Just thinking about issues and problems our customers are experiencing and then realized most of the b2b sales people have the same issues or problems confronting them on a daily basis.
This factor is somewhat unique in we can learn from our customers and our customers can learn from us – if we choose to communicate with each other about these serious business interrupters.
If you’re interested in these five common problems experienced in the world of b2b sales, well here are the five problems…
Our friend and enemy today is the Internet. It can help us learn about our customers to be better prepared. Then the customer may take your information and instantly source alternatives across the world in nanoseconds. It is a double-edged sword that is helping us one minute and killing our sales opportunity the next. Also, one important factor, the Internet is the tool of choice our customers use to learn about our products and all the alternatives they can use.
The commodity effect has taken a huge bite out of our ability to stay in the high margin game. In fact, our customers have taken to forcing our products into standardized boxes – even if we have a different product than the category they are placing us in – which causes excessive bidding, RFP’s and even Reverse Auctions to minimize our ability to make profits. This is a world where differentiation can rule before the “me – too” groups show up. Make a difference with your selling process – take your solutions in the business fit world with clear ROI that solve their issue. The best way to help your customer is to help them differentiate for their customers. Everyone wins except the copy cat commodity group.
- Reverse Engineering
With all the competitors and new entrepreneurs around the globe, the break down of your products can be done in a very short period of time as compared to the a decade or two ago. Back in the “good old days” your product could be a difference maker for several years or even decades. This is not the case today. The copy cat groups can have an exact replica of your product in months, weeks or even days. GEEZ! What happened to fair play? Greed took its place.
Again, a double edged sword for the business of today. First, most businesses want to export their products overseas to the emerging markets where their is more demand and higher margins for every product. The risks are somewhat higher, yet, the returns are greater. And, depending upon what you are selling, the size of the market classes are huge compared to so the USA. And, then there is dark side of globalization. This is where the low cost providers can crop up overnight and begin competing with you. Ethics in some of the emerging countries is an after thought at best. Copying and reverse engineering create problems for us and our customers. Yet, one thing is for certain – globalization is here to stay and we need to learn how to be competitive in this new market.
- New Technologies
Some of the Baby Boomer aged people croon for the good old days when things were slower paced and change was somewhat limited. It was a time of certainty and stability of markets and products alike. Now our world is defined by the ever changing landscape of innovation and totally new technologies taking a new path for consumers and businesses alike. Entire new industries can occur based upon a series of new technologies. Smart phones are dominating the communications world. The tablet computers are replacing desktops and laptop computers at an accelerating pace are just a couple of examples. Even manufacturing processes are changing with the computer driven production machines and the nanotechnology world and their clean world manufacturing spaces. The key for the b2b sales person is to stay current on the new technologies and use everything that simplifies your work flow, automates the routine, and allows to meaningful and timely communication with your customers. Again, it is the new “Norm” so embrace it and learn how to use and apply it today.
Review the five common problems and reflect first on how each one impacts your b2b sales success today and how they will impact you in the future. Then create a list or action plans to minimize the damage and increase the effectiveness of your efforts.
Then, take time to reflect upon how these five common problems will impact your customers. Decide if they will be more on the negative or positive side with you and your company. Then begin to formula a plan of action to minimize the negative and increase the positive. Think about how you could position yourself differently in the future to take advantage of the each of the five problems.