As a start-up or SME, you will undoubtedly be aware of your B2B clients, how profitable they can be, not to mention the ongoing demands they have from you as a supplier to provide the ultimate solution – whatever industry you may be in.
When it comes to the smaller businesses, they are usually easy enough to attract with a variety of marketing including word of mouth, website enquiry, tradeshow or some digital ads you may have running for lead gen. However, unless you are a ‘volume’ based business, you will always be looking for the ‘big fish’, that large business that will take your business from mediocre to the big time.
The big clients are often harder to sign up (usually through a tender process), their processes are formalised, their structures are in place, but the reward for getting them on your books can be not only monetary but can open many doors to springboard your business into a ‘blue ocean’ in terms of new business opportunities.
Before you begin the process to acquire large business (B2B) clients and customers, you need to know not only what makes them tick but just as importantly, who really makes the decision to buy in the organisation.
According to the Corporate Executive Board, on average 6.8 people are required when making a B2B purchase decision. Think about that next time you try to close the deal in your next meeting…are there 6.8 people present?
Now not all decisions are made with such a collective approach, however, as an average, it is an excellent benchmark. These 6.8 people might consist of the main participants, the shot callers, the influencers and, of course, the time wasters. Understanding the collaborative nature of the buying decision during your buying and selling process will effectively make your B2B acquisition a great deal smoother, refined and have the likelihood of success.
Successfully winning business within larger organisations requires that you have a strong understanding, not just about the company overall but also the key stakeholders involved in purchasing your company’s product and service offering.
Outlined below are the four key groups, their roles and key characterise to identify them in your B2B process.
Decision Makers—The Real Buyers
- They do the deals and make the actual purchasing decisions
- In some organisations, they may not use, be involved with or familiar with the details of your product and service offering
- They are focused on achieving strategic objectives as well as their own personal agenda
- Often set buying specifications, provide information, evaluate alternatives
- May recommend a particular solution and/or supplier for the company
- Can come from various departments such as IT, finance and engineering
- May also be an end user of the product/service offering
Change Agent—Your Secret Weapon
- Build consensus among decision-makers and their colleagues
- Highly respected and well regarded by peers and management
- Can be vital to understanding the politics and true buying process
- However, they can be hard to define
- They won’t have a particular role or title and are likely not a senior executive
- Chances are they:
- Have researched and understand the alternatives
- Looked upon to answer questions and provide their perspectives
- The key to getting them to help you is to demonstrate value and build trust
- People who actually use the product and/or service being offered
- Depending on the organisation, they:
- May not have any impact on the purchasing decision process
- Could potentially serve as an influencer
Remember, it is not all smooth sailing; there is a key watch out that many start-ups and SME’s can’t ignore, and if you do it is at your own peril. These include but are not limited to, the B2B buying process, the company, the product or service, the type of purchase involved, the term of the engagement and the buyers themselves all can have a positive or negative impact on the ultimate success of your business. It is vital, ignore…at your peril.
To learn more about how your start-up or SME can reach, sign and deliver the types of B2B customers that will take your business to the next level, sign up to receive tips and insights directly to your inbox, check out listeninnovategrow.com for articles, tools and resources to get your business moving.