B2B Sales Environment Series: Sales Effectiveness as Defined by the Customer

In today’s sophisticated business-to-business markets, customers are seeking solutions that produce results and that let them concentrate on their core business competencies. They are only interested in products and services in this context. In other words, they are only interested in what you can do for them, not in what you have for them.

Therefore, it is necessary to see the world from the customer’s perspective, what they are trying to accomplish as well as why they are looking to you for help.

Substantiated Value

Companies view success in financial terms: revenues, net income, operating expenses, and net earnings. They must be able to judge the value of the solution in those same terms. This means that generic or anecdotal proofs of value are not acceptable. They want to know what they can expect, given their specific situation.


Companies are interested in operating as efficiently as possible, in fulfilling the needs and demands of their customers, and in meeting their corporate growth and financial targets. Their desire for the solution extends only as far as it helps resolve their problems or take advantage of their opportunities.

Outsourcing Non-Core Competencies

The fact is that regardless of what you are offering, the customer could, if they had the will to do so, duplicate it in-house. They could invest in the equipment, personnel, and knowledge-base to produce exactly what your company produces. They could create a division or operating unit to manage and produce it.

However, sophisticated companies seek to outsource everything that is not core to their business, constructively and cost-effectively. In effect, your company becomes the “operating unit” that fulfills the desired function.

As modern sophisticated customers seek to outsource substantial portions of their non- core competencies, it is only natural for them to expect that the sales people involved will ensure that they receive the value they are seeing. They want to depend on the sales people in the same way that they depend on any other manager in their company.

1. Customers expect a sales person who is accountable for managing the pieces of business they are outsourcing, someone who will not give excuses or get defensive, but will take responsibility for delivering the desired results.

2. Customers expect a sales person who understands their business well enough that he or she can be trusted to provide sound advice, as well as make independent decisions that are properly aligned to their needs and goals.

3. Customers expect a sales person who knows the politics, processes, and procedures of his own company well enough to ensure that the results will materialize as promised.