How to be successful in B2B sales. Dos and Don’ts of B2B sales approach.
October 8, 2018
Before I joined the Proven team, I used to be Head of Acquisitions for serval big broadcasters, handling seven digit budgets and acquiring programs from around the world. Based on this experience I think I can give insights from the other side. Over the years, I have been pitched thousands of titles and worked with sales professionals whose approaches differed from almost unenthusiastic too overly pushy.
So, I am willing to give you some insights into what Acquisitions Executives are looking for.
When an Acquisitions Exec decides to spend money on something, they have to consider many factors, that never apply to B2C sales.
B2C sales can be easily divided into 2 categories - need and want. I need to buy washing liquid because I need to wash my clothes, but when it comes to fabric softener, I want my clothes to be soft and smell nice, it is not a necessity. I’ll be honest, on a personal level you can easily make me buy things I don’t need. You can make me want them. But on a B2B level, trust me you can never make an Acquisitions Manager buy anything. Unexperienced ones are terrified to spend money the wrong way, (I know, I used to be one.) When experience comes, they know exactly what they are looking for. So there is no point in trying to generate their desire.
All you can try to do is to make them an offer they cannot refuse.
Almost every time money is spent on the B2B level it is an investment. Buyers have to calculate ROI, then think if this money can be invested elsewhere for a better return. They have to consider budget (quarterly and yearly); their supervisor’s opinions, their past experience and future planned expenditure. After all the above is done, they most likely need to have at least a couple of similar products for price comparison and this list can go on and on. So no matter how many times you call, email and repeat the same pitch all over again, they will need some time to make the decision. Even if you are talking to a very high-level manager, they will still have to get the final “yes” from at least one more person.
As I said, you can never make an Acquisitions Exec buy anything, but you can help them choose in your favour if they are already considering your product.
A tailor-made approach is the best way in. When it comes to business there is no such thing as one size fits all. Instead of pitching your products/services straight away, ask carefully selected questions and then really listen to their answers. Take notes and understand what their business needs at this stage. Then look at what you have to offer and ask yourself would you pay the money you want them to pay? And if your answer is no, then try to think what will change it to yes.
Look, I am not saying be soft and don’t push, but be the right amount of pushy. Don’t call over and over again with the same offer. Adapt your offer to make it easier for them to say yes. Ideally, instead of having a buyer-seller relationship you need to become partners.
And one last tip. They need you more than you know. Sales professionals often think that buyers have an easy life. But they face many challenges too - they need to be ahead of their competitors, but save as much money as they can. Their success depends on how good the deal is and how smart their choice was. More often than not, they need you as much as you need them. Keep the negotiation going and read between the lines. You can identify just how interested they are and how much they need this deal by how they respond to your emails and calls. If the price is high, they will need to consider it more carefully. But, if they are considering it, it means they need what you’re selling.