B2B Sales Process: Understanding the Customer’s Business

B2B Sales

B2B Sales Product Specialists

I’ve seen many organizations spend countless resources making certain their sellers understand their product offerings. B2B sales product specialists supposedly possess a depth of knowledge on certain technologies, feature sets, and functions. This is the norm for companies differentiating their approach and providing value to their customers. When queried, these masters can quote chapter and verse from thick service manuals. Unfortunately, we mold these folks to be better technologists, not better business people.

Do You Feel Lucky?

Reps who are trained to be “Technologists” have a tendency to approach their customers with boatloads of technology. They try to determine whether or not any of it is seen as beneficial by the customer. It is as if they are a solution in search of a problem. Sometimes they get lucky. However, most of the time, they don’t. Once again, these reps can be walking/talking product manuals. But if asked, most couldn’t tell you their customer’s business vision, goals, plans, processes, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats.

B2B Sales: The Real Differentiator?

In many situations, THE ONLY differentiator of products and services is the amount of measurable impact they have on what customers want to accomplish. We must know their vision, goals, and plans. If we don’t, we end up being just another vendor peddling the same basic products and services as others. As a result, customers may perceive there are little if significant differences in our offering. In those cases, if they make a decision to buy, price becomes the determining factor. Sales organizations that have BUSINESS conversations and understand how their customers measure success BEFORE talking about products and services become better partners. These reps are able to provide significant strategic value by demonstrating measurable impact on things like their customer’s productivity and efficiency, image, expenses, revenue, safety, security, and stability.

A Technologist or Valued Business Partner?

Here are some questions to ask to determine whether you are becoming “technologists” or valuable business partners:

  • Does your sales process/methodology provide a foundation for your salespeople to understand the customer’s business first?
  • Are you or your salespeople talking to a broad spectrum of people in your customer’s business outside of IT and/or purchasing?
  • Do you or your salespeople know the vision, goals, plans, processes, strengths, weaknesses, etc. of your customers OUTSIDE the realm of your company’s products and services?
  • Are you or your salespeople regularly invited to your customer’s business to discuss their issues as a strategic partner BEFORE there is an obvious need for your products?

b2b sales business

Focus on customers first. By doing this, we develop a deeper understanding of what we want to accomplish in B2B sales. Furthermore, we bring capabilities that help clients achieve their broader business objectives. In the process, we sell more and do so more efficiently than ever before.

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