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What, Exactly, is B2B Sales?

You’ve certainly heard the term “B2B” before and you probably know that it stands for Business to Business. But some people don’t fully understand what it means to be in B2B sales and how being in B2B sales differs from any other sales industry.

Your Clients

The first primary difference between B2B sales and B2C (Business to Consumer) is the clients you will be calling on. In B2B sales, you will be calling on people who are considering making a purchase for a product or service for the business they work for or own. They will not be considering making a purchase for their personal use, unlike clients in the B2C world.

While this may (and should) seem obvious, there are distinct differences between business consumers and non-business consumers. And while many of the same sales skills are needed to be successful in either industry, B2B sales demands a deeper understanding of the financial impact your product or service will have on your customer’s business as well as a more thorough understanding of the business climate your customer.

Your Products or Services

While there will always be overlap when it comes to products geared for B2B and B2C, most B2B reps sell products or services that a consumer simply would not consider buying for their personal use. For example, most businesses purchase copiers but few individuals have copiers in their living room. Businesses often buy network servers, routers, switches and hubs while most American homes may have a router and a few computers but no server.

The products used in B2B sales are all about matching solutions to needs and the needs of a business is different than the needs of a consumer.

Your Expectations

Your expectations fall into two categories:

  • Your employer: If you are in B2B sales, you will be expected, most likely, to maintain and grow existing relationships with accounts and to foster new relationships. You will be expected to hit assigned quotas for both revenue and activities. You will be expected to attend training sessions and to be a positive member of your sales team.
  • Your customers: You will be expected to respect your customer’s busy schedules and to come to each appointment well prepared. You will be expected to be honest, fair and to follow through on your promises. You will be expected to bring something of value with you whenever you call on your customers. Visiting customers to only advance your initiatives is a solid way to prevent you from satisfying the expectations that your employer has of you.

So how do these expectations change if you are in B2C and not B2B? They don’t. You will still be expected to be a professional sales person who delivers value, integrity and consistency to your customers.

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