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What Are Business-to-Business Sales? - Definition, Process & Techniques

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  • 0:05 Business-to-Business Sales
  • 0:24 B2B Sales Process
  • 2:40 B2B Selling Techniques
  • 5:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Carol Woods

Carol has taught college Finance, Accounting, Management and Business courses and has a MBA in Finance.

Business-to-business, or B2B, sales differ in many ways from business-to-consumer sales. In this lesson, we'll learn why they differ and how the selling process works when selling to a business customer.

Business-to-Business Sales

Business-to-business sales (B2B) are just that, sales from one business entity to another. This type of sale is likely to be larger than a business-to-consumer sale, since the company may purchase your product for multiple sites or employees, and tends to be more financially driven, since the buyer must justify the purchase to other members of the organization.

The B2B Sales Process

The process for selling to businesses is a bit different than the traditional consumer sales. To understand the process, we'll listen in on a selling situation by Hank, who sells business phone systems. Here are the steps in a business-to-business (B2B) selling process:

  • Understand Need and Ability to Pay

The first step is to understand the problem your prospective customer is trying to solve, and their ability to pay for your product or service. Hank starts off the conversation by asking the prospect questions about their reasons for purchasing a phone system (New facility? Replace old system? Add stations to the current system?) and what they currently have in place. He discusses the features of the current system that are used, and any not available that they wish they had. He also asks about their budget for the implementation, so he proposes a solution that the company can afford.

  • Develop a Solution

Once you understand the prospects needs and financial means, you need to evaluate the various products you have to offer and develop a customized solution for them that meets both their needs and budget. Hank now takes the information provided in the initial meeting and compares it to the various systems he has available, and selects one that he thinks would best meet their needs. He then puts together an information package and quote for this system, along with a customized checklist comparing the customer's 'wish list' to the proposed hardware.

  • Evaluate Solution with the Customer

The customized solution is now shared with the prospective customer, generally in a sit-down meeting where the solution is presented and all customer questions can be addressed. The solution may be modified with customer input prior to finalizing. Hank meets with the customer again, and walks them through the proposal he's developed. After a lengthy discussion, Hank heads back to his office to revise the proposal to reflect a few modifications that came out of the meeting.

  • Finalize Sale

Once the terms are agreed on, a purchase agreement, or contract, is signed to finalize the agreement. Hank sends the final proposal over to the client, along with a contract they can sign and return to begin the process. Once the signed document is received, the sale is complete and the implementation process will begin.

B2B Selling Techniques

Here are some selling techniques that are helpful in B2B selling situations:

  • Convert all Benefits to Dollar Values

Corporate buyers will need to justify the purchase to their financial team and senior management, and it helps them greatly to have specific dollar values associated with the benefits of implementing your product or service. For instance, instead of claiming that your phone system will save your administrator an hour per year of time per station, estimate the cost for an average call center: 1 hour of time x $25 per hour compensation for an administrator x 300 employees in a call center = $7,500 per year in savings!

  • Tailor your Pitch

Since B2B sales are often larger sales, there is a need for a customized solution to the customer, so they can make sure it meets their needs, and it's worth the effort for the sales person since the commissions per sale are correspondingly larger as well. The more the proposal specifically addresses the customer's needs and solves their current problem, the more likely they will be to purchase it.

  • Take Time to Build Trust and Credibility

Business buyers are often spending large amounts of their company's money, and if they make a bad decision, it can have an impact on their career. Based on this, these buyers will need to have a higher level of trust in the business and its products before buying.

  • Keep in Touch

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