Most books in sales that you get int he market are written by people who have sold houses, or FMCG products with cater to the psychology of the end consumer. So they have tricks to handle objections and ways to close the sale. The advantage for the consumer sales person is that the market is generally huge. So if you can find a pattern with a few sales, then you are on to big commissions. The other side of the coin is that the consumer market is grossly populated with so many brands already, that it takes an enormous amount of energy to break into the market.
On the other hand the B2B customer is difficult to enter because companies have massive processes to enrol a new vendor and there is a huge amount of inertia to go through the process to get a new vendor. Since I have been involved in doing B2B sales for all my career, I have had so many situations, where, inspite of spending multiple years on trying to break into an account, we were not able to enter the customer. This is especially true for large companies. With SMB, it is relatively easier but still a process.
The key reason for this inertia is the fact that no one wants to have a “failed project” with a new vendor. There’s a lot of peer pressure in an organisation and people are looking at opportunities to ‘showcase a failure’.
It’s also very rare that you have a product or service which is very unique and you are the only provider of that service. Actually if you are the only person in the market, then chances are that there is No Market for your product or service, otherwise someone would have found it. I have also gone into market with a unique technology and failed because customers weren’t willing to take the risk with a unique technology.
Geoffrey Moore had written a wonderful book and come out with a unique idea on “Crossing the chasm”. As per this it takes enormous amount of energy to propel a new technology from the “risk takers” to mass adopters. It’s similar to a rocket needing tremendous energy to get out of earth’s orbit and again needing enormous energy to enter the orbit of another planet. Most unique technology products fail because they don’t have the energy to cross the chasm.
But having said that, once you enter into a B2B customer and you successfully execute the first couple of orders, then it will be very difficult to dislodge you. It’s the same logic that I had mentioned earlier, now being used to your advantage. Since managers don’t want a failure and you have successfully showcased that you can be relied upon and trusted, they will want to keep working with you.
You may have some hiccups with some new managers coming in or the organisation getting resized or re-engineered, but if you have built relationships across different functions, then these things can generally be managed more easily.
The other advantage in B2B is that most of your competitors are known and you figure out how they will react to what situation. This allows you to choose your sweet spot in the market and then just stick to it.
If you have any queries on B2B sales/marketing – do drop in your question and I would love to se if I can be of help.
Till next time then.