I’m sure you’ve noticed significant changes in the business to business sales concept over the last ten years. And, yes, global economic problems have played a significant role in the shifting dynamics of the B2B sales process.
First, think of some of the trends that have emerged in the last four to ten years.
Consolidation of an industry occurs when distinct businesses merge. It is occasionally referred to as a merger, despite the fact that these are two distinct situations. A merger occurs when one business absorbs another; a consolidation occurs when two businesses join forces on approximately equal terms to establish one new company.
According to new study, B2B consumers perceive value in a variety of ways, including quantity, quality, and price, which will interest major industrial suppliers competing for B2B market share through price-based promotions.
Product knowledge is so vital that it boosts your confidence as a salesperson and your customers' faith in you as the best company to service their requirements. Today's customers arrive prepared with a certain amount of product expertise. The internet and competition have resulted in a more informed consumer base, which underscores the need of our knowing more about the products we sell than our customers do.
Selling in 2021 is a very different experience than selling in 1997. Technology advancements over the last few decades have dramatically transformed the way sales are conducted. It has altered consumer behavior. It has fundamentally altered everything.
To minimize the danger of making the wrong choice, corporations approach purchasing products and services differently than consumers do. As a result, B2B transactions frequently entail multiple stakeholders and phases.
Business to business sales trends in the last 10 years
Consoldation of industrial segments
Consolidation of industrial segments is a major issue because there are fewer small and medium-sized businesses for salespeople to target. In purchasing processes, large industrial organizations employ committees, buying groups, and lower-level evaluators. This means that business to business sales teams will have fewer opportunities to use traditional sales tactics or techniques. Any business to business seller company is definitely in need of a solid B2B sales strategy to survive in today’s our modern world.
Customers want lower prices
Customers are demanding price cuts or even attempting to set our prices during the purchasing process. Undisciplined business to business salespeople will bend over and lower their prices just to get the deal. The margins are becoming progressively narrow. Large industrial corporations are actually teaching other corporations how to pinch their suppliers in order to save money. This results in more effort required for B2B sales prospecting activities.
Customers are more knowledgeable about products
B2B buyers -industrial procurement teams- no longer place a high value on the knowledge of industrial sales professionals. They are using the internet to learn more about your products, competitive products, and specifications than you are. When it comes to basic product details and specifications, the internet has largely replaced the technical sales experts. Customers can access everything they want to learn about your company, products or even you from Google in a few seconds. Outmoded B2B sales techniques such as fancy sales presentations are not effective anymore.
Old business to business sales techniques are essentially outdated
For large-scale industrial organizations, traditional sales tactics and techniques are no longer effective. In fact, some of the traditional sales methods today cause more problems and difficulties for inexperienced salespeople than they are aware of or understand. Time has changed. Old sales methods are being replaced by new ones.
Although there are some old ways that are valid, they definitely need to be revised to keep up with the new age. Forget about classic cold calls and B2B telemarketing systems to sell on the phone. All required data exists online. Customers no longer want to hear what is known to everyone. They want specific information about your products and services.
Decisions are not made by old-style decision makers
Finally, where have all the decision-makers vanished? –which is a major concern for today’s business to business salespeople. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to meet with a decision maker due to increased security at organizations, a lack of administrative assistants to inform you of what is going on, and, most importantly, this significant shift in decision roles. It is no longer fashionable to be the big-time decision maker. Reaching a consensus within a team or obtaining approval from all related departments involved has become the new way of things.
Follow the sales legends in your industry
So what does this mean for the business to business sales professionals of today?
You must develop new thought processes to sell effectively in today’s B2B markets.
When I was a rookie industrial salesman, I used to prefer to follow the path of the successful B2B sales professionals rather than following the ivory tower guys who share complicated theories and concepts. I always believed in being a research based kind of salesman.
My business to business sales motto was simple;
- Find out what these B2B selling legends are doing,
- Modify what you learned to your industry-products-market,
- Execute willfully with focus, determination and discipline.
So, I have observed successful business to business sales executives who have been exceeding the results of others by large percentages. I have read research based sales books written by legendary B2B sales executives to learn what does work today. According to my analysis, there are three traits used by the most successful type of B2B salespeople today.
- They educate the customer
The education they provide to the customers is not only for the product or service they sell. They keep updated their customers about best practices, trends and directions of their industry, market research and new technology in their respective areas.
- They are innovative
The best business to business sales professionals are constantly pushing the boundaries of creativity, innovative ideas and methods of helping the customers make more money or cut expenses.
- They maintain control of business to business sales process
This is significant. Most salespeople defer to the whims of the customer or prospect, allowing them to control both the purchasing and selling processes. The best business to business sales professionals are regaining control of the sales process and keeping the sales opportunity alive. They know that over 35% of the time, if they leave it up to the customer or prospect, the result is a “no decision” – so they maintain control and keep the engagement going in the B2B sales process.
Strive to be a good business to business salesperson
This was a quick overview of the new-age industrial markets. The situation is just that. Welcome to the new world order. Knowledgeable technical buyers, aggressive financial officials and endless demanding users. After 20 years, I can still say the same thing, one of the best sales jobs in the world for me is industrial sales. Never give up, just adapt to the new order. Always try to be a better B2B –business to business– sales professional. If you’re younger than 40, it won’t be that hard. What you need to do here is to adapt your older boss or superiors to the new order.
If your age is over 40 like me, stay tuned 🙂 I will tell you everything.