How is B2B sales different than when you are selling to a person acting on behalf of an organization, as opposed to a person acting purely in her own self interest? This video addresses these topics.
- It's really different to sell to individual consumers versus selling to a company. Even if you have experience with business-to-consumer selling, also know as B2C, of high-ticket, sophisticated products to consumers, things like cars, travel or real estate, you will need new skills when selling in a B2B environment. If you're selling to someone representing a business, you have multiple people to please. You have to understand the needs of the company as well as the individuals buyer's needs and the needs of the people who are actually going to be using the product.
The professional buyer herself is very different from a consumer. She may or may not be using the thing she buys herself. She probably buys less on emotion and desire and more on key performance metrics from her boss. She's likely to be evaluated on the quality of her purchase, how well it meets the needs of the organization and how much value she's getting for the company's investment. After the sale, you will want to stay in touch with this buyer as a reference, as a source of referrals, and in case they want to buy from you in the future, just like with a consumer buyer.
But building a relationship with a professional buyer can be tricky because they often aren't allowed to receive gifts or socialize with sales people, and if your buyer leaves one company for another, you may have to start over at your customer's company with someone new. The buying process is also totally different when you're selling to a business and not an individual. Often, the buying company issues a request for proposals, or RFP, which outlines their criteria and which must be answered in writing by interested salespeople.
If you are selling in a B2B model, you need to understand the company's process, asking a lot of questions up front to qualify the buyer before you invest a lot of time. Sometimes, this qualification process is handled by a different department, inside sales, so that the salesperson can focus on closing deals, not identifying them. Because the stakes are often so high in B2B selling, B2B salespeople are generally paid really well and given support teams to help them manage multiple simultaneous deals.
It may sound like B2B selling is so different from B2C selling that there's no shared skills. That's not true. At its core, selling is selling. It's ultimately about knowing the features and benefits of the products you sell, and it's about demonstrating how these products meet or exceed the needs and desires of your perspective customers.
- A typical day in B2B sales
- Meeting with prospects
- Handling objections
- Closing the deal
- Getting a job in B2B sales
- Building out B2B sales goals and sales teams