The B2B Puzzle



Marketing, Selling & Brand Building;
The B2B Puzzle
(an article by Goldy Nagdev)
Marketing and Brand Building are important aspects of any
Business. Survival and Success of business, both depend on how
well managements commit to, conduct and invest resources into
these functions.
However, interestingly both brand building and marketing are more
associated with consumer products and services, a B2C concept.
As someone involved with consumer products and brand or as we
can say B2C, I come across a lot of companies and professionals in
B2B space, printers, raw material suppliers, ingredients suppliers
perfumers, transporters, etc.
B2B aspect of business really interests me and excites me. In B2C
the biggest challenge is to read the consumer behavior with
accuracy where as in B2B you very well understand your customer
because that’s also a business with more or less same objective as
yours.
Having said that it is important to see the flip side also. It is sad to
see how most B2B businesses ignore marketing and brand building
efforts.
Making a cold call, getting a database and seeking appointments, or
asking your customers for “any requirements Sir”; In a lot of B2B
businesses that I observed around our industry the above summed
up the marketing and brand building efforts.

From my experience of working with local & global B2B companies
& being a “prospective customer”, I reckon following very basic
points and practical approach to strengthen your selling &
marketing efforts
If you are in B2B Business, it is essential for you to
understand the two basic premises;
1. Branding: It is what makes your business unique and
different from others. Branding is about how you want your
customers and potential customers to see you and relate to
you.
2. Marketing & Selling is your constant-connect with your
customers. It is about understanding who your customers are,

what they want, how to communicate with them, serve them
and repeat.

Let’s look at how the above can be practically implemented in your
business.

B2B Branding or Crafting of an Image
I believe that every business in B2B space is different but not every
knows what makes it unique. At the core of every marketing &
branding strategy is Self Analysis.
You could be a 100 year old firm or a start-up, you still need to ask
yourself the following question;
1. Who are you & what you do
2. How are you relevant to your current & potential customers
3. How do you see your products and how would you want your
customers to see it.
The answers to the above will create an image and an identity. This
analysis needs to be simple but authentic. Be true to yourself and
you’d be true to your customers. Touch upon the basic aspects of
business.
Following could be the examples of the self-analysis;
 Oldest Manufacturer
 Largest Printers
 Latest Machinery
 Most Innovative Products
 Best Pricing
 Prompt Service
 24*7 Support
 Technical Expertise
 Skills of Management
 National or Global Presence
 Quality Awards or Recognition
 Sharp Start-up
 Manufacturing Capacity
Following examples could be the results of Self-Analysis;
Prime Printers: Our latest machines, decades of experience, in-
house designing and conveniently located units give you latest &
attractive packaging for your products with best pricing and prompt
service.

Pure Fragrances, the people behind the fragrances some of the
most popular soaps and cosmetics offer you the widest range of
fragrances and custom fragrances. With Experienced Tech Staff &
Certified Manufacturing Units, we are geared to make your products
smell better.
Make no mistakes, the above are not self praises or boasts, these
are going to be a reflection of who you are, the core of your
company and how the customers will see you. At the cost of
repeating, I would still say, be true and honest while drafting this.

Selling & Marketing in B2B Space
Now that you have defined the aspects that make your business
unique it is important that the customers should know these.
Your brand identity needs to be communicated with both new and
old customers. This is where the Marketing process starts.
Let us see various stages in the selling process;
Be Aware
At the base of every strategy is Awareness, as a business you must
at all times be aware of the following

A]. Know your potential Customers:
1. What is there final product,
2. Do you have a product that they can use
3. Who is their current source
4. How does your product or service match up with what your
potential customers are using currently.
B]. Know Your Competitors
1. It really is important to know who are competing with
2. What are the key aspects of their products
3. Why are they preferred
4. How do they pitch to the customers
C]. Know the regulations around your business

Pitching to a Customer
This is where I have seen most B2B businesses and sellers go
wrong. Unlike a B2C business, selling in B2B is not about

consumption but about co creating a final product for the end
consumer.
1. Do your homework right. You must always have a list of
potential customers that you plan to connect. Set this list in
terms of priority and importance.
2. Make sure you know the right contacts. I have seen people
waste weeks and months because they were communicating
to someone who was not a decision maker. Do ensure that
the person who you communicate with has a role in the
purchase decision.
3. Before you pick up the phone and call that number or send
that email, remember First Impression is Last Impression. It’s
a competitive world and there are not many chances.
4. As a buyer, I find it irritating when someone sends me a
WhatsApp message like, “ Sir, do you have requirement of
______”.

The Communication Process:
1. The first step should be sending your profile. This profile
should be brief and crisp. As a buyer what I want to know is,
a. Who you are
b. What you do
c. What makes you different
d. A Client list (if needed or impressive)
2. If for some reason you cannot send the profile, do call but
know;
a. Check if it the right time to speak
b. Introduce yourself as in point 1 above
c. State that you can offer interesting solutions and seek
an appointment.
d. If the person is busy or not available, don’t pressurize
but say that you would call again and seek a convenient
time.

If done correctly even if you do not get a meeting with the
prospect, the above will register your company’s name and what
you do in his or her mind. In our consumer industry it is like having
a hoarding. The above needs to be done in subtle way till you get a
meeting or an opportunity to present your products
The First Meeting or Presentation
I have observed that during the first meeting or presentation, sales
people often make the mistake of criticizing or down playing the

product or service the potential customer is using. This is probably
the biggest mistake on could make.
You have to focus on the following;
1. Explain your product or service in clear and crisp term,
highlighting the key USP
2. You have to present your product as a solution for your
customer.
3. Always talk about the benefits your product will bring and not
about the negatives of the competitor’s product.
4. Do not let be a single sided communication. Encourage your
prospective customer to ask you questions and being involved
in the process. This will help maintain his interest.
5. If you are not sure of his or her queries, request some time to
get back but never ever give a vague answer.
6. Do not expect a decision in first meeting. Make your
prospective customer comfortable and confident. Do not rush
him into a decision. Let process roll at speed they are
comfortable with.
Follow Up
After your first meeting or even first few meetings you will have to
follow up with the client over phone or emails till the time a decision
is made. Please do remember;
1. Do not harass the potential customer with repeated and
untimely calls or an email blast. The follow up has to be
gentle.
2. A customer has a right to take whatever time he or she wants
to get back to you or decide.
3. They may or may not need you product but you surely need
their business.
4. Do not intrude their privacy.
5. I believe in messaging people first to know if and when it is
convenient to speak to them rather than picking up the phone
and calling straight.
6. Do maintain a log and record of your follow ups.

Sealing the Deal
This is the reward. Closure of a deal is the target but not the end.
When you do get the order, please ensure the following;
1. Recheck all aspects of the product. What you are offering and
what the customer expects must be same.

2. Recheck the commercials including the pricing and payment
terms.
3. Recheck the delivery terms and location.
4. I appreciate sales people who are involved till the time order
is delivered and keep the customer informed about the
progress.

Follow Up for Repeat Business & Customer Care
I have always said that business growth and profitability in B2B
business is based on repeats and long term association. It
important and crucial to maintain and stay in contact with your
customers, not just for future orders but
 to ensure they are satisfied with your products,
 to understand their consumption pattern
 to understand their industry and get more prospective clients
 to be always on their top recall for future needs.

Quality & Ethics
It is crucial to understand that in the hands of the end consumer
your product or service will not be or cannot be seen independently,
it will merge with the final product. The functionality of the final
product of your customer will in certain degree depend on the
quality of your product or service. Your customers cannot deliver
the desired products to their customers if your product or service
fails. I know it is little confusing, but please read it again.
As a B2B product or service seller, you should feel the responsibility
for the quality of the final product of your customer to a certain
extent.

Conclusion
Like I said earlier, B2B selling is not really selling, it is
anpartnership. To be a good seller, you have got to be a good
partner. We all know that the pillars of a good partnership are;
understanding, dependability, reliability, ethics, sense of
responsibility & last but not least, trust.
The above points are no rocket science; they basic but effective and
time tested. More than knowing these it is important to put them in
practice.
Cheers & Happy Selling

About the Author
In his own words Mr. Goldy Nagdev is an entrepreneur, observer,
thinker, learner, traveller and motorsports fanatic.

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