Salespeople who have been involved in the B2C sales world for years might find B2B sales frustrating when they first enter it, especially due to the sheer amount of bureaucracy and extended time frames involved. While B2B sales can be extremely rewarding from a financial standpoint, there is a different skill set involved and different approaches to getting the sale.
Effective B2B sales training will differentiate between these two disciplines and teach not only sales basics, but the specific challenges likely to be encountered when dealing with a company’s buying process, which can be daunting for beginners.
One differentiator between B2C sales and B2B sales is that the latter often requires approval from multiple “buyers” within a single organization. While there may be only one point of contact and one decision maker, there are behind-the-scenes personnel who can greatly influence the purchasing decision.
In a typical organization, these can be broken down into the following classes of buyers:
Despite the multiple decision makers who influence the purchasing decision, there is ultimately only one person who has the real power to say “yes” to a proposal. Identifying this person should be a priority, as impressing them with expected results and selling to them specifically will increase the chances of a sale, especially if your proposal is meeting opposition from other executives.
In most cases, this is the Strategic Buyer (the CEO), but this responsibility might be delegated. The final decision maker could be uncovered by gently probing with questions such as, “Should our proposal be in the running, who is my point of contact for ironing out any wrinkles in getting approval?” This will lead to the decision maker or to someone close enough to the decision maker to have a great deal of influence.
B2B sales training should emphasize the development of coaches. The coach is your internal champion, someone with whom your buyer has a professional or personal relationship who will advocate for you and provide information unobtainable from any other source. He or she is your “Ace in the Hole.”
The support of a coach can mean the difference between getting the sale or not, as one can deliver access to C-suite execs who are hard to get a hold of, and also advocate for your product or service to the decision makers and influencers.
In summary, for B2B sales training to be effective, it must be applied towards selling to not only the various layers of approval, but to the specific people who get to say the final “yes,” which might not be so obvious at first. The development of internal coaches is another invaluable tool in the B2B sales kit.
These are some of the major distinctions between selling to businesses and selling to consumers, and must be addressed in order to succeed in B2B sales.
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