Why do energy solution providers need to reach multiple contacts in end-user businesses?
The B2B sales and marketing process is more complicated than B2C due to the fact businesses tend to have more complex decision-making processes. It is generally accepted that there are three main types of business decision-making. Let’s look at these three broad categories.
Decision-making in business.
To get a deal closed, you need to understand decision-making otherwise your sale will either be delayed or fail.
- Autocrat. A single decision-maker. This contact both reviews and makes the decision. Usually the managing director and/or owner, but they may be a powerful department head and or director depending on the business’s size and the organisational structure.
- Alpha. A decision-maker who requires top-tier approval. Even if you get a verbal commitment from the decision-maker you will have to wait for final approval, if this is at board level the decision may take some time, depending on the next appropriate board meeting.
- Team. You may have one main contact, but this person relies heavily on a group consensus such as a project team or a departmental viewpoint. In addition, the group may still need approval from a more senior colleague who could be department head or the managing director.
How does this specifically relate to the energy market?
Put simply. Technology integration allows businesses to better monitor, reduce, manage and control energy assets and the energy profile of the business. This integration enables a more holistic approach to energy and done well can lead to best in sector results for active energy users.
Also, more and more energy investment decisions are being made by teams. This is the other aspect of energy convergence is the human angle.
Let’s look at one example to explain energy convergence.
Behind-the-meter energy storage. Batteries are in their infancy. However, they are seen by many as a game changer. Why? They can protect operations from unexpected power cuts (backup power) but also significantly reduce electricity bills by reducing demand from the grid during Triads (charge avoidance). Software that manages batteries can optimise their value by supplying the grid with power during occasions when the grid is under stress (Frequency Response) in peak power periods, therefore generating revenue from grid services. Onsite power generation can be optimised too. Charging the battery at night via a wind turbine, the stored power can then be discharged during the day when the power is more useful (optimising renewables). This makes a lot of sense when building a business case to invest in energy storage.
So, batteries are offering several valuable services to businesses and when optimised to get the most value they affect energy buyers (charge avoidance & peak shaving), help energy managers (backup power), and sustainability officers (optimising renewables). This is one simple example of energy convergence.
Energy firms such as E.ON are seeing the market heading towards greater integration. Annalisa Bell of E.ON said: “I’d say it is probably moving in a direction where procurement, management and flexibility are starting to converge. I wouldn’t say it has necessarily converged completely but it seems like a natural direction to head in; there are synergies.”
Back to the original point – Why do energy solution providers need to reach multiple contacts in end-user businesses?
It’s not always about reaching the managing director or the energy manager. It is likely that there are several key stakeholders who are involved in a team decision to invest in new services or new equipment. What you need is a marketing strategy that reaches the varied stakeholders and to provide your sales team with the opportunities to meet and talk to these too.
Final thought – Relationships are vital to success.
Your sales team don’t sell to businesses. They sell to people. The relationships you build can tip the scale from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘yes’. Assuming you offer a good product that holds value your customers would like, the key decision to use you rather than a competitor can come down to the trust and faith they have for their account manager.
The Energyst Event ‘Where energy convergence meets’ has been specifically organised to attract end-users from varied disciplines that are now and will continue to head in a converged manner to achieve best in sector results. Contact us today to explore how we can help you make the right connections.
NB – You may also find our blog ‘Why there is no I in team or energy’ of interest too.