• July 18, 2014
  • Mark LaCour
  • 4

Top 7 things you need to know about the oil and gas industry if you want to sell into it.

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7 Things You Need to Know to Sell into Oil & Gas

Hey, folks. Let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.


All right. Today, we’re going to talk about the seven things you need to know to sell in oil and gas. Number one, the industry is profitable, which means that cost savings isn’t always a business driver. Number two, it’s old-fashioned. For Lord’s sake, nobody has a Facebook or Twitter, everything is still done on paper, right? There are still magazines and catalogs. So it sounds a little strange, but that’s how the industry is and you got to get used to it if you’re going to sell to it.

Number three, they’re risk biased. And what do I mean by that? If you’re bringing something new to the industry, instead of thinking what is the benefit of what you’re bringing, the first thing to think of is what is the risk of me changing from what I’m using now. Even if what they’re doing now is nothing, they’re still going to think about the risk first.

Number four, the industry is global, right? So, if you’re looking at Chevron upstream and you’re talking to that decision making team, two or three of those guys will be in California, couple will be here in Houston, two or three will be in Rio, and one will be in London, and one will be in Norway.

Well, the guys in Rio are Brazilian, they’re not Americans, the guys in Norway are Norwegian, the guys in London are from the UK and you have to understand that. Those different culture elements fit into this industry and help – you have to understand, it actually help the sales process, right? So, if you’re talking to a Chevron Norwegian guy, if you’re a minute late, he’s going to take that as an insult, whereas the Brazilian Chevron guys will probably be an hour late for their own meetings.

This industry is complex because it’s so profitable and because there are so many different things the industry does the organization structure is huge in this industry which makes it really complex for people outside this industry to try to navigate through.

Number six, it’s relationship based. This industry is still people doing business with people. And you have to understand how to do that if you want to be prosperous in here. And then finally, and probably the biggest one. Only the business has money, right? So, IT, HR, Legal, all of them use a charge back model. None of them have a budget. So, if they need to buy something, they have to go the business and ask for the money and unfortunately, they are horrible at explaining what the benefit is of the business spending the money.

So, if you were selling some IT solution, you would not want to go talk to IT at Exxon. What you want to do is figure out what business problem it fixes, right? Go talk to the person at Exxon with the business that has that problem, get his buy in and you’re done. At that point, IT is just an afterthought.

So, hopefully this helps. We will see you next time.