I received a comment from Kfir Pravda asking me to clarify my view on how fundamental human needs drive decision making in a B2B environment. (To see the original blog entry click here)
Following is my response:
All businesses are either providing a product or service which directly satisfies a “real” customer need or they are part of a value chain that in the end will satisfy that need. Nobody really wants to buy a complex managed service solution or a rock crusher. The only “rational” reason for buying either of these is that they in some way make it easier for you to satisfy your customer and your customer should never buy your product if it doesn’t in some way improve their offer to their customer and so on!. In highly competitive industries (virtually all industries) understanding the full value chain from beginning to end can give you the insight to gain a competitive advantage over others who are simply focused on their part of the value chain.
All decision makers are human and base decisions on what satisfies their needs. Decision makers in B2B environments understand what requirements need to be fulfilled in purchasing a managed service or a rock crusher. Even if the requirements are expressed in technical and economic terms the underlying motivations of the decision makers are Maslowian. They want to be perceived as talented, successful, get bigger bonuses, promotions, etc. Sellers in B2B should always be thinking about how they can make the decision makers life better!