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By Liz Stone July 2, 2018

How to Train B2C Reps in B2B Sales

Business-to-business selling is a whole different beast than selling direct to consumers. Different needs, personas, sales processes, and statements of value only scrape the surface of the variances between the two.

While there are certain characteristics that any top-performing salesperson needs to possess, without proper coaching and training in B2B sales even the highest-potential reps will fail. But if you find a salesperson with raw talent but only B2C experience, or little previous experience in B2B sales, the good news is that they CAN be trained to be a stellar B2B sales rep for your company. 

This blog examines: 

  • Key differences between B2B and B2C sales
  • 5 most important B2B selling skills
  • How to implement in your own organization

High-Level Differences Between B2B Sales & B2C Sales

 

B2B

B2C

Needs

Added layer of complexity, tying business needs, i.e. tools, talent, time, systems, processes, and resources, to personal needs Appeal to personal needs, i.e. relationships, recognition, affection, self-esteem, fulfillment, skill mastery 

Sales Activities

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Networking
  • Customer education
  • Relationship and trust building
  • Promotions
  • Customer service
  • Purchasing 

Sales Process

  • Multiple stages
  • Must map to the buyer's internal process 
  • Longer sales cycle
  • Fewer stages
  • Shorter sales cycle

Decision Makers

  • Many, and they are harder to reach
  • Decisions take longer 
  • One
  • Makes decisions quickly and more impulsively

Relationship

  • Critical to making a sale
  • Long-term personal relationship
  • Short-term personal relationship
  • Marketing takes over post-sale

Product Benefits

More intangible benefits that are harder to prove, like ROI and value Tangible; consumers touch & feel the product prior to purchase

 

5 Most Important B2B Sales Skills

  1. Value-based selling
    B2B sales reps need to have an awareness of how their product/service solves a prospect's problem, and be able to help the prospect perceive this value through personalized value statements and meaningful interactions mapped to their buying journey. 

  2. Asking meaningful questions
    Questions are one of the most important tools in a B2B sales rep's toolkit, but only if used properly. Effective sales questions increase trust and credibility, and make for an engaging conversation that leads the prospect to discover for themselves the solution they need (what you sell!).

  3. Listening (versus telling)
    You'll never hear a great B2B sales rep pitch. It's not because they aren't doing it, but it's in done subtly, through listening intently to the prospect's responses to their questions, clarifying what they've heard, and sharing unique value mapped to the challenges they've uncovered. 

  4. Following a complex sales process
    The B2B sales process is much longer and more complex than in B2C, with more selling activities involved such as phone calls, presentations, and meetings. It is also essential to forecasting, something B2C generally isn't concerned with. B2B sales reps need to be disciplined and detail-oriented to navigate the process and forecast accurately.

  5. Shortening the sales cycle
    In B2C sales, the sales cycle can take a couple of hours or less, while in B2B sales it extends months and sometimes years. By following a sales process and practicing diligent account management, B2B salespeople cultivate trust and build a sense of urgency that can lend itself to quicker purchase decisions. 

How to Implement

Consistent sales rep coaching and training is the only way to enable high-performing B2B sales reps. Whether you have a B2C rep transitioning to B2B sales, an experienced B2B sales rep joining your company, or a B2B sales team that's underperforming, implementing the following in your sales organization will make an enormous difference. 

Of course, this is much easier said than done. If you know you need to improve your B2B sales team but don't have time to take it on or don't know where to start, contact Sales Result. During a complimentary 30-minute consultation, we'll assess your gaps and outline a preliminary roadmap to reaching your goals. 

Topics: Sales Training, Sales Team Enablement

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