The most fascinating part of working in B2B sales at PaySimple is having the opportunity to speak with so many different business owners and learn about their vast array of business types. From property managers and lawyers to jewelry designers and personal trainers—the list goes on and on.  Regardless of what the business sells or what services it offers, there is an interesting characteristic that most businesses share: they rely on business to business relationships.

Whether it’s working with other businesses for raw materials, equipment, consulting, advertising, financing, or even just supplies, B2B relationships are essential to running a business.  But before the relationship begins, a purchase/partnering decision has to take place.  Here are the top questions that I’ve seen business owners and decision-makers tackle in order to systematically decide if a B2B purchase is the right move:

1. Will this save me headaches?
The search for new products or services is often driven out of frustration or dissatisfaction with something you’re currently using. If the new service or product alleviates stress and wasted time, whether through better customer service or a superior product, it could be something that frees up time for business development and selling, potentially paying for itself more quickly than expected.

2. Does this make my clients happier?
While it can be hard to calculate, the degree that the purchase aids interaction with clients is also important.  If there isn’t a direct cost savings or impact on cash flow, businesses often consider indirect effects, such as potential improvements in customer service that can drive client loyalty.

3. Will this help my bottom line?
Cost is always a factor that can stand in the way of a purchase.  However, while many businesses owners think about resource and materials costs, they often don’t take into account their own labor as part of those costs.  As a business owner, you are the lifeblood and driving force behind your business.  The less time you spend doing administrative tasks, the more time you have to spend perfecting your craft (your business) or even hanging out with your family—perhaps why you started the venture in the first place.  Along with standard considerations like cost and cash flow, think about how the product could save you time, and how that could help your bottom line.

4. Will this be good for the business in the long term?
Projecting how this service or product will impact the business after several months or even several years can be an important consideration.  Will the purchase support you now and in the future?  First, determine where you want to see the business after X amount of years, whether that’s the same scale and size as today (perhaps with higher margins) or with expansion and higher revenue, then consider whether the purchase will support you on the path toward that goal.  Sometimes, only trial can truly answer this question, but you should feel confident at least in the short term that the answer will be “yes.”

While every business is different and unique, these seem to be common questions I’ve seen for efficient and effective decisions on B2B purchases.  Of course, things like “free to try” and “satisfaction guaranteed” don’t hurt the decision-making process either!

Katie Donahue

I'm Katie and I hail from the great, cold state of Wisconsin where I studied business and design at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. When I wasn't spending my time tipping cows, I was usually playing or coaching volleyball, volunteering, or drawing. I moved here to Denver about two years ago to soak up some sun, enjoy the mountains, and join the wonderful world of payment processing. I consider myself a student of entrepreneurial business as well as architecture, and love spending time reading, competitive board game playing, and obsessing about shoes.

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