The first four stages of the B2B buying process – at least as far as I’m concerned – are awareness of a problem or opportunity, defining that problem or opportunity, briefing the requirements to fix the problem or capitalise on the opportunity and evaluating the alternatives.

The fifth stage is selecting the best of the available alternatives. This is the narrowing down of the candidates to one preferred candidate and negotiating with them on the terms of the deal. This is where the risks start to further increase for the buying company, since they are moving towards investment and tying themselves in with a supplier for some defined period of time.  There is also the opportunity cost of not going with any of the other alternatives to consider.

As with the fourth stage, the selection phase can take a frustratingly long time for both buying and selling organisation, but it’s important that the terms are correct and fair for both parties for the long term welfare of the partnership.