What is a DMU?

by Marcel Nanning | Last Updated: October 4, 2023

A DMU is a group of people who are part of the decision-making process around certain purchases. DMU stands for Decision Making Unit and is often mentioned as a factor to consider in b2b purchasing processes. However, purchase decisions also take place in the private sphere in a DMU. A family, for example, is also a DMU within which different members influence a purchase.

Within a DMU one knows a number of types of influence areas; users, buyers, decision-makers and other people who influence the buying process. An average Business-to-business purchasing decision has 6.8 stakeholders.

DMU Buyer Persona

We see the following roles in a DMU:

Tools for responding to the DMU

An example of some CRM systems that are also regularly used in the Netherlands and Belgium.

There are several tools to simplify mapping and responding to the DMU. A very important one for b2b organizations is LinkedIn. This social media platform has developed into one of the largest business networking platforms in the world. LinkedIn is also developing more and more functionality to gain more insight into target groups and to get in touch with them. This includes mapping out a DMU and responding to it with content.

CRM software for a 360 view of the DMU

One way to get a better grip on the DMU and organize interactions with target groups in the right way is good CRM software. For many organizations, the CRM system forms the basis for all marketing and sales activities. Most systems provide for the capture of company data, contact person data, interaction moments such as emails, landing page visits, phone calls, or quote requests. Some packages also go further and pull information from various sources into the system to get a more complete picture of DMU members. For example, consider news articles that have been published around the company.

Business recognition software

Another type of tooling that is useful for getting a better grip on the DMU in business-to-business environments is lead identification software. These are tools that make it possible to find out which companies and in certain cases which contacts have visited the website. Not only can CRM databases be supplemented with this and interesting analyses be done, but often these tools also offer possibilities for nurturing leads.

Different buying situations within a DMU

Then we distinguish three different buying situations within DMU, referred to as a new task, modified rebuy, and straight rebuy.

Source: ‘Foundations of Marketing’ Prof. Drs. B. Verhage

DMU structure

DMU roles change

A DMU is not a static entity. Roles of DMU members can change. For example, due to a changing composition because of a departing employee within a company. That is why many companies focus on keeping their database (such as CRM) up-to-date so that they have the right DMU members in the picture on an ongoing basis. There are also other ways to map the DMU.

How do you map out the DMU?

Personal contact
One way to map the DMU is to be in constant contact with the market (by phone, through personal sales) and in this way enrich the data in the CRM system.

Data suppliers
There are also data suppliers who can help you provide data for your DMU. Think of data suppliers like Graydon, Chamber of Commerce or Smart Profile.

Website Visitor Tracking Software
An emerging way to get a handle on a DMU is through the use of lead identification software or website visitor tracking software and tools like Online Success, SalesFeed or Leadfeeder. These tools combine data and provide direct insight into visitor profiles of website visitors. For example, by linking IP information to a database (such as the kvk database) and the website visit, direct DMU information can be provided and enriched. It is also possible to respond to the DMU in real time and contact them.

The DMU in Action: A Real-World Example

Imagine a software company deciding to upgrade its IT infrastructure by adopting a new cloud-based CRM-system. In this scenario:

Sales arguments focused on member in decision unit

In this table, we show which selling arguments are important for each member in the DMU. You can see that the weight of different arguments is different for each member. By responding to these in the best possible way, you provide your potential customer with the best possible information.👇

DMU MemberRelevant Sales Arguments
Initiator (Sales Manager)1. Increased Sales Opportunities: Highlight how the new system can open up more avenues to capitalize on sales opportunities and generate additional revenue from existing customers.
2. Enhanced Customer Engagement: Emphasize how the system can improve customer relationships and loyalty, leading to higher sales.
3. Revenue Growth: Showcase how the new system can contribute to revenue growth through improved sales processes and customer management.
Gatekeeper (CIO)1. Data Security: Stress the system’s robust data security measures to ensure sensitive information is protected, meeting IT strategy requirements.
2. System Integration: Explain how the system seamlessly integrates with existing IT infrastructure, reducing disruptions and enhancing efficiency.
3. Compatibility: Highlight how the system aligns with the company’s overarching IT strategy, emphasizing its compatibility and benefits to the existing setup.
Influencers (Senior Marketers)1. Audience Segmentation: Showcase how the system enables precise audience segmentation for targeted marketing campaigns.
2. Marketing Automation: Highlight the system’s marketing automation capabilities, which can streamline marketing efforts and improve campaign effectiveness.
3. Increased ROI: Explain how the new system can lead to a higher return on investment in marketing activities by optimizing processes and campaigns.
Decider (CEO/Executive)1. Company Reputation: Emphasize the reputation and track record of the solution provider, instilling confidence in the company’s choice.
2. Research Results: Present the results of preliminary research, demonstrating that the decision is well-informed and based on thorough analysis.
3. Status and Brand: If applicable, highlight the brand and status associated with the chosen solution, as these factors may influence the decision.
Buyer (Procurement)1. Pricing Model: Clearly outline the pricing model of the system, demonstrating its cost-effectiveness and suitability within the budget constraints.
2. Additional Costs: Provide a comprehensive breakdown of any additional costs, such as implementation or ongoing support, to ensure transparency.
3. Budget Alignment: Show how the investment aligns with the available budget and how it maximizes value for the organization.
Users (Employees)1. User-Friendliness: Stress the user-friendliness of the system, highlighting its ease of use and reduced learning curve for employees.
2. Training and Support: Offer training options and support to ensure users can effectively utilize the new system from day one.
3. Trial Versions: Provide access to trial versions or demos, allowing users to experience the system firsthand and assess its suitability.

Responding to the DMU with Account Based Marketing

A term we see more often in Business-to-Business Marketing is Account Based Marketing. This means that a unique marketing campaign is set up on a mini-segment or a single company. One also speaks of hyper-targeting.

Within this type of campaign, a lot of attention is paid to working with the DMU. By adapting the message to the members within the DMU it is more appropriate. This makes the message more relevant and increases the chance of impact. It is therefore an efficient way of reaching target groups in the right way. This form of marketing is often applied to larger accounts or accounts with a higher order value. It can also mean a lot for accounts with a larger, more complex DMU structure.

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