When it comes to commercial relations, BtoB sales have their own particularities, particularly as the end user of the product or service is not the direct customer of the company supplying the good or service. Also, since purchases are made with company funds, they sometimes require the approval of several parties, which lengthens the process. Let's find out more about the specifics and taboos of B2B sales.
Six specific features of the Business to Business market
In the business world, the Anglo-Saxon term BtoB or B2B (Business to Business) as opposed to the BtoC or B2C (Business to Consumer) sector can be translated into French as commerce interentreprises or commerce entreprise à entreprise, in other words companies that contract with other companies.
Let's look at 6 characteristics of the B2B market that differ from the B2C market.
- Buyers are more rational. Since they don't buy for themselves, but with a view to pleasing their targets, trying to convince them by playing on emotion or pleasure won't work. Impulse buying doesn't exist here. They leave room for comparison, testing, proof of effectiveness, cost management and profitability.
- The number of buyers is limited. A single contract with a single customer represents a market in itself. The risk of one of them defaulting is to jeopardize his own business.
- Collaboration takes time. There are many people to deal with, tough negotiations, complex procedures and customized offers. The higher the budget, the more the conditions of sale are discussed.
- The legal aspects must be mastered if valid contracts are to be concluded. Large companies are advised by legal experts. A simple misnomer can lead to litigation.
- Involvement is more important. With only a few customers, the supplier has to be more involved, understand the concerns and issues of each customer, listen to them constantly, adapt and evolve along with them, and immerse himself in their culture.
- Compliance with specifications is often required. Companies that commit large sums of money to a project are demanding. All stakeholders, both internal and external, need to know the ins and outs of the project.
Two taboos in B2B sales
When it comes to selling products or services to another structure, one of the taboos to be lifted is that of price. At the start of a transaction, it's sometimes difficult to take the initiative and talk about cost. The fear of not winning the contract, of being more expensive than the competition, of antagonizing the prospect, often prevents this subject from being put on the table right from the start. This is a mistake, because it wastes a lot of time. It's better to be clear about your positioning as soon as possible. Once the question of budget has been addressed, negotiations on the various sales conditions can begin. Let's not forget that we're dealing with professionals whose aim is to generate profit. They already have an idea of how much they will spend. Announcing an exact price is not always possible, as it will depend on several parameters that are still unknown at this stage, but giving at least an approximation shows that you are honest and transparent. A relationship of trust will then be established.
A second thing we're reluctant to talk about are the problems likely to arise during the course of the collaboration. However, listing them as soon as the customer gets to the heart of the matter, by asking concrete questions, enables you to anticipate by considering all possible solutions. Always in the spirit of transparency, the customer will appreciate it if risks are assessed from the outset. Difficulties must never be concealed, or even minimized, because if they arise one day, they will be unexpected and therefore more difficult to explain to the customer. Of course, the point is not to frighten, but to remain realistic. If, for example, delivery times may not be respected in certain circumstances, it's best to point this out.
It goes without saying that a salesperson's job is also to reassure his prospect. Any obstacles that may be raised will always have appropriate answers.