If you’re serious about selling your B2B products and/or services to prospects, you must first answer three questions.
Question 1: Why do I need your product or service?
If you sell or manufacture shoes or perfume, if you offer dental or accounting services, you don’t have to explain why customers need your products and/or services.
B2B organizations often don’t have that luxury. To sell their B2B products and/or services, you must first demonstrate:
- How it solves a known problem.
- How it solves an unknown problem.
Solving problems customers know
One of the banes of any organization where documents must go up and down the food chain for approvals is bottlenecks. Documents are mired in an executive’s inbox, and the entire process comes to a stop until she approves it. FileNet developed an electronic process that eliminates the bottlenecks and rapidly sped up document processing.
Social media is growing in popularity, but many people remain puzzled about what, exactly, it is, why they need it and why they should expend company resources to accommodate it. A new job niche, social media strategist, has emerged to meet this need.
Every company has problems: too little business, too much business, not enough employees, too few delivery systems, inefficient hierarchies, poor hiring policies, etc.
If you can convince companies you have a solution that lessens or eliminates such problems, they will listen. They won’t necessarily buy, understand, but they will listen. They can’t afford not to.
Your job is to explain clearly and succinctly how your product/service allows customers to:
- Work faster
- Increase productivity
- Improve profits
- Eliminate overhead
- Reduce stress
- Please shareholders
- Become a hero
Solving problems customers don’t know they have
Let’s say you’re in a regulated industry that requires strict compliance with state, federal and international standards. You have instituted a strict compliance policy that meets all regulations as well as a monitoring process to maintain conformance.
Then a sales rep alerts you to a law that states if any of your vendors, no matter how small, is out of compliance, you are out of compliance and can face possible fines and loss of business. He then offers a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had.
You have every safeguard imaginable to protect your local area network against all outside threats and intrusions. It’s as hack-proof as humanly possible.
Then a consultant provides evidence that most data thefts occur from within. Executives innocently email sensitive information. Undetected, a disgruntled employee secretly downloads proprietary intellectual property onto a thumb drive to sell to competitors. And there’s little you can do about it. Unless, of course, you allow him to install internal protection.
Companies may want your product or service, but the odds of making a sale improve if you can dramatically demonstrate why they need it.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know.
Next: Question 2: Why do I need you?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer of Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County CA marketing communications firm.