Sometimes losing a sale is good, in B2B

B2B, Customer Delight, Customers, losing, Sales

As a business leader, there are a lot of times when you have to take a decision on pricing which results in losing a deal.

I have had to take many such decisions and the sales persons involved in the deal get really upset since they misses their target because of that decision.

See, its very easy to discount to win a deal, but if after winning the deal you’re not able to execute because it’s way out of budget then you get a terrible name. In B2B, if you fail to deliver or deliver badly, then you can be sure that you will not get business from that company again and if the manager involved in the decision , goes to some other company, she will ensure that you do not get business from there also.

I have had a couple of instances where we lost the order, then the vendor who was awarded, did not deliver and after one year of struggling, the customer called us back and gave the order without any negotiation.

And since we did a good job there, they gave us multiple more cases.

The advantage of B2B is that once you do a good job, then generally, the managers want to keep working with you. The inertia and the political situation in the organizations mean that a manager doesn’t want to try a new vendor if she can.

So even if you have to lose a deal, its okay because you will get many opportunities to win. But if you do a bad job, because you don’t have the money in the deal, then you will lose the client forever.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Playing the Devil’s Advocate in B2B sales to realise higher prices

B2B, compelling, Customers, Sales

I have a major challenge pushing my sales people to sell at a higher price. They always have a pushback on the price saying the customer won’t buy. And we have big arguments.

Is this something you face. Is it difficult for you to charge a higher price for your services. Do you always end up losing orders, because your price is “high”

One technique, which I have shared to a small extent earlier also, is to play the devil’s advocate with the customer. There’s a caveat when you want to use this technique – you have to be sure that you provide the best services. If not, then first go and put your house in order. Learn to provide the best possible services at whatever price that you think is good.

With the devil’s advocate you make the customer convince you that she wants to do business with you. If the customer is able to convince you, then she can, internally, within her organisation, also convince people. Most of the times in B2B scenarios, the customer is surrounded by so many vendors who are all trying to say one of two things – I am the cheapest and / or I am the best. And the customer doesn’t believe any of them. In addition a lot of times, the person who is representing the customer, is also not clear why she wants to go after the solution. Most often its because someone higher up in the “pay grade” has asked them to find out.

So some of you would already be squirming that it’s not possible to raise the value of your offering. Just be with me for a minute and try this in your next meeting.

So first of all start with the first WHY – why are you wanting to do ‘this’ – whatever it is that they have asked you to come for, to discuss. Then you get to the second WHY – why is ‘this’ important in the bigger scheme of things in your business.

The third WHY starts to get you to figure out the value from a business perspective – WHY are you considering ‘this’ kind of a solution, couldn’t you have done it way cheaper by doing ‘that’ where the ‘that’ is an alternate and much lower price way to solve a problem. A very simplistic example of this would be – what are you wanting to buy a truck for, when you can use a bullock cart to transport the goods at a much lower cost. This will get the customer to come out, with what it is , that is key to them – a truck can carry longer distances faster and we want to get our products to de delivered to the farthest parts of the country. A bullock cart would take months and our competition will capture the market during that time.

Now you are getting a feel of what is important to them – long distance travel, fast.

Now comes the fourth WHY – I get your reason for not considering a bullock cart, but why are you wanting to consider our 10000CC trucks (just a a random figure) when you can have cheaper 5000CC trucks (another random figure) . At this stage if she says Yes we are considering 5000CC trucks and they are happy with that option, then they will expect your price to come closer to the 5000CC option and you will only play a losing game.

On the other hand if she says, I understand that the 5000CC trucks are cheaper, but their ability to drive continuously is limited to 3 hours while we would prefer if the truck can be driven continuously for 7-8 hours, then you now have different playing field. And you have not had to convince her.

You need to remember that in B2B scenarios, you are looking at professional buyers, who do buying all the time and want to compare you always with the lowest priced option. And you can keep trying to convince them of the value you bring but they won’t get convinced. However once you make them come out with the issues themselves, it becomes a lot easier since they are now providing all the compelling reasons.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

The best companies who could use my marketing advice

B2B, Business, Customers, ideal customer, lead generation, Marketing, Riding the elephant, single target market

I keep talking about a lot on the way you should identify the market, how you should target a segment and niche it . I talk about the challenges that come up when targeting the B2B space for a complex sale and how you can go about addressing them.

While most of whatever I talk about is overall good marketing practice, this is specially useful to people who own, run or work for companies who are less than $50 million in revenue, sell mid to high value products in the B2B space.

If you sell low dollar value items, then maybe a few things – especially about mapping different people in the organisation or structuring a value proposition or identifying the ecosystem may not completely be of value to you.

If you have already crossed the revenue of $50 million then chances are that you already are doing things and putting up systems which have helped you reach such a large turnover.

Its the companies, who are reaching about half a million dollars and want to break into the million dollar league and build processes which bring regular leads, who can benefit most from what I write. These would be my Ideal Customers.

All the concepts whether its the Single Target Market or the “Riding the Elephant” can provide immense leverage to companies who want to grow dramatically.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

The more people you know….the more you sell in B2B

B2B, Customers, Networking, Sales

It doesn’t matter what you know, what matters is who you know.

A lot of internet marketers will talk about this when selling their mastermind programs. Some of it is actually very true. If you’re in the right masterminds , where people are of the sharing type, then you do get to learn a lot.

But since my focus is on the corporate type of environments, the so called B2B space, just the simple concept of meeting and knowing everyone from the peon (junior most level) to the CEO is very valuable.

I continuously emphasize this to my sales team. A lot of times the small talk with people at the junior levels can give you insights about the organization and its situation. Most senior people are generally formal and carry a facade. They meet a lot of people all day and they are conditioned to give out only as much information as necessary.

On the other hand people at the junior level are not used to getting attention. So if you genuinely, they key term is genuinely, give them the attention and respect, they will open up to you and talk freely.

The other thing which happens because of this is that they also help you navigate into other departments within the company. Due to this you’re able to figure out either more opportunities or more applicability of your services or products.

However with these pieces of information, its your responsibility to put all of them together to figure out the insights and accordingly add value to your customers.

Today’s customers can get almost 80-90% information from the net. But in a lot of cases they are starved for insights of how they can do better. If you can become that advisor, you can pick a lot of sales.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!