Seems writings about the new school and the new “norm” for b2b selling is catching many sales people off guard. The interesting thing is they were all aware that something was going on – yet, just thought it was a by-product of the recession on businesses.
While the recession did contribute to the issue or the speed of implementation, the real issues having been gaining traction for the past decade. And, they will continue to grow in influence and have a negative influence upon the unprepared b2b sales person or their b2b selling company. In fact, I believe Sales Executives who set the strategy and sales processes for their organizations need to place more importance on the changing marketplace.
So, what is going on that is influencing the b2b sales world in a negative way. Why is it harder to meet with decision makers and even identify who the decision makers will be? There seem to be four reasons or factors leading this change in the “norm.”
Okay, here are the Big Four Reasons…
- Bigger and Global Companies
Since the late 1970’s companies have been merging and growing in size. Some used a strategy of buying their competition in order to gain dominance in their markets. While this has been a successful business strategy it has placed a burden upon the world of b2b sales. There are fewer companies to buy your products and services, thus, the have’s are placing more pressure on their suppliers in the form of single sourcing and pricing pressure.
- Technology Usage
Buyers, executives and their organizations have become more embracing of the benefits or practices provided by the use of emergent technology. Text messaging has made the decision process for b2b sales people develop a super sense of urgency. The web has created new and more efficient competition or outlets for product information and comparisons. Then there is usage of voice mail to screen all calls with a simple delete button (no call backs allowed policies or attitudes!!) Gatekeepers who are invisible due to use of texting, voice mail and email with no return address.
- Greater Competition
Mentioned above the world of technology has introduced world wide competition. No to mention how fast new products can be copied and sold cheaper and faster than ever before. Then there is the issue of non-traditional competitors going after you best customers – usually due to their relationships built while selling other products and services you never considered as competition. Several companies have learned the importance of infrastructure in the world of b2b selling, having lost business to companies who had better distribution systems or enterprise wide systems which connected easily with your former customer. Ouch!
- Change in Buyer Attitudes
This one really has had a major impact, particularly on the demise of the “good ole boy” selling network. Buyers no longer have the time to waste educating sellers, nor can be “schmoozed” as in the past due to policies and rules set up to eliminate these advantages created by b2b sales people. Buyers do not want to take calls using a battery of methods to keep sales people away – security systems, locked gates with guards, visitor lists, no parties, free donuts, voice mail and other systems designed to keep the unwanted away. Welcome to the new world of b2b sales.
There are the big four of reasons the world of b2b sales is changing. Be on notice the trends will get worst before there will be any improvement or change in standards. There is only one way to differentiate in today’s business to business selling environment.
You the sales person must begin to learn how to sale at higher levels without using ANY Traditional Sales Tactics. If you use any sales tactics – you lose. The key is learn to be a strategic value added business expert who happens to sell for your company. When you become good at this type of b2b selling – you will move into the limited ranks of the B2B Sales Superstar.
Make a decision to begin your change today. It will not happen overnight. You must practice your new skills and models before ever getting in front of a real live customer. Practice Makes Perfect – reminder the Success Mindset?
If you need assistance or guidance in this change process, contact me at 901-757-4434 to have a discussion of the different ways to master this change of selling methodology. It is up to you. If you feel it is a bigger issue, then help me connect to your Executives for a strategic discussion on possible change needed to increase opportunities and differentiate your company in the marketplace – before it is too late.