The group of individuals responsible for making a buying decision in a B2B context are labelled the decision making unit (DMU).
Describe the roles and functions that comprise decision making units in B2B organizations
In a business setting, major purchases typically require input from various parts of the organization, including finance, accounting, purchasing, information technology management, and senior management.
An economic buyer is a typical member of the DMU. The buyer is buying the product to achieve some sort of business advantage.
The infrastructure buyer, another typical member of the DMU, influences the buying decision because he's the guy that is going to make the purchase happen.
The user buyer, another member of the DMU, influences the buying decision because he is one of the people through which the economic buying objective will be realized.
Business-to-business (B2B) describes commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer.
Decision Making Units
In the business-to-business (B2B) context (as opposed to B2C), buying decisions are made in groups. The group responsible for making the buying decision in companies is referred to as the decision making unit (DMU).
Within organizations, major purchases typically require input from various parts of the organization, including finance, accounting, purchasing, information technology management, and senior management. Highly technical purchases, such as information technology systems or production equipment, require the expertise of technical specialists. In some cases, the buying center acts as an informal ad hoc group. In other cases, the buying center is a formally sanctioned group with specific mandates, criteria, and procedures.
For example, in the hi-tech sector, the decision making unit generally comprises the following roles:
The economic buyer - This individual is responsible for buying products that enable the company to achieve a business advantage. The economic buyer justifies the purchase by linking it to profit. The economic buyer's position within the organization can range from the business unit manager level to as high as the CEO.
The infrastructure buyer - This role influences the buying decision at the execution level. If a product poses challenges at the installation phase, then the infrastructure buyer and/or DMU steps in to decide whether the return on investment (ROI) is worth the time and money required to set up the infrastructure. The infrastructure buyer is typically someone in the IT department.
The user buyer - This position influences the buying decision at the user level and decides whether the organization will achieve its financial objectives through the purchase. For instance, if end users provide negative feedback about the product, or demonstrate that the product is hard to use, then the economic buyer will determine whether the purchase will prevent the company from reaching its economic goals.