Business to business selling is a complicated process. To be successful in B2B sales, you need to have the right product, understand your customer's needs and be able to sell a value proposition focused on them. You also need support from your entire company to help solve technical and business issues. While sales is about communications, it's about a lot more than that. Even the best communicators aren't guaranteed success in a B2B sales setting. Given the complexity of selling to businesses, to be maximally effective, your sales communications have to be couched in terms of the appropriate selling method.
Choosing a B2B Sales MethodEven a brief search of the existing sales literature can turn up over 20 different sales systems -- from Challenger Selling to Visionary Selling. Some of the sales methods share common elements. For instance, both SPIN and Socratic Selling are heavily dependent on asking questions. On the other hand, some are completely opposite to each other. Conceptual Selling focuses on intense pre-meeting preparation with the goal of either achieving momentum or improving the relationship with the prospect. Challenger Selling, on the other hand, is described as being the opposite of relationship-based selling. Given the complexity of choosing a model, some b2b sales practitioners may be tempted to work without one. After all, you may be very successful doing sales using your own ad hoc method. Choosing a formal sales method has real benefits, though:
- Formal methods have been tested and validated, so you can use someone else's research to figure out how to quickly increase your conversion rates.
- Many methods pre-define checkpoints where you can step back and measure your effectiveness.
- Being able to predict the outcome of the process helps you to either start preparing resources to serve a new customer or to refill your hopper of potential opportunities.