In B2B Marketing, Don’t Just Sell Something, Solve a Problem
More is written on the subject of successful selling technique than any other in the field of marketing. Everyone wants to know how to close the sale. In the traditional selling process, the relationship between prospect and seller has always had the hint of an adversarial relationship.
Often the buyer questions the salesperson’s motives, and the salesperson assumes that the buyer will automatically resist the pitch. The initial contact can be a pushy, in-your-face approach or a warm, “let me help you” proposition. Either way, the salesperson is viewed as the aggressor.
In my experience with our B2B marketing firm in Atlanta, business-to-business selling should be less of a game of wits and finesse but more of a valuable business encounter. When marketers establish the need for the product, communicate the message, stimulate buyer interest, salespeople should take heed not to lose the sale because of competitive gamesmanship.
Advocates of value-added selling and its offshoots, consultative selling, needs-based selling, have always understood the importance of showing the customer how their product or service can provide a benefit solution and better a solution for their customers. It’s a common-sense approach for B2B sales and marketing pros.
The ultimate collaboration is the seller and buyer working together to take the buyer’s products or services to the buyer’s customers. When everyone in the chain is focused on the final end-user, solutions are revealed, problems solved. And usually sales are closed.
This type of strategic alliance with your customer goes beyond the basic order-taking mentality. It moves to the rainmaking mindset and insists that sales and marketing:
- Examine your customer, as well as your customer’s customer.
- Be prepared to show understanding of their needs.
- Come with solutions to meet their challenges to be viewed as a trusted expert.
- Go past the simple transaction and look for new market opportunities for their products and services.
- Make an effort to become an integral part of their business, not just another vendor.
The salesperson who addresses challenges and solves problems gives the buyer much food for thought for nourishing an underwhelmed marketing plan. What buyer can resist the temptation?