Your company manufactures unique goods, provides quality business services, became an official dealer; these products are on demand on the market you operate but your sales are not satisfied you. What is a reason of failures in sales’ organization? Keep reading.
About B2C sales thousands of books and articles were written. Trainings, seminars, called as “Effective sales” or “Highly effective sales’ management”, are more likely devoted to B2C, FMCG sector. Business-to-business because of objective features is less interesting for “mass audience”. That’s why there is not so much useful information in “open” access. It doesn’t mean that sales are more important for B2C sphere.
In given article our attention is focused on the sales’ organizations in B2B instead of exact product. For further analysis let it be hardware, pipe for instance (this is fair for other B2B products, whether it is industrial equipment or wholesale food and beverage) of corresponding quality. To organize effective sales is the one of the most important goals in B2B, after manufacture. Its achieving is influenced by the following factors:
1. Searching for qualified employees, their training and further development.
2. Engineering of motivation system for sales department.
3. Optimization of existing sales structure, working out and realization of advancement plan for B2B product.
4. Effective interaction with other departments, such as marketing, finance, book keeping.
The first factor: ability to corporate sell
In any large company there is a clear split: corporate and not corporate clients. It can be mobile operators, auto salons, services agencies and many other businesses. Corporate sector as all B2B sector is characterized by a limited number of potential clients and the high importance of each of them. For this reason following demands are made to the organization and conducting sales in corporate sector, they are:
An individual approach to each client (whereas in B2C sales are more standardized).
Focusing on “strategic” clients
Special attention to quality of B2B product (goods or business services) and to quality of corporate clients’ service in order to long-term business relations construction.
B2B Seller needs to know everything about product even the smallest details. Level of product’s knowledge is equal to seller’s professionalism. In B2B sector clients “are especially sensitive” to the professional business approach.
If with a simple consumer it is possible (and maybe necessary) to speak in simple and accessible language, in B2B - in business language only. One more important feature of business-to-business sector is the fact that in the course of B2B sale a seller creates and realizes a “unique” product (special delivery or some other terms). In this connection the following moments should be considered during “right” seller choosing, they are:
The seller should possess “flexible” thinking, an ability to learn new information fast and high level of self-organizing. What for? Goods and service in B2B demands certain knowledge from a seller and should be learned as fast as possible. Turn to the pipes. A seller should learn their features, functional purpose, information about standardization and certification. No need to be educated in building sector, it is enough to know the product you sell and understand clients’ needs. It’s also may be necessary to learn some foreign languages. “Self-organizing” term means time-management skills, knowledge of business etiquette and competent speech.
Preceptorship principle. Each company is interested in getting experienced employees. However experience of effective sales in B2C (for example, mobile phones) doesn’t guarantee a success in B2B. After all, the seller, get used to “attack” potential buyer from the moment of its occurrence in a shop can operate in B2B by inertia. The seller needs to be learnt. Tell him about principles of company’s work, about product he will sell, to impart experience and only after that let him selling by himself.
Certain independence of a seller and high level of trust to his job are important in B2B. That’s why it is necessary to refuse stress and rigid management
A myth that best seller is a seller who can easily sale every product to every client does not “work” anymore. It’s time for expert sellers, educated sellers who know everything about products they sell.
Conclusion: the choice of the seller is combined not because of b2b product’s features only, but also because a seller is an official representative of the company and his loss can easily cause to company’s image in business circles.
The second factor: engineering of motivation system for sales department
It is a question of an organization of effective sales system, therefore it is important to “interest” a seller in final results of his activity. One of features of business for business sector is duration in decision-making process. In other words, it is considerable duration of every sales process. Therefore “encouragement” of B2B seller should consider this specificity. We will return to an example about mobile phones and hardware (pipes) sales.
There is one easiest way to make a seller interested in results of the activity - to divide its salary onto two components: the fixed part (for certain quantity of the fulfilled hours) and percent from sales he made per this time. In a case with mobile phones everything is simple: a seller receives the hour rate increased by quantity of hours fulfilled in shop, and percent from his mobile phones’ sales. If to extrapolate this scheme on pipes’ seller will simply refuse to work on you. Why? The total cost of the mobile phones’ sales per day can be easily equal to some thousands but to find pipes’ buyer (to issue the contract and to receive payment) it is necessary to spend days of hard work, especially in direct sales. What to do in such situation? It is necessary to develop and introduce stimulation system for B2B sellers taking into intermediate results (appointed meetings, a quality of telephone calls and so on). System of bonuses and awards is one of the best motivation systems all over the world. If the company is big enough it is possible to develop «career ladder» for sellers in B2B (as in B2C): seller, senior seller and etc.
The third factor: optimization of existing sales structure, working out and realization of advancement plan for B2B product
It is one of the secrets of successful companies. In each specific case it is necessary to analyze and optimize existing system of the sales’ organization individually. Spread out a sale’s process from a moment of the first contact with potential client to a moment of shipment or payment’s reception. Reveal those stages which occupy the longest period; those stages on more often sellers receive refusals.
Every sale’s process should have a time limit and to be effective as much as possible (maximum quantity of the concluded transactions, repeated clients, positive influence on business reputation, increase of recognition of a company and its products in business sphere and many other things). Develop new or modernize the old advancement plan for B2B product, pay attention to the Internet marketing, electronic B2B marketplaces, creation, optimization and advancement of a corporate site by “selling” inquiries, for example, «to order/to buy pipes».
The fourth factor: effective interaction with other departments
Team building policy is up to exact company. Pay attention on staff’s communications.
In heavy competitive struggle the strongest participants win, let your company being among them. Read more about online marketing efficiency.