Is It Getting Harder to Succeed in B2B Sales?

Seems to be a recurring theme these days when talking with B2B Sales people today. With the exception of a small group who consistently tell me they are doing extremely well.

Why the polar opposite  responses to the same concept? Many b2b sales people are doing poorly while others are doing great.

So, I guess it is time to dig into the reasons for this difference of both opinion and performance.

Here is what I am finding from my research… 

  • Decision makers do not want to waste their precious time on b2b sales people
  • Decision makers do not want to place themselves at risk with new decisions
  • Decision makers feel a budget squeeze and do not wish to push for extra expenses
  • Decision makers feel unless an objective to change comes from the top – no changes.
  • Decision makers feel they need Strong Proof before making any decisions

The above are the top five reasons b2b sales is getting tougher for your average b2b sales person. Yet, remember there are several b2b sales people who claim to be having record years – and I have seen some of these people in action.

The key for you to remember as a professional b2b sales person is your buyers and decision makers have changed and you need to approach things differently.

There are reasons decision makers are using the “No Decision” or “No Change” models more today than in the past. When you review the top five reasons above you will see a common theme and it is safety.

No I’m not taking about plant safety or working condition safety – no it is much more fundamental than that – it is about keeping their jobs!

Yes, it is as simple as making so called “Safe” Decisions for Job Security.

Decision makers are no different from the average person in they want to keep their job. Therefore, they will take no unnecessary risks. Unnecessary risks are related to making new decisions which cause change in their work place; make conversion to new suppliers a risky venture if problems arise, and then there could be political fallout when decisions are challenged by others (with separate agendas).

The second reason is more acceptable. No one today has any time to waste. Due to all the cost cutting and reorganizations there is a shortage of people to do all the work in most organizations, therefore, decision makers are usually doing the equivalent of several jobs rather than one. An recent example of this is in the Banking industry, whereby a branch manager is actually managing multiple branches rather than one.

In order to break out of the limited time barrier, you must be focused upon the business issues this decision makers is dealing with currently. Then, they will make the time necessary to allow you to help solve the issue or make a safety issue disappear.

By the way, this safety or job security is an acute problem in the United States. It is such an issue it has impacted the results of behavioral patterns found in reliable personal and professional assessments. In a recent study it was discovered a rising drive to play by others rules. This was a significant trend change according to the results. People today are PLAYING NOT TO LOSE more than in the past. This is all about job safety and security.

You action commitment today is to reflect upon your decision makers and buyers. Are they harder to reach, appointments more difficult to make, are decision appearing to fall into a black hole, No Decisions or Decision Delays more common with your customers? Then it is time to begin to change your sales strategies and models. The traditional models are broke and will not be coming back. It is time to more forward into the new world of b2b selling.

I will be exploring some of the new sales strategies and tactics in the coming b2b sales tips. In the meantime, click on the topic of Becoming a Sales Superstar and review these points as they have more meaning today – if you choose to be a professional sales person.


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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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