Today’s post is by Holly Buchanan, author of The Soccer Mom Myth. Thanks for contributing Holly!
When you think of a B2B superhero, do you think of Superman closing big deals and leaping over competitors with a single bound? If you’re a smaller company, Underdog might be your hero, as you battle and win against larger better known companies.
But how about Wonder Woman?
From The Whale Hunters, we know it takes a strong team with a variety of skills to land a whale. You want women on your team. There are natural advantages Wonder Woman brings to the table that Superman and Underdog don’t have. And I’m not just talking about her magic Lasso of Truth.
There are two key reasons why women excel in B2B sales:
One – The B2B buying process is very similar to a woman’s buying process.
Two – Women bring natural advantages to the B2B sales process
Women and the B2B Buying Process
When you think of the B2B buying process, you think of a logical, linear, factual buying process. In a nutshell, what many people think is a more typical male buying process.
But there are actually more similarities between the B2B buying process and a typical woman’s buying process.
Don’t take my word for it. Take it from the experts at Enquiro. They conducted an in-depth B2B buying process study, The BuyerSphere Project. Here are two examples of the B2B decision factors identified in the study.
1 – B2B buyers are more risk averse
- The BuyerSphere Project states – “B2B buying decisions are usually driven by one emotion – fear. 99% of B2B buying is about covering your butt”
- Women’s buying process – Women are hard-wired to be more risk-aware than men. In a recent study brain activity was measured in men and women as they made investment decisions. In men, the reward center of the brain lit up. In women, the reward center lit up, but so did the consequence center. Women focus on preventing bad outcomes. They can be much more risk-aware then men.
- Women’s advantage – Women are experts at reading a room. Research has shown that women are better at reading facial expressions and emotion, and at reading body language.
- When you’re presenting to a team, women can pick up clues as to who is with you and who isn’t.
- Have you ever walked out of a meeting thinking, “We’re totally going to get this contract,” only to find out later you’re out of the running? If someone on the buyer’s side has concerns, women are really good at picking up on that concern, thus giving you a chance to address any misgiving the buyer may have.
- Take-Away – Use women on your sales team to help identify what your buyers’ professional and personal fears are. Ask women what they picked up on in the meeting. Find ways to reduce risk for everyone involved in the decision.
2 – Multiple influencers, more complex process, longer sales cycle
- The BuyerSphere Project states – “With each additional person (in the decision process) the complexity has the potential to rise exponentially, because each person has his or her own personal risks that will factor into the final decision. This leads to a greater need for information, with different information required for different people. It leads to longer sales cycles.”
- Women’s buying process – Women have a deliberate decision making process. Women often have to take several people’s opinions into account when making a buying decision. They focus on finding ways to try to satisfy everyone. Women also ask more questions and want more information when making a purchase. Their more deliberate decision making style often leads to a longer sales cycle.
- Women’s advantage – Women are natural relationship builders. The first step to building trust is building relationships, listening to clients, and empathizing with them. Women excel at all three of these skills. Constant communication and follow up are also key to successful engagements. No surprise that women excel at communication and follow up. Women can sometimes over-prepare for meetings, bringing lots of information and materials. But that can be an advantage in a B2B situation, since it’s better to show up with too much information rather than not enough information.
- Take Away: Include women and their listening and empathy skills to better understand all the key players and what each player wants. Use women’s relationship building skills to strengthen your relationship with your client. When she shows up with two bags full of materials, instead of thinking, “We’ll never need all that,” thank her for her preparation.
Your B2B clients may have more of a female buying process and decision making style (whether they’re men or women). Include women on your B2B sales teams and tap into their natural advantages. You never know when Wonder Woman might save the day.
Holly Buchanan is the co-author of The Soccer Mom Myth – Today’s Female Consumer, Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys. Holly’s specialty is marketing to women online. You can reach Holly at holly (at) thesoccermommyth.com