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A business trying to market an industrial product has a smaller customer base than one selling mass-market products, which means the entrepreneur must capitalize on each sales opportunity by investing in market research.
Industrial customers do not buy on whim and generally have a structured buying process. An entrepreneur with a product he believes customers will want needs to know what problems potential customers must solve and how they’re currently solving them.
What machinery does the client use? What manual processes are involved? How much does this cost (not just labor and supplies but lower production or revenues, environmental penalties or other costs)? Many industrial customers simply want to do things faster and more efficiently.
The next step is to find out why and how customers buy new technology or other big-ticket products. The people who influence purchase decisions could be technology users, managers or senior-level executives – or all three.
The purchasing department might participate. Once there’s interest in the product, the purchase could be subject to internal or external budget cycles or federal budgets, and purchasing decisions can take time. Knowing this helps an entrepreneur approach customers.
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