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What is Buying and Selling?

Baskar Sundaram

Usually, in any procurement, there will be a buyer (customer/prospect) and a seller (vendor/bidder). The buyer may be an individual, a group of individuals, a large corporate, or a group of corporates. Similarly, the sellers too can be categorised broadly.

We should first understand and simplify the procurement process thoroughly in order to understand the activities of procurement and Bid Management. On a daily basis, we buy goods or services or a mix of both while some of us sell goods or services or a mix of both. Daily, we come across various instances of buying or selling. They may be one-to-one sale or one-to-many or business–to–business (B2B) or business–to–customer (B2C) or any other possible mode. Let us start with understanding the simplest.

Buyer

As you know, the buyer buys goods/services. Buyers are individuals or organisations of varied sizes who buy goods/services from the market. The buyer may be a small private company, a large enterprise, a government(central/state) department or any other body with an intention to procure goods/services. You may come across terms such as buyer Organisation, customer, client, department, purchaser, government, ministry, etc. All these terms indicate the ‘Buyer’.

Seller

As you know, the seller sells goods/services. Just like buyers, sellers are also individuals or organisations of varied sizes who sell goods/services in the market. The seller may be a small private company, a large enterprise, a government (central/state) department or any other body with an intention to sell goods/services. You may find a few terms such as bidding organisation, bidder, vendor, proposer, supplier, contractor, partner agency, agent, etc. All these indicate the ‘Seller’.

Simple One-to-One Sale

Simple sales are like the name suggests, simple. This is usually a simple and short transactional sales that happens on a faily basis. These types of sales are often low risk, routine, widely available, and commodity items. Some examples of a simple sale are: groceries, hygiene products, restaurant food, and essentially anything you could get at Walmart.

Complex Sale

Complex sales, also known as enterprise sales, refers to a type of sale that is relatively large and resource-intensive. It typically involves selling large-scale solutions to corporate customers. Customer acquisition cost is high, but the rewards are also higher.

Complex sales, or enterprise sales, can be contrasted with self-service, where customers buy without needing a salesperson at all, or transactional sales, where there is a salesperson involved, but there are likely to be relatively few touch points. A complex sale involves multiple stakeholders, a longer sales cycle, and a high degree of perceived risk on the part of the buyer.

There are likely to be several other factors in the complex sales process. The deal is likely to be business-to-business (b2b). There may be a request for proposal (RFP) which means you will be competing against a number of other sellers. You may have to sell a customized product designed especially for the buyer. It is likely to involve a high price. Some examples of a complex sale are: website design, manufacturing machinery, real estate, and anything that requires a level of customization.

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