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MAY 2010
The basics of business-to-business sales success
B2B customers say they care most about price, but what they
really want is a great sales experience. For sales reps, that means gettingthe basics right.
Nate Boaz, John Murnane, and Kevin Nuffer
marketing & sales practice
When it comes to building valuable relationships with customers, sales representatives are criticalplayers on the front lines. But are they getting the basics right? Customers want to be contacted just enough, not bombarded. Sales reps should know their products or services intimately and how theiroffering compares with those of their competitors. Customers need information on exactly how a product or service will make a difference to their businesses. And while they may say price is their biggestconcern, a satisfying sales experience is ultimately more important.
These were the key findings of a survey we conducted of more than 1,200 purchasing decision makers in small, medium, and largecompanies throughout the United States and Western Europe who are responsible for buying high-tech products and services. The insights were consistent across simple to complex products and apply readilyto most business-to-business (B2B) industries, which also have complex, multi–touch point sales processes involving both end users and purchasing professionals.
We found a big difference between whatcustomers said was important and what actually drove their behavior. Customers insisted price was the dominant factor that influenced their opinion of a supplier’s performance and, as a result, theirpurchasing decisions. Yet when we examined what actually determined how customers rated a vendor’s overall performance, the most important factors were product or service features and the overallExhibit
Where sales reps
go wrong
Q3 2010B2BExhibit 1 of 1Glance: Buyers cite two practices as most damaging to the customer relationship. Exhibit title: Where sales reps go wrong% of US and...
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