Interestingly I am questioned frequently by b2b sales people and sales managers about how to make b2b sales work right every time.
Well, sometime the answer is not what they want to hear. “B2B Selling is simply a Process.”
Yet, the traditionally trained sales people and sales managers want it to be an event. You know what I mean here – make a single call, talk to a decision maker and get a contract!
Yes, it did work that way – back in the 50’s and 60’s when everything you could make was sold immediately. That was a special time in the world of selling. Basically all markets were being created at the time and growth was the name of the game. IF you could build it, you could sell it and sell it quickly.
Today is a totally different game. Due to things like the internet – which told away the sales person role as the holder of product knowledge – and global competition for products (as in cheaper.) we have a new set of challenges.
Thus the emerging of the sales process. There is a structured process to follow in major account selling. In fact, if you skip parts of the process it usually comes back to bite you where you do not like to be bite – if you know what I mean. ?
For those of you who have studied the make up of the sales process and understand exactly how it works – well you make a good living by following it closely.
The buyers also understand the sales process and when they have been working with a b2b sales superstar, they want to create an event for all the late comers to the party.
How do they do this you ask? They send out RFP’s or RFQ’s to those of you who are late to the game. They do this to make certain the investment numbers given by the primary seller are somewhat competitive. It also allows them put some pressure on the primary sellers to possibly lower their price. Yes, price is an early and often point of interest in every sales process.
Every b2b sales person needs to sit down and map out your sales process. In other words, how do you make your sales. Reflect upon your best sales ever made. What steps did you take when you made it happen? In fact, write out the steps taken on your ten best sales clearly identifying everything you did working up to the agreement. Did you see a trend in the steps taken? That is your process for b2b sales.
Now, take a look at five to ten sales opportunities that got away from you. Again, write down everything you did – and in the order you did them.
Compare the first group of successful b2b sales to the unsuccessful sales. Is there a theme for you to consider? If you are like me and most of my clients, you will notice gaps in the unsuccessful or you were invited into the sales process skipping several of the key milestones in your sales process.
One last point regarding your sales process. I assume you have done this exercise or are about to sit down and do it. So, once you have the sales process written down – take another long look at the elements. You will notice a set of major points or elements involved in the b2b sales process. These are the major milestones of your sales process. These are equally important to you as I will explain in a later b2b sales tips.