A while ago I posted the article titled What beats the lowest price? on our Slovene blog, which probably attracted quite an audience based on the title alone. When I started analyzing the readers, I found out they primarily consisted of people that are in some way or another involved in sales and are responsible for sales results.
This post discusses the development of a new sales channel that is undoubtedly being brought about by the Internet of Things (IoT), focusing on how a convenient buying experience influences people’s buying decisions. The fact that the title attracted readers among sales staff persuaded me to touch upon the issue of “overly high prices” once again — this time in the context of complex (B2B) sales.
The issue of “forced inquiries”
If you ask a salesperson why he couldn’t close the deal when competing for a project, they will most likely tell you they didn’t offer the right price and that they were too expensive. The price is always a welcome excuse and it always seems to be someone else’s problem, rather than the seller’s directly. But I’m not sure that’s really true. That’s certainly not always the case.
Based on my long years of experience in selling business solutions, I know that any inquiry that I failed to co-shape in some way with my opinions before I was asked to make an offer or I even forced one was most likely lost for me. My solution was often too expensive or inappropriate in some other way. I didn’t feel guilty as a seller because of that, because I wasn’t the one responsible for the pricing policy in the company.
Marketing is a process, too: connect it with sales!
I know today that “Alright then, prepare an offer for me” is a forced inquiry that doesn’t have even the slightest chance of closing the deal. All you can achieve with this is that the customer doesn’t submit an order to anyone. If you have nothing else to do, this may also be success, although not much of one.
Over the past years, we’ve managed to finally grasp that sales is a process that systematically manages sales opportunities, but now it’s time we understood that sales is also a marketing process. Only a combination of both ensures business growth to companies involved in complex B2B sales.
Customers used to be educated by salespeople, but now marketers are taking on this role
I look at the issue of overly high prices differently now. If we’re too expensive, it’s very likely that someone didn’t do their job in the process of winning a new deal. Almost always this happens when we get involved in the customer’s buying decision process too late and we have to skip a phase or two in this process, during which customers are gathering information and shaping their buying preferences.
Customers used to be educated by salespeople, but now marketers are taking on this role with useful content on the internet. Because customers can access information by simply clicking on it, they do their own research and look for information that is useful to them or their companies. That’s why salespeople get involved in their buying decision process fairly late. It is actually the usefulness of our internet content that largely co-shapes customers’ buying preferences and determines whether our salespeople will even have an opportunity to establish personal contact.
I a way, the “convenient purchase” rule also applies to selling complex B2B solutions, only that it’s reflected a bit differently: through the safety of buying decisions. Buying safety is the key value. Nothing is as expensive as choosing the wrong provider. Providers that show the best professional competence already through their marketing activities usually have such a big advantage that the competition’s sales staff can only catch up with great difficulty upon personal contact.
Let’s take action
Over the past years, we’ve managed to finally grasp that sales is a process that systematically manages sales opportunities, but now it’s time we understood that sales is also a marketing process. A process of systematically generating interest and nurturing prospects with an ongoing and proactive supply of useful content that helps them make a safer buying decision. Only a combination of both processes ensures business growth to companies involved in complex B2B sales.
For a start, I highly recommend that you read the free manual, which we prepared as an aid in learning how to approach your customers the right way, how to track them, and how to recognize their needs.