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October 17, 2022
“I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.”—Michael Scott
While many quotes from The Office are silly, some do hold grains of wisdom. And for marketers who are just starting out in the B2B space, that statement can hold true. While there is a large overlap with B2C, in many ways—it’s a completely different ball game.
Particularly when it comes to sales.
For any company to be successful, a strong sales presence is crucial. However, this can be hard if you’re mostly engaging in B2B sales. Apart from the challenges of establishing trust and credibility with potential clients, it can also be daunting to navigate the complicated sales process of another company.
It takes time and effort to overcome these hurdles but with the right tools and strategies in place, you can create a winning formula for B2B sales success.
Read on to learn 5 key techniques all B2B marketers should be using in their business.
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of this topic, let’s first take a look at the definition of B2B sales. Here’s a short description given by technological research and consulting firm Gartner:
“Business to Business (B2B) sales are transactions between two businesses rather than between a business and an individual consumer for the consumer’s personal use. B2B sales are characterized by larger transaction amounts, more educated buyers, a multistakeholder approval process, and thus, a longer sales cycle.”
In short, B2B sales means selling your product or service to a business, rather than to individuals.
Many kinds of companies engage in B2B sales, including:
All these activities usually involve high price points, several touchpoints across different channels, and lengthy sales cycles. COVID-19 has exacerbated these challenges. According to Statista, 57% of vendors claim that B2B sales cycles have become longer and more complicated as a result of the pandemic.
While B2C sales are relatively straightforward, B2B is anything but and the usual B2B sales cycle consists of 7 different stages.
Here’s a brief overview of what happens at each one:
|Prospecting||Your B2B sales representative identifies potential clients and determines whether they need your product or service|
|Preparation||The B2B sales representative prepares for initial contact by doing market research and collecting all available information about your product or service|
|Approach||Your B2B sales representative makes first contact with the potential client, either through email, a phone call, or a face-to-face meeting|
|Presentation||The B2B sales representative demonstrates how your product or service works. More specifically, they show how it meets the needs of the potential client|
|Handling Objections||As its name suggests, this stage involves your B2B sales representative addressing the potential client’s objections and concerns. This process is incredibly crucial—although 80% of sales require at least five follow-ups to convert, 44% of salespeople abandon their pursuit after one rejection|
|Closing||At this stage, the client decides whether or not to move forward with what you’re offering them. To sweeten the deal, some B2B sales representatives throw in an incentive, such as a steep discount or a free month of service|
|Follow-Up||Contrary to popular belief, a B2B sales representative’s job isn’t finished once the deal has been closed. Rather, they must maintain contact with the client for potential repeat business and future referrals|
Now, not every company will follow all seven stages, so feel free to eliminate steps you feel are unnecessary to your business. Regardless of how many phases your sales cycle involves, your B2B sales strategy should always be rooted in these fundamentals:
Once you’ve found a B2B sales cycle that works for your company, document your successes and failures, so your representatives won’t waste time following practices that ultimately won’t yield any results.
As previously mentioned, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to B2B sales, which means that the sale cycle will vary from business to business. However, there are several tried-and-tested strategies proven to be effective—no matter what niche you belong to.
Here are 5 killer B2B sales techniques to help you land potential clients and close lucrative deals.
B2B sales tend to affect the entire organization, so your potential client will undoubtedly feel anxious about getting it wrong. This is one of the main reasons why a large gap exists between stage one, prospecting, and when you receive a final answer.
Your sales representatives may be trained to understand the potential customer’s pain points; however, they must avoid being too pushy or aggressive when trying to close the deal. According to research from Salesforce, 78% of business buyers seek trusted advisors, not just salespeople, that add value to their organization.
Chances are, potential clients won’t schedule appointments with your sales representatives right away. They’ll likely take a few days to mull over what you’re offering before taking the plunge and committing to a product or service demonstration.
Make it easy for them to set up meetings with you by investing in an appointment scheduling solution that allows them to book consultations at their convenience. Even better, include a link to this in your email signature so they’ll have it right at their fingertips.
This tip might seem like a given, but you’d be surprised at the number of companies who overlook or outright ignore it! Before beginning the B2B sales process, first, conduct high-level market research to better understand the demand for your product or service.
Apart from determining your target audience’s pain points, familiarize yourself with who your competitors are and what strategies they use. Doing so will help you understand what differentiates your product or service from theirs. Your representatives can then use this knowledge to change or optimize their sales techniques.
Most people nowadays prefer to communicate via emails, phone calls, and quick texts. However, this might be detrimental to your business since the B2B sales cycle is inherently high-stakes and involves a lot of careful deliberation on the client’s part.
As much as possible, hold meetings face-to-face, whether it be in person or via video conferencing tools, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Doing so will enable you to build mutual trust, which can’t be established over the phone or through email.
High-performing B2B sales teams always find ways to improve their techniques, which is why they constantly measure the results of their performances. Some of the metrics that you should be keeping an eye on include:
Tracking results and implementing changes based on the collected data will help your B2B sales team close more deals. Ultimately, this will play a crucial role in your company’s success.
Closing a deal is never easy, especially if you’re targeting other businesses, rather than individual consumers. It takes hard work, perseverance, and sometimes a bit of luck. But if you employ the techniques we’ve shared in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to finding success in B2B sales.
Are there other techniques that have worked well for you? Let us know in the comments below!
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