The landscape of institutional purchasing can make it difficult to identify the actual decision-maker. You need a data-driven marketing partner that understands how institutions work.
The mistake that many data and information companies make is that they treat institutions the same as businesses. The same rules do not apply and can lead to inaccurate data and missed opportunities. Unlike Businesses, Institutions have many departments involved with one purchase. The larger the purchase the more complicated it can become, involving more collaboration. Understanding the buying cycle and process is critical.
For example, most often, the name of the individual making a requisition may not even appear on the purchase order. They are part of the process, but not the decision-makers. Your sales and marketing strategies need to account for these influencers, and you need a data partner that can help you navigate this complex purchasing process.
Tips for Building an Influencer Strategy
Tip #1: Take a broad approach
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, don’t be afraid to take a broad approach when targeting.
Create a message strategy that speaks to all of the key influencers and decision-makers that are part of the buying and procurement process. Decisions in the institutional market are all about collaboration.
You cannot just build your brand or message the person who has the title “Purchasing Department Manager” or “Financial Department Manager.” They may be a part of the purchasing process, but they not the sole decision-maker. Your messaging approach needs to be sophisticated enough to understand the needs of each influencer and to tout benefits that resonate with their specific needs. Department managers have different needs than bid managers. Talk to both of them, but speak to them differently.
Tip #2: Rely on partners who understand the nuances of institutions
Search for partners that understand the nuances of how Institutions work. Ask if they understand the buying cycle and all of the key players involved in the buying cycle. If they seem perplexed, they are most likely not a good partner for you.
Tip #3: Develop a Multi-Channel Approach
Finally, executing a multi-channel campaign which includes a variety of different touch-points. Utilize social media or digital advertising to create a broad stroke. Then, consider targeted media such as direct mail and email for a one-to-one experience. Your campaign should also span the length of the buying and purchasing cycle.