If B2B selling of new technology was easy, then I would have to retire… again. Everyone would be at it.
But while the elements of B2B selling have been extensively charted for decades, it’s the consistent application of these when talking face to face (or Zoom to Zoom) that makes sales happen faster and with mutual profit.
At the top of the B2B Maslow-like hierarchy, the very best deals – those that deliver significant value equally to both the buyer and the seller – are driven by values that inspire both sides.
If you’re running a commodity-style deal, no-one really gets fired up about things, but if your product or service can for example change the world for the better, or drive increased social responsibility, then everyone gets excited, leadership from both sides make promises that they want to deliver, and the troops are galvanised.
But in B2B sales, being able to change the world isn’t enough...
At the very heart of the deal has to be technology or service offerings that are fit for purpose, that fit operationally with existing deployments, that integrate and make users’ lives easier. Let’s hope your R&D team have figured this stuff out.
There’s probably a customer strategic imperative that is driving the acquisition of new tech – driving quality, or reducing risk, or driving reach and range of the organisation. Your product management team will have identified these early and guided the product/service mix to fit the target market.
An ROI will need to be measured so that time and money savings are evidenced, or customer transparency is delivered, or new business closed. Your installation and consultancy teams will need to be fully clued up on this.
And in between the heart of the deal – the tech that just works and delivers ROI – and the value that makes the project inspire leadership, lies the mucky parts of the sales process, where the B2B salesperson earns her corn.
How to gain access to the client’s senior leadership team in order to inspire them?
How to understand and roll with the competing political and personal objectives inside the customer’s organisation?
How to “house-train” both buyer and seller organisations so that they know how to get the best out of each other? What does “easy to do business with” mean for both organisations?
How to make the deal a no-brainer for everyone?
For many people, managing these issues to fruition is impossible. For example, very few product managers and developers feel comfortable about even analysing sales situations, let alone stepping in to manage and deliver a result.
But swimming in this sea of ambiguity, of fluidity, and of highly dynamic change is why B2B salespeople do what they do and still have a smile at the end of the week.
In tech, being able to change the world isn’t enough – actually delivering that world-changing event is what counts.
So when you see a tech product that has changed the world, you can assume that it was probably a B2B salesperson that made it happen.
To find out how we add value in B2B tech sales, contact us...
Methodical ramblings after twenty-five years in Sales, Marketing and SalesOps.