulting firm. Experience includes more than two decades in digital commerce, product management, business development and marketing for manufacturing and distribution organizations. Has provided strategic leadership for global suppliers and brands resulting in innovative techniques for improving the customer experience overall, reducing cost of sales and accelerating efficiencies within complex buying and selling scenarios. Authored articles for leading publications in the manufacturing, distribution and ecommerce industries.