Before You Can Lead, You Must Be Able to Follow- 3 People to Follow in the B2B Market

Before You May Lead, You must Be Able to (1)

Have you ever felt unsure as to who can provide you with influential advice in the B2B market? If you’re like me, just starting out in the market, it can be overwhelming as to who can help lead you down a road towards to success outside your immediate network.

Luckily there is the presence of countless individuals on Social Media and the Web who are always providing inspirational, yet factual, information to those in need.

In this blog post I will present my top 3 B2B influences and an example of the information they provide that has helped re-affirm my interest in the B2B market or provided me inspiration in the marketing and sales aspect involved with it.

Andy Sernovitz- @sernovitz

A few months ago, I received a book from the Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado titled, Word of Mouth Marketing by an author named Andy Sernovitz. As the book kept sitting on my nightstand I mulled over the thought if I should read it or not and, thankfully, I decided to give it a try.

Throughout the book Andy details ways in which the reader can successfully build value into their company, whether small or large, and get people talking about the business both in a positive light and with little cost. I recommend this book to any individual who wants insights as to how to positively grow their business or ways to get people “talking.” As the opening lines of the book reads,

“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Christine Crandell- @ChrisCrandell

With regular blog posts on Forbes and her own personal website Christine Crandell has become a large influence in my desire to be a part of the B2B market. In my last post “B2B or B2C” I shared with my readers that I did not want to fall into the sales person stigma often associated with the B2C salesperson; but rather, build a rapport with a company and assure them of the true value in products/services I provide.

Christine seems to say it perfectly in her blog post, “Outside- In Customer Experience Is The Best Offensive Strategy” where her opening paragraph contains,

“B2B companies are realizing that the real rockbed of building enduring relationships lies in the perception customers hold of value. Value is increasingly not in the products but the services that sellers provide.”

Mark Hunter- @TheSalesHunter 

With the constant hustle and bustle of life, work, school, etc. always keeping us busy it can be hard to stay motivated. If you’re like me it sometimes coffee just won’t cut it. When I’m running low on fumes I like to turn to quotes for inspiration. Recently, via Twitter, I came across Mark Hunter.

Not only does Mark give great sales and business advice but he also gives excellent inspirational quotes. I recommend following his Twitter or reading one of his many blogs here so you can improve your business strategies or just receive some inspiration. I especially like his April 3rd Twitter post in which he says,

“ Success is not constant. You have to earn it each and every day.”

Final Thoughts

While thinking about how to put all my ideas into this post I was having a hard time narrowing my influences down to just 3. I remember just a few weeks ago not knowing anyone who could give me reliable advice and information about the B2B market and inspirational strategies for growth; I felt lost.

I appreciate the fact that I have been opened to many different viewpoints, influences, strategies, and inspirational people via Social Media and the Web. If you are feeling lost I invite you to follow these Influencers as well as any that you may find on my Twitter Lists. I also invite you to leave a comment below as to who your own B2B influencers are so myself, and others, can learn as well. Thanks for reading!

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B2B or B2C? How I chose my Path

In my first blog post I present 3 reasons as to how I chose to pursue a career in the B2B Sales market as opposed to the B2C Sales market. This piece is not to bash the B2C market or the professionals that occupy that niche, but rather, to present a personal opinion of how I made a decision between the two. I am always open to hear replies/comments from fellow business professionals. Enjoy!

“What am I going to do after graduation?” Over and over I asked myself that very question only to become frustrated because the answer won’t appear as a lightbulb in my head as I thought. Over the years money had been my motivation, and the sole motivation at that.

As more and more time passed I decided to not chase the money but chase what I am good at, in hopes that it will lead to great monetary rewards in the future. I am a people person; put me in a room with any person in the world and I would be able to communicate with them, somehow-someway.

I heard a statistic somewhere along the line that 80% of marketing students begin their careers in sales. I thought, “I’m a marketing student, I like money, I like people. I like sales” Boom! Lightbulb, “I’m going to be a salesman. It will allow me to make lots of money, talk to lots of people, and give me a challenge every day.”

My next step was to figure out what to sell, to whom, and for whom. This led me to two different paths; become a salesman in the B2B market (from a business to another business) or B2C market (from a business to a consumer).

I had to do a bit of researching as well as digging into my own memory archives and see what I have done in the past and if I liked it. Ultimately, I settled on becoming a salesman in the B2B market. Below are the 3 reasons on which I eventually made my decision off of.

  • Rapport Building

I like building a rapport with people; I feel far more comfortable getting to know a person or group before I expect something from them.  When it came down to getting to know my client I felt as though I would be building a longer lasting, more meaningful relationship with a business as my buyer rather than a household or consumer.

  • Expansion of Knowledge Bank

When I worked as an intern at an insurance company I learned so much from our business clients every day that I could never expect a short term sales customer to be able to match; without me losing money. For example, what our clients did for business, what they provide to customers, problems they have faced and ways they solved them. I feel that just talking to other business entities taught me so much about myself and Ideas for my own professional growth that I couldn’t expect a short term customer/consumer to share with me.

  • Overcoming the “Salesperson” Stigma

We’ve all heard the assumptions about salesperson’s character. They are all out to         make money off of you, without a care in the world about your feelings. That was something I have had a problem with-aligning my own beliefs and images of myself with that of a successful salesperson. I have worked very hard throughout my collegiate career to establish an image of a trustworthy, kind, and respectable young man and was not prepared to have that image be torn down just by my job summary.

I decided to pursue a B2B sales because I like the idea of providing my clients something that they need in order to properly service their own customers effectively. I look at it as more of a mutual benefit for both parties with me as the seller and various business entities as the customer. I also feel like a business as a buyer would be more receptacle to my presence than a household or single consumer. 

Final thoughts

Although you may challenge my viewpoints on the B2B market compared to the B2C market I am sure that the reasoning behind it is personal preference. I think that everybody has a niche and a role, mine happens to be in the B2B market. 

 Anytime you are unsure about what to do next, where to go next, ways to grow, ways to change, I recommend you take time to sit back and think about YOURSELF and what’s best. I find that getting away from others and taking my own happiness in life into account helps me find ways to grow or change things in my life I am not satisfied with. 

As far as which you should choose, B2B or B2C, I recommend you go online and contact individuals who are in each sector. You may be surprised about the things you discover. Good Luck and if you have any thoughts or questions regarding this blog post feel free to leave a comment or question below!