I have been working in IT services for more than 5 years and have always been advising B2B customers. I noticed that as consultants help customers introduce new approaches and digital processes on a daily basis, but our sales department often still works traditionally with tenders, letters and handshakes. In this article I would like to pursue the question: How can digitization support this too?

Difference between B2B and B2C

B2B and B2C sales differ significantly from one another. While in B2C there is often a high number of many customers with little turnover, it is the other way around in B2B. Furthermore, traditional channels such as posters, TV advertising etc. do not help. Even Facebook and Instagram hardly reach the decision-makers of the DAX companies.

Another difference lies in the products. In B2C, these are often bought by the end consumer and are precisely tailored to their problem. The end consumer selects the product rationally according to criteria or emotionally according to the brand. B2B products are often extensively adapted to the customer’s individual processes and the decision in favor of the provider is made on the basis of trust and price.

Challenges of B2B sales

The biggest challenge lies in the limited literature on sales. Even on Google you can hardly find any real tips. It is therefore difficult to use digitization in sales without knowing any real connection points. I experience three challenges in practice:

  • A large number of small customers can often not be covered profitably in sales
  • Routine tasks slow down the sales force and the acquisition time is shortened
  • Salespeople need to be ready 24/7 as customers expect to be contacted immediately.

5 tips for B2B sales

How can these three challenges be solved and what does digitization have to do with them? One keyword is the introduction of software and the automation of sales processes, especially routine sales discussions and support tasks. I would like to give you the following impulses:

  1. A chatbot can, for example, answer initial customer inquiries from small customers and also answer small questions from large customers outside of business hours.
  2. Ticket software can transparently distribute customer inquiries to several employees and in the event of illness or vacation of the key account manager, another can take over.
  3. Plugins and software can be used to generate invoices or offers from standard products or similar offers. This saves time.
  4. With the help of artificial intelligence, forecasts can be made as to which customer, when and which product would like to buy.
  5. With the help of cloud software, the field service can access documents and assistance from the back office at any time.

Conclusion

I showed my personal experiences with B2B sales. There are many other approaches. For more information, I have found a whitepaper on future sales, which uses a 3-step approach to highlight essential milestones and present solutions. The download is free.

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Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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