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Who is a Head Buyer: definition, responsibilities, and buyer profile

Head buyer

A head buyer, or purchasing manager, is the senior-most buyer in a company. A junior buyer is someone who researches products, goods, and services the company may be interested in, and the head buyer, who is in charge of these junior buyers, calls the final shot in opening a sales exchange with the companies selling those products, goods, and services. 

Knowing and researching head buyers of target companies, as well as creating attractive offers, is one of the main responsibilities of B2B sales reps.

Head buyers are responsible for buying the best products, goods and services at the best, most competitive prices. Head buyers often work in a wide range of sectors depending on the organization. The job responsibilities may be the same as those of a junior buyer or purchasing agent, but also may include supervisory or managerial authority.

Head buyer responsibilities

The head buyer usually has more responsibilities than a junior buyer. They seek out or are contacted by potential sellers, vendors, and suppliers, and pick which have the best goods and services, the best prices for their products, as well as determine the amounts and timing of the delivery. This requires building relationships with the sellers in order to be able to haggle and negotiate agreements for the best prices. Head buyers often negotiate contracts, as well. 

A big responsibility is anticipating future needs and demands, too, by analyzing trends and market data. Without this forward planning, a company can find itself stuck without the things it needs to function. All products, goods, and services must be kept up-to-date, and the head buyer is ultimately responsible for that.

Head buyers can also spend a lot of time traveling to attend conferences, where they meet with sellers and scout for new sourcing opportunities. These conferences are the sellers’ opportunity to court buyers.

Overall, the main head buyer responsibilities can be outlined in this list:

  • Research, choose and purchase quality products and services
  • Build relationships with reliable suppliers and negotiate with them for the best pricing
  • Ensure that stock levels are kept at appropriate levels to facilitate business performance
  • Arrange transport of goods and track orders to ensure timely delivery
  • Analyze market trends and apply this knowledge to make insightful buying decisions
  • Provide leadership, coordination, and coaching to the team, ensuring they are trained to achieve the operational and financial goals

Head buyer persona

Being a head buyer requires specific qualities that are worth mentioning. A head buyer is going to be strong-willed but amiable in order to deal with sellers day in and day out, a capable leader, a highly critical thinker, a skilled negotiator and networker, and an experienced buyer. One cannot walk into a company and hope to immediately become a head buyer without experience, education, and a personality that gets things done.

Creating a head buyer persona is similar to, and just as important as creating a buyer persona when it comes to B2B sales, as most B2B company sales reps will be dealing with either junior or senior buyers when trying to sell their product. Selling to B2B buyers is also more complicated than B2C buyers. The whole process is conveniently outlined in this slideshow:

When searching for head buyer contacts, it can be useful to establish personal contact at conferences or use email finders to find the exact email address of the head buyer directly on the company website.

Buyers and SaaS

When choosing which software as a service to use, buyers take a lot into account, especially the value of the service for its price. They also must take into consideration what exactly the company needs and if one service can cover all bases instead of having to buy multiple services to cover it all.

A SaaS company generally takes the first step in the selling of their service. They contact potential buyers, consult them on their service, and convince the buyer they need the service. From there, the buyer collects more information by researching the service, considers the costs in comparison to its value and usefulness, sometimes schedules demos to analyze the ease of implementation, etc.

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