Corporate Buyer Behaviour: The Buygrid

The Buygrid analytical framework is one of a few models devised to attempt the difficult task of understanding corporate buying behaviour. It was developed by Robinson, Farris and Wind, and is designed to divide the buying situation into three "buy classes" and eight "buy phases".


Marketing managers must first evaluate the situation and determine the type of buying circumstances that the purchaser faces, thus, there are three buying classes as defined by the Buygrid model:


New task – in this situation, the purchaser has no current experience with the product. Therefore, the buying team has no experience with the new product or the suppliers thereof. This is an ideal situation for a supplier.


Modified re-buy – This situation usually arises when the buyer is not satisfied with their current suppliers and wants to look at alternative sources of supply. The buyer is hoping to gain significant benefits, such as improved service levels or lower costs, by changing suppliers.


Straight re-buy – In this situation, the buyer is satisfied with its current supplier and purchases happen on a recurring basis.


The Buygrid model then uses eight "buy phases" to set out the decision making process:


Problem recognition – The buying decision process is triggered by the appearance of a new problem or opportunity. This trigger can be the result of marketing, or it might be the result of horizontal growth or other opportunities. It might also be the result of poor performance of current products used.


Determination of the characteristics of the needed product – the buyer decides which product is needed, and how many of it.


Product specification – the buyer decides which attributes of the product is important and will consider the different brands available.


Supplier search – In this phase, the buyer will search for, and select a few suitable suppliers. The decision makers in the buying process will determine which suppliers will qualify as potential sources of supply.


Proposal solicitation – The buyers acquire detailed and specific proposals from all the suppliers that qualified in the supplier search phase.


Evaluation of proposals and supplier selection – the buying company will evaluate and analyse all the proposals and will eventually decide on a supplier that meets with their most valued criteria.


Order routine specifications – dates and places for delivery, installation and maintenance are decided upon.


Performance review – the last phase in the buying phases is "after-sales service" evaluation. The buyer will evaluate whether the product has been valuable and also whether the supplier's service levels were adequate.


Marketers can use the Buygrid framework to develop targeted sales strategies when approaching potential customers. It can be useful for streamlining certain aspects of their existing sales strategy, such as price, performance, distribution and promotional strategy to get the end result of a more targeted approach.