Seven Types of B2B Selling

I keep getting questions about the types of b2b selling. Then I get additional questions regarding how do the different types match up. Or what is important with each type or model of selling?

So today I want to clear the air and tell you about the seven types of b2b selling you can use. And, I will give some background to each type. What I will not do is label all the different sales training and development packages. Each seems to have added their name to one of the original b2b sales methods.

So, here you are – the seven different b2b sales methods… 

Seven Types of B2B Sales Methods

  1. Traditional Model
    This model of b2b selling is based in the old school of short term selling. This is an activity based selling method. The key is to get bids and quotes into the marketplace on a daily basis and hope the bid is good enough to get the sale. This method creates a high expense factor due to the random nature of having to build quotes and proposals without really having a relationship with a buyer or even understanding the buying criteria. Also, the game is all about calling on as many possible prospects or customers as possible in a day. Timing is everything.
  2. Order Takers
    This is more an inbound process whereby the customer or prospect calls into a customer service or inside sales team to place an order. Somewhat related to the traditional selling model due to the fact b2b sales people have called on the prospect and left information. However, this model is not usually about outside sales people – as outbound inside sales calls can be used to drive buying, fax blasts, catalogs with direct mail offers, and more recently internet driven offers using a combination of emails and websites drive this method.
  3. Commodity
    Closely related to the traditional model with one exception. This model was created due to poor sales skills by the traditional sales teams. Here the buyers do not believe products and services can be differentiated by anything other than price. Thus, the commodity nature of bidding on low pricing to make a sale. The underlying assumption is to beat your competitors price to make the sale. Problem here is anyone of your competitors can choose to lower their prices at any given time to win the business. There is usually no loyalty or long term accounts using this model. However, there are some companies or industries that have mastered this selling technique – such as the meat industries, raw materials industries – copper, gold, paper, etc.
  4. Relationship
    This model of selling can be somewhat confusing to the new b2b sales person since so many people talk about relationship selling. However, the truth is building relationships is very important in most industries, yet, it is not the slam dunk many assume. The fact is you must have more than a relationship to get and keep the business. In other words, the relationship in most cases just gets the door open for you. Your success will be based upon what you have to offer that makes a strong business case for the buyer. Just because the buyer likes you, does not mean you get the account. It certainly helps and will get you opportunities you would not have had without the relationship.
  5. ROI
    Return on Investment selling is making a big comeback during the tough economic times. Here the objective is to show a return in the form of either increased revenue for the customer or cost savings equal to or greater than the amount of purchase. The greater the return, the higher the probability of success from the sales transaction of your solution. Financial types and C Level executives use the ROI equations on a regular basis for large or material purchases.
  6. Consultative
    While consultative selling has many origins and the term is used quite frequently, the clear source of the consultative selling model came from Mack Hanan who coined the phrase with his book – Consultative Selling. The simple overview of consultative selling is to act like a peer with the decision maker, ask excellent questions to uncover problems and issues you can fix, create business plans to fix the problems or issues and show the decision maker both the ROI and payback period of your business solution or offering. This method is found more in the major account or national accounts arena and is not used very often in the short term make a sale model. Here you are focused upon developing an account rather than making a sale.
  7. Value Added
  8. One of the most over used and least understood sales models today. Yet, when used properly this can be a source of high profit selling. The model requires a more professional approach based upon the questioning system to uncover problems, issues and consequences to the status quo. Using either a bundling approach or a combination of solutions which usually have services and high touch variables. Often this model includes a “success factor” fee after the ROI has been met or exceeded. This acts as a bonus plan for a sales offer and some feel it is a pure performance fee plan. Again, the customer receives added value – over an above the routine product purchase – and the sales person or team receives percentage of profits from the deal.

If you have any questions about these seven models of b2b selling, please send me a message by using the contact me page. I truly enjoy hearing from the real b2b sales people in the field. Or if you need an immediate answer to a question, call my office at 901-757-4434 during the hours of 9 to 5 central time USA.

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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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