You were lied to. The 7Ps of marketing, for which product and price are a part of, aren’t.
They are also the 7Ps of finance, of administration of human resources, of ICT, of operations, and even, of sales. They are the 7Ps of business. As a reminder they are product, price, place (distribution), promotion (marketing), physical evidence, process (how the business operates) and people (staff). Physical evidence is the brochure at the bank or your staff ID card. They are, respectively, proof that the bank does indeed have that savings account it claims to, and that you are a bona fide staff member of the company you work for. Looking at the seven Ps solely through the marketing lens is limiting.
7Ps and the B2B seller
This should be exciting news, particularly for the business to business seller. When appreciating his offering, it opens up a stimulating opportunity to go beyond the limited scope of product and price. What do I mean? The average seller tends to centre his entire sale on only product and price. And this is because they are objective, visible, ‘hard’; they are also immediate and buyer facing. In fact, many times, it’s usually on one-price. Product is usually a given which is taken as sacred. In essence therefore, this seller limits himself to using only the butt of the gun when he has access to the formidable power of a machine gun.
Consider interviewing the buyer as a step in the sales process. The progressive seller cleverly plays on all the Ps to fully appreciate the buyer’s pain. He focuses his questions on the buyer’s product, pricing, place, promotion, people, physical evidence and process. Consequently, he comprehensively understands the buyer’s business and sees specifically how his (buyer’s) pain moves at a tangent to it. In effect, he accelerates the sale to a close because the buyer feels understood.
Negotiations. Product and price are not your only gambits
Consider negotiations. The very mention of the word elicits thoughts of discount, price cut. And, dwells there; many times ending in a win-lose or lose-lose situation. A price war (small or large) can tend to do that. Yet, it shouldn’t; in fact, the product/ service can be adapted to match the buyer’s budget. This is not news to most sales people. What may be is that, it’s only two out of a possible five other options. A business that offers coaching, training and consultancy services or a football club, will most likely see people immediately than product; meaning they may bargain on a less experienced consultant (or footballer) to meet the buyer’s budget. Most likely, the consultancy may not think of ‘soft’ issues like process. For instance, “instead of sending hard copy reports, we shall email them to you”; or, “we shall be using PowerPoint slides instead of course books to meet your budget.”
The seven Ps of business are an indispensable tool for the progressive business to business seller. They tremendously increase his opportunities to comprehensively understand his own offering, the buyer’s pain, and therefore more likely close the sale.
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