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New Research Sheds Light on How FMs Buy Products - Pt. 2

3/21/2019 BY Tim Rowe

Last month, I looked at a new research report on the buying journey of facilities professionals. We dug into the advertising methods that are most effective in terms of influence and recall (Print ads were #1 followed by online ads). This research report, FM Buyers Journey: Content Needs and Ad Preferences, is chock full of valuable data including:

  • Top factors that get FMs to engage with manufacturers
  • The kind of Information that helps FMs make a buying decision
  • The most effective marketing methods
  • Where in the buying cycle FMs want information from manufacturers

Today let's look at the role of FMs in the Buying Process. (Thank you to Michael Walsh, publisher of the McMorrow Reports for the suggestion)

Are FMs Important in the Specification/Buying Process?

In most organizations multiple departments have some involvement in the purchase/specification of products. However, the facilities management department is by far the key when it comes to buying building products.

Involvement in the final purchasing/specification decision

Facilities Management — 79%
Operations — 44%
Purchasing — 41%
Engineering — 33%
Finance — 32%
Information Technology — 13%
Sales — 5%
Human Resources — 3%

Research source: FM Buyers Journey: Content Needs and Ad Preferences

Michael Walsh recently remarked to me that he believes marketing people are not aware of how important the facility manager is to the purchase decision. He believes this ignorance is the result of FM marketers being one step removed from the actual transaction. Walsh states that most big sales are part of enterprise-wide standards programs. "Facility managers prefer a solid enterprise-wide (procurement) standards program to help meet their facilities requirements; it makes their work lives much easier from an operational perspective."

"The facility manager was always a key player (and often the only player) in helping establish enterprise-wide standards programs. There probably hasn't ever been an enterprise-wide standards program that was enacted without the FM's approval. The caveat was always: "The person who lives with the specification decision, has the final sign-off," and that is always the facility manager. Marketing people sometimes don't understand this reality."

One thing sales understands is the difficulty in getting an appointment to see the facilities executive. This is harder than getting a celebrity's daughter into Yale. 51% of FMs see sales reps less that once a month. Manufacturer reps have an even harder time getting in the door. 65% of FMs see manufacturers less than once a month. (FM Buyers Journey: Content Needs and Ad Preferences). Since reps can't get in the door, this magnifies the importance of solid marketing and advertising.

If you want insights into the FM market, the report, FM Buyers Journey: Content Needs and Ad Preferences, that I've referenced throughout this blog will be published in April. Contact me and I'll send you a pdf of the full report. In the meantime, let's continue our conversation on how facilities executives research and purchase products. It can only help us become more successful marketers.



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