B2B sales challenges are piling up as the clients are becoming more and more difficult with their purchasing decisions.
Sales goals are getting higher and higher and the organization is challenged with beating up low-performance results.
There are many challenges if you are in B2B sales because you deal with complex organizations and decision cycles. B2B customers are difficult to please and hard to convince. This is because they themselves deal with all internal procedures, budget limitations, and company politics.
As a startup, if you are operating in B2B, you need to organize your sales force and moreover put in place a proper sales enablement, especially after the early adapter acquisition phase.
Out of early adopter phase, your mission is to prove sales repeatability to fuel the growth.
Not an easy mission
5 main roadblocks on this mission :
1. The sales cycle is one to start with. The long sales cycle is a productivity killer keeping the sales resources occupied on the same deal(s) for a long time. Wasting so much time on the sales cycle will keep your sales funnel activity at the low end. And don’t forget that today, customers want answers NOW, if not sooner!
2. B2B totally depends on the organization of your target client. Business clients’ horizontally-vertically big matrix organization is one of the main causes of the complexity and slow down. In this organization, it is hard to define the right people to sell your business and if you’re working from home, you really must have a well-rounded discipline to keep ahead of the competition.
Relationship maps are useful to understand the profiles of your interlocutors. However, sketching the relationship map takes time with several back-and-forths of early client meetings. By the time you get to understand who is who in client’s organization, you have spent a great deal of time.
3. B2B customers face cost-cutting initiatives and have to reduce their costs on an ongoing basis given the dire economic situations. Hence, if you get to progress well in your sales cycle, you will still end up in the difficult round of final negotiations where things can turn upside and down at the last minute.
4. One consequence of tough price negotiations is the direct impact on the margin. Knowing your numbers, your game plan and business cases for the specific opportunity you are on becomes more important. Pressure on reduced prices hence reduced margin will put your business health at risk. Where do you stop? Your sales organization shall be equipped well enough to react quickly and decide how to handle the price related discussions.
5. Another impact of price negotiations is the opportunity size. Your sales forecast at the beginning of your sales cycle may diminish significantly throughout the sales trip. After all, was it meaningful to chase the opportunity and put your precious sales resources on this? Maybe there was another more qualified opportunity?
Sales opportunities have always an unpredictability attached to their nature. Very often, the question will be “To Do or Not To Do.”
Yet, insights about client organization and opportunity qualification are things not to be overlooked.
These will strongly impact the decision-making mechanism of a sales cycle. And not to mention, a decision is not a one-time thing taken at the beginning. It requires re-evaluation based on changes in the game plan. See also this post about applying Feng Shui principles if you’re working from home.
To sum it up :
B2B clients have challenges and their decision-making mechanism is rather complicated. Add to that extended sales cycle and hard negotiations leading to reduced margin and diminished sales revenue.
This is why sales organizations in B2B should pay special attention to effective and productive operations. Read also this page about the pros and cons of working from your home.
Putting sales representatives randomly on the field and asking them to achieve the goals cannot overcome the sophisticated levels of problems described above.
The right sales enablement is the solution that any B2B company shall seek. It is even more important for B2B startups particularly in the efforts to reach out to their mass customers.