B2B Selling has Changed – Have You?

I don’t know if you have noticed a major change in selling, yet, I started to notice some major changes in the B2B Selling World during the past four years. And, yes, the Great Recession has a major role in the changing dynamic of our world of selling.

First, let’s look at some of the trends started during the past four to five years.

  • Consolidation of Industries and Niche Industries
  • Customers demand lower costs
  • Product Knowledge is known by our customers & prospects
  • Old techniques and tactics are basically useless
  • Real Decision Makers have disappeared from the Sales Process

 The Consolidation of Industries is a major issue as there are fewer small and midsized companies for the B2B Sales Person to target. The consolidation of companies into larger and larger organizations has accelerated along with the bankruptcies of other competitors within an industry leaving mostly monopolistic market share entities. These Larger organizations and Niche monopolies use committees, buying groups and lower level evaluators in their buying process. This is giving the b2b sales person fewer opportunities using any type of traditional sales tactics or techniques.

Customers and Prospects due to the near monopolistic attitude are demanding price cuts or actually try to set our prices in their buying process. The undisciplined sales person will roll over and cut their prices just to get the deal. Margins are becoming tighter and tighter. Large organizations (such as Walmart) are actually teaching other organizations how to pinch their suppliers for lower costs.

Product Knowledge ( 85% of all Traditional Sales Training) is no longer important to the buyers. They are using the internet to learn more about your products than you know about your products, competitive products, and specifications. The internet sourcing has replaced the sales person relative to base level product details and specifications.

Traditional Sales Tactics and Techniques are no longer effective with the larger organizations. In fact, the traditional sales methods used actually cause more problems and issues for a sales person today that they know or understand. Even my favorite sales focus of using questions has lost most of its effectiveness, particularly if you use the old “What’s keeping you up at night?” question. This is not effective today.

And finally “where have all the decision makers gone?” which sounds like an old Peter, Paul and Mary song phrase – is a major concern for sales people today. It is really getting difficult to actually meet with a decision maker due to all the security at organizations, lack of administrative assistants to tell you what is happening, and most importantly – this huge shift in decision roles. No longer does it appear cool to be “the decision maker” and more of a consensus  or get “buy-in” from everyone involved has become the “new Norm.”

So what does this mean for the B2B Sales Person of today?

You need to find some new thought processes for effectively selling in today’s market environment.

Now being a research based kind of guy rather than following the ivory tower types who share complicated theories and concepts – I prefer to follow the path of the successful b2b sales people. Find out what they are doing, modify it to your industry-products-market, and then execute willfully with focus, determination and discipline.

So, I have observed b2b sales people who have been exceeding the results of others by large percentages and I have read research based sales books to learn what does work today. And what I have learned is amazing and more importantly it works!

There are three traits used by the most successful type of b2b sales people today.

  1. They Teach the Customer
    It is not about the product or service, it is about best practices, trends and directions of their industry, market research and new technology in their respective areas.
  2. They are Innovative
    The best b2b sales people are always pushing the envelope relative to creativity and innovative ideas and ways of doing things to help the customer make more money or cut their expenses. The Status Que is not an option.
  3. They Maintain Control of the Sales Process
    This is big. Most sales people defer to the whims of the customer or prospect allowing them to take control of the both the buying and sales process. The best of breed sales people are taking back the control of the sales process and keeping the sales opportunity in play. They know over 35% of the time if left to the customer or prospect the results is “no decision” – so they maintain control and keep the engagement going in the sales process.

This is a quick overview of the new information – the main reason I have been missing in action from the blog over the last two months as I have been researching and testing the information. And, from my experience it is extremely true.

You need to set the RSS feed to your browser or check in on a weekly basis as I will be sharing more detailed information during the coming months. This information will have you achieve more this year than last year and set you up for an even better year coming up.


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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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