In general, the sales cycle for B2B offerings is significantly longer than it is for B2C. From initial contact through pitches to negotiations, there’s a lot that has to get done in order for a deal to close. Because there are already so many potential roadblocks in place, it’s important for a company to provide as much support as possible to their salespeople.
By providing all the support that’s needed, companies can ensure that they’re not causing any inefficiencies that make things even more challenging for their salespeople. While salespeople will still have to contend with challenges like making it clear why a specific offering is superior to that of a competitor, not having internal hurdles to overcome can provide a significant boost.
To ensure that there aren’t walls between sales and management which are hindering the ability of the former to make deals, let’s take a look at three ways workflow automation can be successfully used:
Provide Smart Deals
One of the reasons that it’s typical for B2B sales to take longer is because price is something that’s almost always negotiable. From more complex packages to higher volumes, buyers want to be sure that they’re getting the best deal for their money. Since a lot of back and forth is already going to accompany this process, companies don’t want to create even more of it for their salespeople.
Instead, eliminating the need for drawn out internal discussions can give salespeople the flexibility to push for a sale and successfully close. With an automated approval workflow, salespeople can have the confidence to strategically discount without worrying about offering something that is going to make their manager unhappy.
Process Special Requests
Price isn’t the only element of B2B negotiations that often requires approval. There are a wide range of things that may come up which will require a salesperson to seek approval from their manager. If you want to ensure that getting special requests approved doesn’t stand in the way of a deal, an automated workflow is essential.
Dynamic Management of Inventory
One big consideration for B2B buyers is how quickly a solution can be delivered. If two offerings share many of the same features but one provider is able to deliver significantly faster than the other, the buyer is probably going to err on the side of speed. Utilizing automation in regards to inventory can help a business be as aggressive as possible with their delivery timelines.
It’s worth noting that the type of automation discussed above can benefit a business in other ways as well. For example, purchasing managers can use purchasing software to streamline their purchasing process and increase the overall efficiency of everything related to procurement.
Our purchasing software is designed to make purchasing managers more effective. That’s why many of our blog posts focus on sharing tips that can empower purchasing managers to reduce their stress and be even better at what they do. While we generally write with purchasing managers as our target audience, we thought it would be interesting to shake things up and write a post that’s targeted at a different audience.
Specifically, we want to talk to salespeople about what they can do to find more success with purchasing managers. We’re well aware that purchasing managers are often perceived as cutthroat buyers who only care about price. We also know that salespeople may view some purchasing managers as an impenetrable fortress. Although there can be some truth to those stereotypes, it’s important for salespeople to put themselves in the shoes of a purchasing manager.
In a typical small to medium business, a purchasing manager is going to be juggling numerous tasks every single day. Because purchasing managers already have so much on their plate, a salesperson who shows up out of the blue and starts aggressively pitching is probably going to be viewed as unwanted distraction.
If you want to connect with purchasing managers in a way that will lead to more positive interactions, here’s what you can do as a salesperson to find success:
Start By Building Rapport
Purchasing managers are often under a lot of pressure from their organizations. In many cases, what’s viewed as “unreasonable” by salespeople is simply purchasing managers following what’s expected of them as they make buying decisions. This is why it’s important for salespeople to take the time to build rapport with purchasing managers. By doing so, they can understand what a purchasing manager truly needs, and then frame their pitch in a way that addresses the need.
Understand the Perception of Price
The reason so many purchasing managers are viewed as extremely price sensitive is because it’s their job to do things that way. Although that’s not something that’s going to change anytime soon, it doesn’t have to create an impossible roadblock. Instead, it’s something that salespeople can address by focusing on the value provided by what they’re selling. By being able to clearly sell the benefits of a product, a salesperson can find more success by changing the perception of price.
Just as salespeople often stereotype purchasing managers as cutthroat buyers, plenty of purchasing managers stereotype salespeople as being insincere. The main reason many purchasing managers feel that way is because they’ve had interactions with salespeople who aren’t sincere. So if you want to break that stereotype and build the type of trust that’s needed to close a sale, it’s important to find opportunities to show that you care about what you do and always try to approach interactions in a genuine way.
Millennials are a demographic that get a lot of coverage in the press. Millennials being unable to find jobs and dealing with large amounts of student debt are two of the most popular topics for big publications to cover. While those topics make for good stories, they don’t paint a full picture of where millennials are at.
Although it’s true that a percentage of millennials are struggling to find their place in the professional world, a large number of millennials are already in the workforce. Not only are they working, but they’re already starting to move up the corporate ladder. That’s why research shows that in less than five years, millennials will account for more than 50% of the workforce.
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