Helen Ross 24 May 2017 2 min read

Becoming B2B Batman

Do you sell a product? Do you sell convenience? Do you sell quality, or quantity, or maybe experience?


I was reading this article the other day and it talks about a rather famous - or infamous in some circles, I’m sure - report by Forrester Research called Death of a (B2B) Salesman.


Now I’m not about to start showing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to their seats just yet, but there’s a lot to be said for the growing view that the sales landscape is shifting. More and more of the buying decision is being made before a customer engages with a rep (with this report suggesting as many as 94% of businesses research their purchases online). As eCommerce grows, you are not only being compared to local competition, you’re up against international market players as well.


So how do you keep up?


Well, for a start… stop taking orders.


Ok, I couldn’t resist being a little bit dramatic.


Please don’t stop taking orders completely (I say, while frantically pleading to keep my job). What I mean is, stop considering order-taking to be your primary value add. A well-trained monkey can take an order. You are so much more than a well-trained monkey and this is not where your value lies.


Your value lies in knowing a customer’s business. In knowing your products inside and out. In suggesting solutions they may not have thought of because they are busy thinking of a million things, of which your company is only a part, and you are the specialist they can call in. Your value lies in being their B2B Batman™ (Batmobile not included).


I’ve written previously on the importance of challenging customers and the difference between the common assumption of what a relationship builder is, and what I believe a relationship builder should be. This is the evolution of that. Relationship Builder Returns™ (I couldn’t resist).


The internationalisation of eCommerce has made it easier for companies to undercut each other, and if this is the only reason your customers call on you, it won’t be long before you can’t drive those margins any lower.


So offer them more. Sounds simpler than it is, I know. Start by bringing topics other than the bottom line to the table. Of course, for any business this will be a consideration, but if this is the whole conversation, you’re soon going to run out of runway and customers will start asking what value you truly offer them.


Consider what more you and your business can add to your customer’s life. Something OTHER than a good price. If you’re here, chances are you have an eCommerce presence. So start there. Being able to offer information when a CUSTOMER wants it rather than just when YOU are available is no small thing. The web is your 24/7 sidekick (it’s your Robin, not your Mr Freeze). Let it work the transactional side of the conversation for you, while you focus on adding value to your customer’s business.


Be the hero your customer deserves.