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B2B selling made simple

Selling to businesses (B2B) is going through a sea change as buyers begin to have equal or sometimes more information about products and services than the sales executives themselves have. This calls for a change in the way we approach B2B sales.

Here I present a framework (created based on my personal experience and with the concepts of Design Thinking) called "SIMPLE".

This framework will be useful to all B2B sales interactions which are high value and have a long lead time.

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B2B selling made simple

  1. 1. B2B Selling made “SIMPLE”
  2. 2. Surprise Your Prospect Understand their corporate vision Understand their business from different perspectives. Talk to their customers, key partners, suppliers & employees. Talk to the various departments & find out their challenges that could hold them back from their stated vision Understand the political situation & the power play Gain insight about their industry & understand where the industry is headed Create a business model canvas for their business Explore what aspect of the model can you impact Explore, identify & share any blindspots that you identified.
  3. 3. Inspire Your Prospect Its one thing to share blind-spots, quite another to picture a vision of what could be Identify key levers that you think could enable them to address their blind-spots & achieve stated goals Create a compelling picture as dream that you can sell to the prospect. Then sell it using the “I have a Dream” formula - What is; what could be Don’t just stop at creating a vision for the company. Create a compelling vision for the people at the company who need to act on the vision (Why Should they Give a Damn?) You need to be bought into the vision in order to be able to sell the vision to them.
  4. 4. Motivate Your Prospect Understand the concept of “Inertia”. This has turned out to become the single biggest reason why we lose deals It is not just enough to show people what is good for them. You need to be able to help them take the first few steps towards the vision; Build momentum. Identify the Risks involved in moving towards the vision. Help them create a risk mitigation plan Help them create buy-in among their peers. Get your prospects to get a stake in the game by enabling them to be change agents Shrink the change for them (Identify the single most important step that they need to take to realize the vision). Help them take the step.
  5. 5. Position Yourself Once they are motivated to act, first position yourself & your expertise and how you can be the catalyst for the success of the engagement Then position your product or service and how it can speed up the entire initiative Then talk about the USP of your product or service (Price / Velocity or Support) It is critical that you follow this order to ensure that the deal moves ahead with clear understanding that the most critical element of the deal is you & your expertise. This can help overcome objections about gap in the product or solutions that you are pitching (Which will be there, no matter how customized your product or service is). If you have done the earlier three steps well and followed this order to position, you have a very good chance to close the deal.
  6. 6. Lead Your Prospect Help your prospect create RoI or PoV documents (point-of-views) With a complete list of assumptions made and risks involved. Help your team create a “Risk of Not Doing this document” Create a “Why us” and “why now” document Help Create a Project Risk & Mitigation Plan Create a change management plan (if needed). Identify all the stake holders & help your prospects get their buy-in Ask for the deal & Close it. Lead your internal stakeholders - to ensure smooth deal closure experience for your prospect. Ask for a reference
  7. 7. Engage Your Prospect Remain engaged in the project implementation to ensure that the vision is realized to understand if this throws up any interesting challenges or additional benefits By keeping yourself involved, you open up further possibilities to understand their business & network within the organization and create a network that you can leverage again Be aware of the next set of insights that you would like to develop about the business that you can then explore to “Surprise” your customers again and re-start the entire sales process again! This is a loop that should never end
  8. 8. B2B Sales Made “SIMPLE” Surprise your customer using insights & blind spots Inspire them with the promise of a vision Motivate them with a clear action plan Position yourself, your product/service to realize the vision Lead them to help close the deal for them Engage with their team to realize the vision & build new insights
  9. 9. Sales Process Looks Like This Surprise Lead Position Motivate Inspire Interest Engage Time