This book is a must read to succeeding in B2B marketing and sales in the “new norm”.
“Buyer Centered Selling – How Modern Sellers Engage & Collaborate With Buyers”, by Thomas Williams and Thomas Saine, is a one-stop comprehensive playbook for marketing and sales professionals involved in the selling of complex, high priced products and services.
The seller’s challenges and the buyer’s dilemmas.
Presenting both “seller’s challenges” and “buyer dilemmas”, the book presents a wide array of strategies, tactics, and tools all focussed on how to make business buyers buy in the context of today’s complex and high challenging B2B buying environment.
The book starts off with a detailed discussion about the characteristics of the expectations and behaviours of the modern B2B buyer, and the core elements of the B2B buying process.
“Tom and Tom” do a great in this section to help frame where B2B product and service providers will need to focus their Marketing and Sales efforts and hence ensure where there must alignment between how sellers sell and business buyers buy.
The buyer discovery process
In Chapter 3, Williams and Saine provide an extensive discussion about how to conduct a buyer discovery process which they describe as being “about learning what your client needs: their strategic initiatives, their goals, and their outcomes.”
They emphasize that buyer discovery is not a “one-off” or a “stage” in B2B selling but rather a “continuous process that unites buyers, sellers, and stakeholders in focused, problem-solving discussions throughout the buying process.”
An effective buyer discovery is a critical component to driving B2B sales and creating long-term relationships. It is also an area recognised in recent B2B buyer studies as a highly sought after skill, but also as an area of weakness among B2B sales professionals.
Buying Centred Selling provides a great framework for the overall discovery process, as well as outlining a number of tools to explore the impact of unaddressed needs, future expectations, and resource and alignment issues.
Key buying situations
The balance of the book provides detailed discussions and recommendations about key buying situations that B2B sellers will face (especially during these turbulent times) including:
- Resuscitating Stalled Opportunities
- Selling to the Risk Averse Buyer
- Activating Dormant Leads and Inactive Accounts
- Selling Up to Executives
- Effective Cross-Selling
Some of the key golden nuggets in this book include:
- The 3 Core Issues of Buying Process
- 5 Key Questions Executives Ask Themselves
- Building Change Coalitions and Engaging Pockets of Resistance
- Selling to Differential Behavioural Styles
One of the most beneficial takeaways for me was their discussion on the “Implement and Evaluate” phase of the buying and selling process for complex B2B products.
The post-sale support plan
Williams and Saine discuss how it is critical that B2B sellers ensure a smooth implementation of their product or service with a post-sale support plan.
This is one of the most overlooked and undervalued parts of the buying process. It plays an important role in eliminating increased costs, productivity issues, errors as well as helping to create a strong relationship between the seller and the buying organization.
To help ensure a smooth transition which leads to customer retention, repeat business as well as referrals, Williams and Saine suggest that a post-sale implementation plan include the following:
- Carefully monitored transition plan
- Product and service training
- Contact information of all those involved
Who will benefit most from “Buyer Centered Selling”?
Whether you are a CEO, MD, Head of Marketing, Sales or Growth, an account manager, or service personnel, I think you will benefit immensely from this book. The world of B2B sales is changing and is now tougher than ever before.
Arm your team, and SME with the strategies, tactics, and tools provided in this book to give you the greatest likelihood for success.
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