Selling to Other Businesses: 5 Sales Promotion Methods for a B2B Market

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: September 25, 2017
Photo credit: vetkit/Shutterstock

You can't sell to businesses the same way you would to individual consumers. Here are some promotional tactics companies can use for B2B products.

Sales promotion in consumer markets is fairly simple. Customers often look for one of two benefits – reduced prices or greater quantity. However, purchase decisions are significantly different in B2B markets. While price and quantity are major considerations, they aren't the only ones. Technical specifications, partnership agreements, strategic procurement plans and processes used play a vital role.

Suffice it to say that sales promotion tools and techniques in the B2B market are different and cater to the unique needs of organizations.

A different strategy

B2B sales promotions are not as extensive as consumer sales promotions. For example, coupons and codes are not used in the B2B market. There are no BOGO campaigns either. Unless the company also sells its products to the consumer market, you wouldn't see many of the traditional sales promotion techniques.

Instead, B2B sales promotion includes the following.

1. Trade shows and exhibitions

Trade shows, also known as trade fairs or business expos, are events collectively organized by multiple companies or industrial associations. Companies from a particular industry come together to display the services and products they offer.

Trade shows and exhibitions are the best places for companies to get business, sow the seeds of partnerships and advertise their technical know-how. Companies can gauge competitor performance, and investors can look for businesses to invest in.

2. Sample products

Sometimes, if the product a company launches is new to the market, manufacturers choose to send free samples to their prospective customers. The objective is to allow the customer to use the product and make a purchase decision. The salesperson visits the client with a sample unit of the new product. If given the green light, they help their prospect install and use the product.

Samples are of great importance in B2B markets. B2B products are highly money-intensive. The sample that the customer gets could make or break the deal, and the results will have long-term implications.

3. Trade-ins

This is similar to the trade-ins in consumer markets. Customers are offered a discount on the price of a new model of the product in exchange for the older version. This is highly effective in B2B markets, as companies can make significant savings offloading old or damaged parts in exchange for new and state-of-the-art products.

4. Price reductions

This technique is used during reverse auctions, where suppliers bid for buyers. Here, the price of the product is reduced to compete with the price reductions offered by other suppliers. The lowest bidder wins the auction.

5. Promotional products

Keychains with the company logo, T-shirts with the product name and pens with the image of the brand's mascot are some examples of promotional products. If a company purchases from a supplier, the seller may give gifts in the form of stationery, clothing, water bottles and so on to the customer. The products will usually have a symbol associated with the company or the brand, and they serve to reinforce and remind the purchaser of the supplier. This is a favored technique in B2B sales.

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