How to Sell to Today’s Self-Educated B2B Buyer

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The Corporate Executive Board recently reported B2B buyers are 57% of the way to making their decision before your sales team even contacts them.

Whether that number’s true or not doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they do make up much of their mind before talking to your sales team.

In the old sales world, the article adds, you used to identify your prospect’s needs and sell them the right solutions.

Now, they know so much about what they need that they already know which solutions work best for them. That’s because they have so much data available that it’s clear to them what’s going on in their company.

So how do you sell successfully to someone who already knows what they need?

1. Focus on Customers Ready to Buy Now, Or Ones with Simple, Non-Bureaucratic Sales Processes 

This tip comes courtesy of Harvard Business Review. They studied top-performing sales reps, and found they focus on doing this instead of selling solutions.

I’m paraphrasing their language, which is a little more dense. But, it’s basically what they say.

2. Build a Relationship with Your Target Company’s Strongest Advocate

HBR also adds this tip. An advocate not only buys into your solution, but they also have the clout and reputation at their company to get the decision to happen.

They should also be the type of person who delivers on commitments and stands to benefit personally in some way from the sale.

You can’t find all of these attributes in a single person. But the more you can identify, the stronger your chance of making the sale.

3. B2B Buyers Still Often Buy on Fear!

As sensible as they often are, they still face sometimes terrifying business problems. Your solution could make or break their business.

So, they need someone they can truly trust. As you build a relationship with them, position yourself as a trustworthy person.

Give them detailed answers for their questions. Show them why some options you offer won’t work. Bend over backwards to do everything you possibly can for them.

It’s kind of old-fashioned, but it’s one of those instinctual things humans need in every relationship.

4. Ignore BANT!

Budget, authority, needs, and timeline – yes, they are important. You shouldn’t wait for BANT qualification of the client because it’s often way too late to make the sale once you’ve made BANT determination.

If you wait for this qualification before building the relationship, you’re heading for a cash flow shortage in the future.

5. Stay in Touch with Helpful, No-Strings-Attached Information

Okay, so most of your prospects won’t be ready to buy now or from you. That’s the way sales works.

But, regardless of what you sell, stay in touch with your prospect. Send them relevant blog posts on what you offer (ideally, but not necessarily, yours).

Notify them of you free white paper. Invite them to your webinar.

If they go with someone else, you stay top of mind. When the other guy messes up big time, they contact you first.

Do those things, and you’ll sell to B2B buyers much more often.<a

One thought on “How to Sell to Today’s Self-Educated B2B Buyer

  1. Thanks, Chad. As to your point #4 (“Ignore BANT”) I offer this caveat: “Create BANT”. In fact, much of the rest of your article is about just that: helping the prospect FIND Budget; establishing YOUR Authority and trust, acknowledging THEIR Need (they came to you, after all), and underlining THEIR Urgency (timing) by staying in touch with stage-appropriate information that keeps your solution front of mind.

    Cheers,
    Ed
    @fanfoundry

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