B2B Sales and Being a Sense Maker

In this article I’ll explore how complex business to business sales can get and how sales professionals can best support prospecting clients during their buyer journey.

B2B Sales Complexity 

Before driving into the complexity of B2B sales, let’s get back to basics.

B2B is short for business to business. It refers to companies — or salespeople — who sell products primarily to other businesses, rather than selling them to consumers. B2B sales are often more complex than B2C (business to consumer) sales.

This is because not only are B2B sales teams frequently selling to professional buyers who are trained and (in many circumstances) commissioned to get the best possible deal – but those buyers also must sell to teams of decision makers, all of whom must be convinced that this product is the best option.

According to Wikipedia ‘..Complex sales involve long sales cycles with multiple decision makers. Multiple stakeholders and stakeholder groups contribute to every complex sale’.

CEB (now part of Gartner) states that the average B2B buying group involves six to 10 decision makers.

Considering this information, there is no doubt that selling products to other businesses is complex. But, again, how complex can it get?

Just by looking at Gartner’s (2018) typical B2B Buying Journey diagram below, my answer is ‘very complex’. If you add local resellers and cultural differences to this ‘web’ business to business sales becomes extremely complex.

B2B Buying Journey

*Source: Win More B2B Sales Deals: Gartner 2018


The diagram demonstrates that buyers go through all the basic buying process stages of identifying the problem, exploring solutions, analysing requirements, and selecting suppliers. Surrounding the basic stages are a web of activities related to validating the new information collected and getting all the involved stakeholders on board.

Frequently this web is built silently, away from sales teams’ view. Gartner’s 2018 research shows that B2B buyers spend roughly 83% of any B2B buying journey learning from whatever information they can find.

How can Enterprise Sales professionals support buyers through this web journey during a mere interaction of 17%?

According to Conn Stamford (Gartner 2019 ‘The sense making seller’), sales professionals must assist companies in understanding all the information they come across as part of a purchase. And proactively guide them through their own buying and learning journey. 

Sales professionals differentiate themselves by helping buyers make sense of all the information they encounter to make a large purchase with little regret.

And this approach generates results as per graph below:

Sense Makers Close More Deals

Swiftly responding to customer requests for information and sharing your own perspective with buyers are both considered good selling practices. But sense making seems to generate more solid results.

Are Payara Enterprise Sales Managers Sense Makers?

Payara’s team members work cohesively and collaboratively. This is also applicable on the sales side. The sales team works closely with the Payara’s engineering squad. This means we are in a good position to connect prospective customers to information they are unlikely to encounter on their own.

The Payara’s engineering team are also Solutions Members of the Eclipse Foundation, and Strategic Members of the Jakarta EE and Eclipse MicroProfile working groups. This means they are not only Payara Platform experts; they are industry experts helping to shape the future of the industry. This means Payara engineering and sales are in the best possible position to connect the industry’s information dots.

In addition to all that we have experience in dealing with a wide range of businesses- from large organisations like BMW Group and Rakuten card to SMEs, we understand the need to support companies during the buying process with the main goal is to help those companies to succeed.

Lastly but not least, our sales approach is based on seeking to understand and then be understood. We spend time with companies trying to understand their environment, requirements, and issues. This approach helps us to have a 360-degree view of why and how decisions are being made. And often we can identify questions those businesses did not think to ask.

This collaborative approach helps customers (and prospecting ones) to arrive at their own understanding.

So, based on this information I would say, yes, we are sense makers here at Payara Sales. And looking at Payara’s Annual Worldwide Enterprise Customer Growth of 275% there is no doubt that being a sense makers or dot connectors is certainly generating results!

Topics: Fish Food

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