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.
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
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
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
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.
Motivate Your Prospect
Understand the concept of “Inertia”. This has turned
out to become the single biggest reason why we lose
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
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.
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
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
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.
Lead Your Prospect
Help your prospect create
RoI or PoV documents (point-of-views)
With a complete list of assumptions made and risks
Help your team create a “Risk of Not Doing this
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
Ask for the deal & Close it.
Lead your internal stakeholders - to ensure smooth deal
closure experience for your prospect.
Ask for a reference
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
This is a loop that should never end
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
Sales Process Looks Like This