Updated: Jan 30, 2020
If you have spent some time working in the sales department you know that while most sales are made with end-consumers, the biggest deals are made between businesses. Knowing that the greatest volume of cash-flow goes through these contracts, and that big deals mean big revenue and finally big commissions, raises the interest in what B2B sales are, and furthermore what makes them different from the usual business-to-customer sales. We have compiled the most pertinent in this article.
The Short Answer
B2B sales is an abbreviation of business-to-business sales. It describes all exchanges of goods and/or services between two companies. This includes wholesale companies selling their goods to retailers, for example. It also includes things like farmers selling their produce to shops or an IT company offering tech support to another company. B2B sales are harder to come by because they usually involve several people making the decision to buy, and they are less frequent simply because the number of businesses is far less than the number of individual customers. However, B2B sales also involve much greater amounts of money and therefore mean greater revenue for the company and heftier commissions for the salesperson.
The Slightly Longer Answer
To answer not only what B2B is, but what it can mean for you, we have to go quite a bit further into the challenges, opportunities and possible solutions that are integral to it. But let's start at the beginning and work our way from there.
B2B sales are the counterpart to B2C or business-to-customer sales. What this means for a salesperson is that instead of having to sell a product to a single customer they have to instead face a whole team of people employed by a company for the express purpose of buying products necessary for the functioning of their business at the best price possible.
Even before the advent of widely available internet and the wealth of information it is populated with, this was a steep increase in difficulty for salespeople. The person on the other end of the call you were making would have been trained specifically for the purpose of dealing with you: seeing through any attempts to attach additional products to the initial sale, trying to get the best price you are authorized to give, avoiding any of your attempts to pressure them into buying, etc. All of those things and more were within their repertoire of skills.
Now, the situation for you as a salesperson is further complicated by the fact that information on your company and your product is freely available throughout the internet. And most of those bits of information aren't even made by your company! They include things like forum discussions, posts on social media, reviews, and the classic word-of-mouth publicity.
The individual buyer will see these things as well, of course, but they will have limited time and resources to check all of them, and as an individual, they are much more susceptible to marketing.
The professional buyer will have the whole workday on their hands and a team of 4-6 people with them to make sure they gather any information they can get their hands on. And you will be in the final portion of the buying process, completely without control over what the deal looks like.
All of those challenges aside, it's obviously a worthwhile effort investing in your knowledge of the process behind B2B sales. To know what B2B sales are is the first step on a journey of earning big and establishing yourself as a competent salesperson. So let's get into the nitty-gritty of how one might achieve that.
The first problem you will encounter when going into B2B sales is that you simply don't get many opportunities. This has to do with the previously mentioned affinity of professional buyers to research on their own before ever contacting a salesperson.
The second problem will be that once you get into contact with the buyer they will already have come to a conclusion as to what and how they want to buy, leaving you with no influence in the process. Even if you attempt to suggest another option, your offer will be snubbed at best, and at worst they might break the whole deal off. This has to do with the general mistrust towards salespeople who appear to be focused on selling products instead of aiming to meet the customer's needs.
The third problem is perhaps the greatest – when faced with a team tasked with finding the best deal you might get overwhelmed with the information that they ask from you. And in the modern-day and age saying "I'll get back to you on that" just doesn't cut it. People are busy and they need the info now.
Since you as a salesperson no longer control the flow of information directly, you have to aim to instead contribute to the information already available. This includes any form of content creation that doesn't necessarily promote your product as much as it provides valuable information on the topic related to it.
Creating a media library and publishing various articles, blog posts and social media posts is a great way to create brand recognition. In this sense, a good idea is to have your company integrate the marketing team and the sales team. This will allow for more organic production and dispersion of information, create a greater reach for your posts and finally allow the sales team to be well acquainted with all the ins and outs well before they get to the point of having to close the deal.
This brings us to the problem of not really influencing what kind of deal the buyer wants to make. To solve this issue, we can take virtually the same approach. Instead of being hell-bent on telling the buyer what to do, we have to be available with valuable insight and information when the buyer needs it. A good piece of advice or information builds rapport, and remember, a company is much more likely to be a return customer once a relationship has been established than an individual customer would be. This means that operating at a slighter margin in the short run might be alright as long as you can build a connection that will pay off for years to come.
As for the third problem previously mentioned: this one, for the most part, depends on how eager you are to learn all you can about your customer, your product, your company, etc. Unfortunately, good hard-working people who did all their homework on all of those things can get cut off in the get-go simply because the world of sales demands various other skills that will set you apart from the competitor to even have a shot at making that big sale. And believe it, it will happen more often than not. To avoid that you can do the same thing the buyer does. Find the information you need, learn it, and apply it. Information is simply the most valuable commodity, and good information is hard to come by. This has to be your hidden ace – putting you on the cutting edge of sales.
When starting a B2B sales career, it can be hard to find good opportunities to get the necessary know-how and the connections for it. PGN Global tries to fill this void, by giving people the chance to enter the B2B world, without the need for any experience in this field. Joining PGN Global as a consultant or a seller does not mean you need a background on it. In fact, all the help and guidance for you to go through the steps of becoming successful will be provided, without having to go through the hassle of slogging through an array of articles and guides that are dubious at best and at times almost harmful to your career.
The benefits of moving to B2B sales are many. The most obvious one is of course that the trade volume is ridiculously higher than in B2C sales. The figures are around three to five times the volume that goes through B2C sales. This has the insane potential for major revenue gains. As long as you meet a niche need of only one branch of business you are in a position of earning big and having a stability of income for a long period. This leads us to the second big benefit — the repeated business.
Businesses and companies will have the same need for a long time. And if the company thrives and expands, that need will expand as well. You as a salesperson need to focus on that aspect in particular. This helps you keep in mind that your customer's best interest is your best interest as well, and it helps you to keep on building those connections despite the frustration with the lack of control you might feel at times.
Signing one deal worth a hundred thousand bucks and losing that business the next time they expand their project because they learned of a better deal elsewhere is obviously a terrible alternative to keeping that business as a commercial partner and supplying them with your product for several years at a slightly lesser price. And this is part of the bigger picture of sales that leads to the topic of investing in yourself.
The more knowledge about the process you have, the better you will be able to handle any challenges that come with a career in this field. And there are many obstacles, but equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge to overcome those hurdles has become easier than ever before.
And once you get the knowledge you will feel more confident to approach them. This will have far-reaching effects on your brand recognition, on you as a salesperson or on your company, it will broaden your web of connections and set you apart from everybody else. This is why this is the most important point of this article, and why most things I talked about revolved around the information.
We hope that I have given you a concise answer on what is B2B sales, why you should know about them and how you can start building your base of knowledge of the topic, how to start working on the skills that are needed for it and finally how to start your own journey to becoming a successful B2B salesperson.
The more knowledge about the process you have, the better you will be able to handle any challenges that come with a career in this field. And there are many obstacles, but equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge to overcome those hurdles has become easier than ever before. And once you get the knowledge you will feel more confident to approach them. This will have far-reaching effects on your brand recognition, on you as a salesperson or on your company, it will broaden your web of connections and set you apart from everybody else. This is why this is the most important point of this article, and why most things I talked about revolved around the information.
For any uncertainties or information connected to this article feel free to contact us!