The B2B, or business to business, buying journey has an unwritten set of rules that should be acknowledged and considered when selling your products and services. Many of our clients voice frustrations with the selling process in this space. However, we redirect that energy to help them focus on the buying process—the process your prospective customers must go through to buy from you. It’s often just a matter of sitting on the other side of the table and empathizing with your buyer.
3 Things to Remember About B2B Sales
…To help you empathize with your buyer:
1. Your prospect’s timeline for buying and your timeline for selling is entirely different.
Your prospect’s timeline is almost always longer than yours. Your urgency is not their urgency. Before you begin a sales process, ask yourself up front: How will I account for this? At TPM Focus, we advise that having consistently enough opportunities and leads in the pipeline is always a cure for concerns about revenue scarcity from not closing deals fast enough.
2. The larger your prospect’s organization, the more people involved in the decision-making, and the more due diligence will be done on you as the seller.
Imagine if you were in your prospective customer’s shoes and a small, new, or unproven vendor tried to sell you a new software or service for your company. Would you be confident enough to put your job on the line if the solution doesn’t work out for your company after selecting it? Most people would say no, and thus, they involve many people in the organization to help them make buying decisions. With that in mind, back to point #1 made above—your urgency is not theirs, so you must account for other internal priorities taking precedence over deciding to respond to you or further engage you about buying your product. Furthermore, there are holidays, vacation days, travel, and sick days that are variables that affect the availability of everyone involved and thus usually prevent a timely consensus.
3. Your prospect wants to do what’s best for their organization as well as demonstrate their exceptional capabilities.
Before approaching a prospect, research their current roles and the next role they may be seeking for promotion into. Your solution, if transformative enough to their organization, could catapult their career to the next level. Confidently communicate how the decision to work with you to champion the purchase of your product will specifically improve the organization, highlighting their competencies and leadership as a result. Sharing data, case studies, customer testimonials, etc. are all ways to help build credibility with your prospective customer.
It’s Not That Simple (though we all wish it could be)
Empathizing with the B2B buyer’s journey will help you become more patient with the selling process and prevent knee-jerk reactions when you experience the perceived setback, inconsistent communications, or requests for more validation of your claims, company, or otherwise. These 3 key points will help set expectations and prepare you for the journey as well. Every business owner wishes there could be one conversation and the deal is done (almost never happens), but the reality is that there are several other factors that add complexity to the transactions. The majority of sales involve understanding how to communicate and work with people and people are complex beings. And remember, so are the organizations they work for. Complexity breeds more complexity.
What frustrations have you experienced in B2B sales?
Do you think you just need more salespeople? We’ve found that to be the incorrect solution in most cases. To the shock of many of our clients, we found their low sales to be the result of a bigger problem during our analysis of their revenue engine. Message us if you would like more information that’s specific to your situation.
In the meantime, access our free “Who Do You Want To Sell To?” workbooks if you’d like to kick off OR restart your efforts. Creating and launching new products is all about iterating, so starting over is actually encouraged (and applauded) in innovation. It shows that learning has occurred and that new information is being incorporated into your decision-making.