The purpose of this article is to extend the understanding of the industrial buying process in connection with purchasing professional business (B2B) services, specifically human resource (HR) consulting services. Early B2B buying-behavior literature strongly emphasizes the rational aspects of buying behavior in B2B services. Based on a comprehensive exploratory study of Danish companies’ purchases of HR consulting services, the authors provide insights into the factors that determine how Danish companies choose a consulting services supplier. Five hypotheses are developed based on a literature review. The results show that buying behavior is much less rational than has been presumed. For example, it is revealed that a consultant’s personal relationships to customers can often compensate for the consultant’s lack of knowledge. This suggests that consultants’ developing long-term personal relationships with customers is one of the most important key success factors in the consulting industry. Another important result that emerged from the study is customers’ specific desire to actively participate in the production of consulting services.
I U P Journal of Marketing Management, 2013, Vol XII, Issue 3, p. 27-51
B2B buying behaviour, Services, Human ressorce, consulting services, industrial buying behaviour, survey research