Monday, May 25, 2009

When Anyone and Everyone Makes Decisions

One way that economic development marketing is has changd significantly in recent years is the increasing number of persons involved in the sales process.

Old sales methods do not prepare the economic developer for today's complex decision making chain. Sales traiing (if we received any at all) teach us to find the one decision maker and focus all our efforts on them.

The problem is we don't know who that is anymore. It could be anyone and everyone. Site selection consultants may act as an initial screening tool. A corporate real estate executive may lead the process. Operational management is consulted along with representatives of human resources, finance, logistics and other functional areas. All have their own biases for optimizing one location over another.

This before it gets to the C-suite for final decision making. Once there, it often gets beyond number crunching to emotion. The former CEO of a major advertising and printing company considered moving the company to the town of his college alma mater simply because he once played quarterback on their football team.

Efforts to increase collaboration within enterprises has led to decision making by committee. What used to be an individual or small group decision has now become a "team" decision, and it’s rare that the economic developer will ever be able to address all of them at once.

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