B2B, SMB, B2C, ABC ~ Acronym Nightmare (Sales Speak)

"Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service."
~Henry Ford

I have gone on record to have a strong dislike for acronyms.  The reason being, far too often, sales professionals, their managers, technical and/or operations team have a lingo of their own, cloaked by acronyms.  Unfortunately, unless you live in their world, they may as well be speaking in code for all that it makes sense to their audience.  Too many people fall into the habit of using acronyms that can discriminate or turn off their prospects. 

The title of this Blog did use acronyms that are popular amongst professionals and businesses created as a universal language amongst club members of “Business Speak”.  Allow me to enlighten and explain what they mean:

1.    B2B: Business to Business: (Source: Wikipedia) Business-to-business (B2B) is commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer.   B2B branding is a term used in marketing.

2.    B2C: Business to Consumer:  Wikipedia identifies as Retail which is the sale of goods and services from individuals or businesses to the end-user aka the consumer. The consumer is the one who pays to consume the goods and services produced. As such, consumers play a vital role in the economic system of a nation. In the absence of effective consumer demand, producers would lack one of the key motivations to produce: to sell to consumers. The consumer also forms part of the chain of distribution.

3.   SMB: Small-to-Medium Business:  This is usually a key identifier on the size of a company or sales professional target of set of types of businesses they identify as customers and potential customers (aka prospects).  Each organization can vary on their own interpretation on how they identify Small to Medium Business. Often it used to disquished by the size of the company (i.e. Small – 10 to 200 employees and Medium 200-1000 employes.  They are usually owned by private owners or investors, and sometimes employee owned.

4.   Enterprise or Major Accounts are very large scale corporations that can have between 1000 to 250,000++ employees spread globally, multiple countries, lead by a CEO who reports to a Board of Directors supported by a team of executives that fall under an organization chart reporting to the CEO.  The CEO is held accountable by an elected Board of Directors who drive investments by shareholders with a strong eye on profitability.

When it comes to selling B2B, B2C, SMB or Enterprise customers – what is similar and what can be different?

Time.  Whether you are trying to engage a decision maker who is an owner of a small B2B (SMB) company or an executive for a major corporation, B2C or Enterprise - they're all limited with their time and the attention they will afford you, if at all.  Therefore, you better do your homework, craft insightful questions that are meaningful ..... don't dare to waste their time. 
The good news is that either owners or executives will pay close attention to you if you uncover a problem that they may not have identified as a need yet.  Strive to bring forward creative and innovative solutions that help them (examples of some of their problems):
  • More profitable
  • Drive revenue
  • Be more competitive
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Decrease/avoid employee frustration
  • Eliminate administrative headaches and hassles
  • Increase employee morale
  • Identify time wasters that can be eliminated or streamlined
  • Create efficiencies: Streamline how their business operates
  • Increase awareness/improve their brand
  • Handle growth
  • Manage negative growth
  • Help educate others:  employees, customers, media
  • Improve technology:  advise them on solutions that may impact intimately
  • Decrease costs
  • Educate:  inform them on trends in their industry, their location (country/city)
  • Creativity - solutions/technology/marketing/social media that helps with the   aforementioned
  • Improve appearance/quality/messages that attract new customers
  • Promote customer loyalty/referrals
  • Manage change

You will do yourself, your team, your company but mostly your CUSTOMERS a huge service when you examine your widget or service and draw out those bullets, and investigate what you have to offer that will solve any of those problems or needs shared as strong examples.

It isn’t always apparent.  Often it takes time to be talking to the right people in the organization while cross-referencing your research on them, their industry, government regulations, local political atmosphere, that may present you with what you already have in your back pocket from your own operations team, service personnel, technical resources, customer service, web feedback, etc.

No where have I said anything about price!  You can decrease the cost of doing business for a company by streamlining their processes with a solution that provides a service or technology that solves a function performed by employees who find it unpopular, makes them miserable when they have to do it, or are more valued doing something that is more directly linked to their skills and what you’re paying them.  Your solution can offset the cost of saving profit drainers.  Smart executives can grasp on to this concept.  Unfortunately, middle managers are more often gathering information, asking you more and more questions, asking for estimates upon estimates that only spells price shopping.  If you are being wise, selling smart, you have identified some of the pain areas, for example:

·        Keeping track of data

·        Keying information manually

·        Doubled up efforts

·        Difficult to operate

·        Too reliant on a third party that is unreliable

·        Susceptible to human error

All you are doing is asking relevant questions that are directly impacting their business.  You can be sincere and excited when you put in the time to do the research then ask what are their goals or what are their biggest headaches.  When you are able to go back with what looks like a “no brainer” solution, guess who becomes the “Go to Guy or Gal” … yes YOU!
"Basically you are selling a world as an actor, right?  I mean, it's like a sales person:  if you believe in your product, you know your product, you will sell it a lot better."

~Paul Walker(Fast and Furious)

I highly recommend checking out this slideshow by Harvard Business Review (HBR ... grrrrr Acronym, lol) on the "Trouble with Sales People": 

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