I’m departing a little from my normal topics here, because a lot of sales people stay in “sales” but switch industries, and I want to take a quick look at what it means to move from B2C sales to B2B sales.
Enterprise Sales And What to Expect from Them
B2B, Business to Business, is a branch of sales dealing with enterprise sales exclusively. It’s often a natural development for a B2C (business to consumer) salesman to “rank up” and proceed with finding a job in B2B sales. As a salesman or a manager, if you are about to transition into B2B, it’s good to know what to expect before diving in. Here’s an outline.
Up your game
When selling to consumers, sometimes all it takes to make a sale happen is a good lead, skilled eloquence and a dash of personal charm. Business sales, on the contrary, have a greater requirement for sales skills and experience. The reason for that being that your targets will no longer be regular people whose lives you’re trying to help improve. This time you’re going to be working with trained professional buyers, often in very high positions, who will see right through you the second you show up. They have bulletproof techniques to work sellers like dough to get the lowest price they can, and they will not thank you for wasting their time with pointless offers, should that be the case.
Because they’re pro’s, they will initially appear intimidating and unreachable. That’s why standing your ground is so important, together with a perfect knowledge of your product and some extra knowledge of the particular prospect’s needs on top. With that equipment, the chances of getting their attention and the opportunity to close a deal will improve.
Money, money, money
Get ready to accept quota as the number one driving force in this field. You’re not helping individuals with improving their lives by selling them a set of steak knives or a holiday trip here. You’re selling goods and services that businesses need to do their business, or to do it better. A good B2B salesman is attentive but efficient. Your quota is what everyone looks at first, when hiring or when giving out a pay check, and you want to make sure that it’s in the green.
Build a relationship
Establishing strong relationships is one of the most important parts of B2B sales. Once a sale is closed and customer satisfaction has been reached, everybody involved wants to stay in touch and keep the business alive. But it’s up to you to make sure that happens. Whenever you follow up, don’t just follow up. Add a personal touch to each call you make to give the impression that you care, and that you’ve been thinking of making their customer experience even better the whole time you didn’t talk. This kind of attitude will lead to exponential returns, maybe even referrals, and that’s exactly what you’re after.
At least at the beginning you probably will. Just like in every job, starting out is the toughest part and the feeling of working 25/8 will be inevitable. But the good side of B2B sales is that most of your clients will not be working on weekends and holidays, and once you get the hang of it, make a few sales and learn how to walk in the shoes of a successful business salesman, the pace gets more relaxed and you will see that once the clock hits 5PM, you’re done for the day. And that’s a big plus, because not everyone working in sales can say the same. Of course, that’s a little bit BS. Sure, you can do that — but if you _really_ want to succeed, plan on being “on” all the time. If you love what you do, this is great. If you don’t, you’ll quickly crack under quota pressure (see above).
As mentioned above, meetings with professionals and executives will occur on a daily basis. Compared to a B2C salesman, who can afford a bit of a casual appearance every now and then, here you’ll have to look and dress to impress, because it’s a part of your job. Good business attire will give the impression of professionalism and it will underline your efforts, helping you gain your prospect’s trust more easily. Nothing says “let’s make the sale” quite as well as being on the same page as the CEO in front of you.