The tragedy of B2B selling is that, despite the tonnes of money used in the purchase, in many cases it is not the ‘best company’ or ‘best solution’ that wins the sale but rather the sales person who was able to make their value more visible to the customer.
Today, just as last week, we’ll look at another solution to simplifying the complex Business-to-Business (B2B) sale-adapting your presentation to the different buyers in the organization you are selling to. The B2B sale has several buyers-technical, political and commercial (the latter two are usually at executive level). The pitch to each must vary to suit their respective needs. And why is this important? Because, as any experienced B2B seller knows, the tragedy of B2B selling is that, despite the tonnes of money used in the purchase, in many cases it is not the ‘best company’ or ‘best solution’ that wins the sale but rather the sales person who was able to make their value more visible to the customer. Yes, the B2B sale is that complex. So what to do?
Specialists are interested in their area of expertise and how it influences their organization. Technicians fall here. A technician could be the IT officer (or engineer) who wants to understand how the nuts and bolts of your banking software (or fuel additive) fits into the existing IT infrastructure (or, combustion of their type of fuel). These are people of science- the product or service must make logic to them. The emotion (hopefully excitement, not disappointment) will be generated by the scientific aha! moment when they see your solution work. So before they agree to buy the beneficial insects you claim can organically rid pests and weeds on their flower farm, you must first demonstrate this. So you ask for a parcel of land to do so, and a season later when it works, you ‘talk’ again.
Professionals are sticklers for procedure, the law and policy. Human resource and finance practitioners fall in this category. They play safe, so make them feel safe. How? It helps if your pitch or demonstration on the enterprise wide human resource management software, is laden with words and terms like, ‘secure’, ‘risk-free’ ‘regulated by (a body the buyer subscribes to)’, ‘informed by Act this and that of the labour laws’ and, ‘is in line with your company policies on leave days.’
You must be thinking it’s too much work; why bother changing the pitch to suit the buyer? Well, it’s simple. Unless it’s being bought purely for political purposes, that is, it will be a white elephant, then until the specialists and professionals give the technical nod you won’t get the commercial one either.
As for the executive, time is not on your side. They are not interested in details- they have the specialists and professionals for that. But they want what you have spent a year pitching (more B2B complexity), done in an hour and in their language. “So why should we hire you”? Because, the relentlessly irritating thorn of downtime in your Internet to home service, will continue to dwindle your bottom line to nothing. Installing our software will move you from the current 54% downtime to 8%. Based on your profits last year, this investment in our software alone will see your profits go up 230%. That’s why you should hire us?”
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