Most Common B2B Sales Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Did you know that the sales professionals are some of the most demanded people in the market? In addition, the sales job is one of the most demanding of all. Yet, the statistics show that the growth rate in sales is slower than the average of the other jobs, being only 3 percent from 2016 to 2026. The difficulties of handling sales challenges and these figures, make sales the last option for a talented lot of the youth.
For people who know how to overcome sales challenges, making money is almost certain. The employer wants to retain good salespeople at any cost to skyrocket the profits of the company. Nonetheless, for most sales professionals, unaware of the common sales challenges, surviving in the sales job becomes a pain in the neck. There are a lot of issues they face in their day-to-day activities with nearly no solutions to them.
Having said that, we can now understand that B2B sales is even more a difficult job to accomplish. The list of B2B sales challenges is even longer and much more complicated. You are expected to understand not only your products and services but also those of your customer industries. This is necessary to build up a good rapport and empathy with your customer, without which you are sure to fail.
If a sales representative knows how to turn challenges in sales, he too can make his career progress exponentially. We researched and surveyed many salespeople and found the following major challenges that they face in B2B sales.
B2B Sales Challenges and Techniques to Overcome Them
1) Communicate value differentiators of their product –
The Internet has contracted the size of the world and enlarged the size of the market. When a new and unique product is launched, it has at least ten different competitors who launch a similar product.
Customers these days have plenty of options for any kind of product or service. Hence, if you are unable to demonstrate your product as a market differentiator in any way, be sure to lose your prospect to your competitor.
Solution – For handling this sales challenge, it is important to show your product as unique. The key is to do some homework about the industry of your customer and understand their pain points. If your product can address their pain points or a future upgrade might be helpful to them, you have what you need. It is time to clearly and concisely communicate this peculiar feature of your product.
2) Buyer’s Researching Capabilities –
Sales have never been this difficult before. Today, every piece of information in the world is just a click away and there is nothing hidden or unknown to a buyer. Your buyer probably knows as much as you, if not more, about your product.
He has researched about you and your competitors. By now, he exactly knows what he wants and what cost he would have to bear for it. It is quite difficult to trick him for cost or features.
Solution – The best part is that out of all other options, he found your product better than at least half of the other options. That is why he is talking to you. You can quote this in your conversation to build up the prospect’s trust and confidence in you.
Next, when the buyer impresses you by his research, it is good to surprise him by yours. Again, researching about the prospect’s industry is the best solution. It is also important to know the loopholes of your competitors and show your product better. This can be achieved only when there is close coordination between the manufacturing, marketing and sales departments of your company.
3) Buyer Stuck in the Researching Phase –
Every salesperson finds himself/herself in this situation at least once a year when his/her prospect is stuck in the researching phase for a very long time. Prospects want to stay in the education phase because they believe it is too early to hand over the case to a salesperson.
However, at this point, the sales professional interacting with the prospect can either take it as an advantage or make a mistake and lose the prospect forever.
Solution: The first thing that can turn this situation for you is not to be pushy with your prospect. Instead, try to gain more insight into their problems. You can convince your prospect to trust you in learning about the product/service that they are looking for.
It is very important to keep your focus on the prospect, his problems and his learning instead of selling your product. By doing this, you are unknowingly engaging your prospect with you through these three ways.
i. You are laying your prospect off the pressure of buying your product and in fact, helping him learn more.
ii. You are helping your prospect to learn more about their problems from a different perspective. You do this by questioning them about their problems, obstructions and the factors they want their solution to pass.
iii. You make your prospect realize that your main concern is not selling your product but addressing your prospect’s problems effectively.
Once your prospect trusts you completely, you can be sure to get his loyalty for a much longer period than you had anticipated.
4) Getting Attention during Cold Calls –
This is one of the most challenging B2B sales challenges. Cold calls from salespeople, be it a credit card seller or an insurance agent, are a real nuisance for almost everybody. B2B sales calls are no different.
Research says that if a salesperson starts pitching his product within the first minute of his first call, 78 percent of such deals would not succeed. Your first call is the most important where you can make or break a deal.
Solution – However tempting it might look, do not waste your first call puking out whatever you have for your product. If you are able to build a relationship with your prospect in this call, you will get to talk to him again. So save your full speech for the next time.
Instead, be ready with some open-ended questions and just a brief introduction to your product. These could be to understand something about their company culture or industry. Remember to keep yourself and your company out of the discussion for at least one minute and focus on your buyer completely. This would make you a good listener to whatever your prospect has to say and you might end up getting his personal favorite.
5) Getting an Appointment from the Prospect –
Next to the cold calling and follow-ups, comes the stage to set-up an appointment with the prospect to discuss your product in detail. This is another big B2B sales challenge. Prospects will always be busy and indulged in one or the other work priorities. It is the task of the sales rep to attract his potential customer to schedule a meeting to discuss further and a difficult one at that.
Solution – The first step is to grab the needed attention from your prospect in the first few minutes of your call. You can do this by active listening and understanding your prospect and allowing enough time for him to introspect from your questions.
When you are successful in this, try to gain the prospect’s curiosity in your product by hitting directly on the pain points of the prospect’s company. You can start by saying, ‘I now have an idea of how difficult it must be for your industry to keep up the growth. However, I can try to make it simpler for you by…’. The thumb rule is to genuinely care for your prospect.
6) Resistance to Change –
Change is inevitable and is yet difficult to embrace. By nature, humans resist any kind of change, even if it for their betterment. If your product or service offers to revolutionize the existing culture and work nature of an organization, expect the leaders to defy buying your product.
Another reason for refusing such a revolutionary product is that the staff of the organization might take some time to accept the change. This might decelerate their work and growth.
Solution – To handle this sales challenge, you need to give a hint of fear to your prospect. Fear of lagging behind the market or fear of losing customers to their competitors work best in this case.
It is even better if your product can be tailor-made for your buyers in order to make it easily accepted by them. Arranging a demonstration before handling the product to your customer is another way to overcome this sales challenge.
7) Delay in Decision Making –
You might hear from your prospect saying that they aren’t ready to decide for your product. Another excuse that a prospect might give to a seller is that due to some constraints, they are planning to postpone the decision to the next quarter/year.
These are usual techniques for a prospect to delay making decisions. Sometimes, the excuses might be true. However, most of the time, these simply mean saying a no, rather subtly. Hence, it becomes another big B2B sales challenge for sales professionals.
Solution: It is the responsibility of the salesperson to identify whether it is a mere excuse or a real obstruction that your prospect is facing. You cannot do much if the company has made a decision owing to financial or other issues.
However, there is a lot that a salesperson can do to fasten the decision if your prospect needs some more inputs from you or is simply procrastinating due to his own resistance to embrace change.
Offer to provide any extra information or an additional demonstration if that can help the prospect to decide. In a competitive situation, you can ask your prospect of what vendor differentiators are they evaluating and how your product/service actually can make a difference for them.
8) Pricing Challenge –
This is one challenge that arises in almost every B2B sales deal invariably. No matter how economic or valued a product is, the customer will always have one or the other price challenge.
The major challenges related to pricing in B2B sales are – when to introduce the price of the product and how to stop a customer from breaking the deal when the product goes out of his budget.
If a salesperson introduces the pricing of the product before conveying its value and special features, it might result in the loss of prospects. The second problem is even bigger because if a product is out of budget for a prospect, he is most likely to run away from it.
Solution – Firstly, the thumb rule to introduce pricing to a prospect is only when you have conveyed the special and unique features of your product. Unless you are able to convince your prospect about the worth of the product, he will surely refuse to buy your product.
Secondly, after discussing the price, if the prospect still feels that the product is out of his budget, the best solution here is to customize the product for him and provide only the required features that fall within his budget.
When a salesperson knows the correct sales techniques to handle sales challenges, he is sure to get success. It is a field that has a lot to offer to the right people and can be dangerously devastating for the ones who do not know how to turn common sales challenges into success.
By using the above techniques, you can take a few more steps towards a successful sales career. Furthermore, if you still need help, a B2B sales consulting firm is a more reliable, comparatively cheaper and strategically better idea to handle common sales challenges in your company.