Four steps to a B2B sale

An avatar of the author

Doug Kessler

29. 11. 2007 | 2 min read

Four steps to a B2B sale

2 mins left

Get the newsletter

Raw, unfiltered, too-hot-for-Wordpress B2B marketing insights, straight to your inbox, every month.

B2B sales happen in four broad steps. Interestingly, only two of them are driven by rational decision-making. The other two are largely influenced by the buyer’s irrational side — and marketing plays an especially important role here…

Step 1 Identify the need
Decide that the business needs a product or service – pretty much a rational decision.

Step 2 Draw up a shortlist
Gather together vendors to investigate and ask to quote – remarkably irrational (“My cousin worked with these guys.”).

Step 3 Evaluate the proposals
Compare offers, pricing, terms, delivery times… – mainly rational.

Step 4 Make the purchase decision
Award the contract – again, surprisingly irrational; people buy from people they feel good about

Marketing may have an important role to play in Step 1 — stimulating demand or educating the market about a problem they may not understand clearly.

It definitely has a role to play in Step 2 — by raising awareness, positioning your company as an expert and getting you discovered through web search.

Step 3 is largely down to the sales team and the offer itself (although Velocity has ‘sexed up’ some sales proposals that have won significant new contracts).

Finally, marketing can play a big role in Step 4. When one or two proposals are more or less the same, the gut feel about a company often tips the scales. The salesperson is the most important influencer here, but marketing can help support the salesperson with messages & materials that communicate expertise, commitment, experience, passion, openness and integrity.

B2B may involve more rationality than many consumer markets, but we’re dealing with human beings here. The irrational, emotional side is critically important, too.

Published in:

  • our-blog

Enjoyed this article?
Take part in the discussion

Opt into our crap

We will send the latest stuff written just for B2B content marketers exactly like you. Sound good?

illustration of a an envolope

Related blog/content

How to break free from the benchmark trap

If you’re turning to industry benchmarks to set your performance goals – make sure you’re asking these two questions.

Agustin Rejon | 06. 09. 2023


There are no comments yet for this post. Why not be the first?

Leave a comment/reply

Hey look: a teeny-tiny cookie request. Would you mind? It’d help us out. Click here to read our privacy policy to see why. Or hit “customize” if you’re fancy like that.