Excerpt from the upcoming book at amazon.com - Sellers from Mars and Buyers from Venus
Marrying Elements of Nature with B2B Sales
Why We Need This
The business to business (B2B) sales is a challenging, complex, and a long-drawn out process spanning across a period of anywhere between six to twenty-four months. The sales cycle varies across the products and services in different industries and geographies for multiple reasons.
To succeed in business to business (B2B) sales, sellers have to gather intelligence, and anticipate prospective buyers’ preferences, thought processes, and modus operandi. Accordingly, the conversation is then initiated for positioning a product or a service.
Various methodologies like, personality tests developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, Game theory, Behavioural Psychology, etc are used in sales and business to learn about the stakeholder’s behaviour and motivation at the buyers and sellers end. These methodologies provide insights by gathering data or observing individuals over a duration.
The Five elements-based approach is an ancient methodology, used in Chinese medicine, Feng Shui and Ayurveda for medical treatment, face reading and to understand how humans behave. It relies on the fact that each element found in nature has certain key attributes and each human being behaves under the influence of these elemental attributes. Applying and correlating the significance of these elemental attributes on humans, we can anticipate how an individual will behave. Besides this, every individual will exhibit distinct traits according to their primary and secondary elements, like the energy of Yin and Yang in Chinese medicine. This approach doesn’t require data gathering from each individual, and neither is it required to observe them for a longer duration to build intelligence. This methodology is related to nature through the cycle of creation and destruction.
Applying the five elements-based approach in B2B sales is simple, non-intrusive, and less data-centric. Once the five elements and their attributes are known, applying them to respective stakeholders in the sales value chain is quick, easy, efficient and effective.
B2B Sales Value Chain
The business to business (B2B) sales value chain model comprises the following stages.
1. Gather intelligence - build market intelligence by researching and mapping the target market
2. Design and Build - design and build the product or a service to offer
3. Pricing and Position – price and position to the target segment
4. Engage Prospective Buyer - engage prospective buyers through their journey map
5. Sell – closing the deal by preparing and executing the sales strategy or plan
6. Deliver - deploy or operationalise the product or service
7. Service Post Delivery- post delivery service or support
8. Feedback to Innovate - collect feedback to refine or innovate
Each stage of the value chain has multiple stakeholders and activities. The sales team or a sales representative follow these value chain activities with the intent of growing the business. During these activities, various internal and external stakeholders are engaged to create a compelling storyline and mindshare among them for positioning and selling a service or a product.
The following list provides a good view of the various stakeholders engaged by the sales team or representative.
● Internal marketing and corporate strategy team for research, positioning, and pricing
● Internal product engineering or service design team
● Internal legal services team for defining contractual agreements, terms, and conditions
● Procurement at the buyer’s end
● Sponsoring C-level executives like CEO, CFO, CIO, CDO and their team members at buyer’s end
● Internal sales team, and
● Any others like internal HR
This is not an exhaustive list but highlights the complexity and multiplicity of potential stakeholders involved in executing these activities.
To initiate engagement with the prospective buyer, the first step is to build a persona map of stakeholders at the buyers and/or sellers end. This will assist in executing the sales strategy efficiently and effectively.
Next - Persona Mapping with Elements - Buyer and Seller