Forgive me for the acronym loaded title, but it seemed appropriate. The combination of the growing recognition of the importance of customer experience and the digitalization of our entire lives has driven many to make statements like “there is no B2C or B2B, it is all B2P (erson) now.” I think this is hogwash.
My last few posts have focused on commentary based on the new book, The Challenger Customer, that was written by a team from CEB. That work just confirmed and reinforced what Gartner research has been showing for a number of years and should be pretty obvious to anyone involved in technology related sales to business—the vast majority of buying is driven by a team decision.
This is incredibly important to remember. A B2P approach might appeal to the individual, but rarely is an individual making the decision. This isn’t consumer spending—it is not the “buyer’s money”, it is the organization’s. Thinking about B2P could make you lose sight of this–even if you feel the P represents “people” v. a “person.”
The real selling environment is all about B2Team.
- Identifying the buying team members
- Understanding their role in the process, and
- Applying that knowledge to help the team move to a consensus decision
Those are the drivers for scucess.
That being said, that does not mean you should not try to appeal to individuals on the team and create emotional, personal connections with the team members. You need to do that. Emotions, particularly positive ones, are what will spur individuals to drive for a consensus “yes” (or a “no” if they are emotionally opposed to the decision). But the emotions you want to elicit need to be both for the individual, but also the organizational value.
Even the idea of focusing on the individual with “power” won’t work–because most decisions have multiple power players involved from different groups (e.g. finance, IT, line-of-business) at different points in the buying process. The buck rarely stops at one place. And appealing solely to that one person, may disenfranchise the others.
Adapt to the situation, be prepared, understand the team, and deliver value at the team and individual level.
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